Batman Beyond Universe is en fuego. It’s a series on the rise and I hope it starts getting more attention because the new creative teams that took over for Batman Beyond Unlimited are elevating these properties to new heights. This issue in particular delivers a ton of action and even gives its supporting characters plenty to do so it’s not just the Batman and Superman show.

Batman Beyond 2.0: Rewired – Family Values

Last month’s issue ended in one of the best cliffhangers I’ve seen this year. In those final pages, Terry was confronted by the entire Bat family who appeared to be in their prime and ready to beat the hell out of the Batman of the future. How was this possible? Well, the answer we get in the opening of issue #3 is rather predictable and underwhelming, but thankfully it leads into some of the best action scenes and Terry moments we’ve seen out of any Batman Beyond book in the past few years. And the action never really stops for Terry. In fact, the only breather we get is an occasional cut-away to Barbara Gordon, who is being put to terrific use in this series. While Terry is performing stealth-takedowns and explosive acts of super-heroics, Barbara is hard on the case of the death of the mayor and the rise of Rewire, she’s doing all of the detective work and moving the plot along. It’s a great narrative structure made all the more exciting by Dick Grayson’s race to help Terry, who is totally outnumbered.

Just as in the previous two issues, artist Thony Silas and colorist Andrew Elder are killing it. The comic is the spitting image of the animated series and the design of the new villain, who you can see on the cover, fits the style of this unique world perfectly.

Spoiler
However, I do wish that Rewire looked different with his mask off. I found the reveal of yet another attractive, blue-eyed, white guy with black hair to be underwhelming since that’s a model we’ve seen time and time again in every comic. In fact, he could be easily mistaken for Terry himself or Willie Watt.
Silas keeps an incredibly fast pace, but the panel layouts could be better as some pages do become a bit crowded with so much happening all at once. Still, even with those critiques I find Silas to be a remarkable choice for this series and hope he and Higgins continue to collaborate for a long time to come.

“Rewired: Family Values” is a fast-paced episode with some terrific action that maintains Batman Beyond 2.0’s consistent level of quality. This series is quickly becoming a favorite month after month. A few more notes have been added in the spoiler tags below but it’s recommended that you read the comic first.

Spoiler

  • Terry was a bad ass in this issue, but I did feel like the rogues gallery was nerfed quite a bit. I was incredibly excited to see him face down Spellbinder, Shriek, and Ink all at once, but they all went down way, way too easily. Spellbinder and Shriek (who is may favorite of the Beyond villains) didn’t put up any fight at all.
  • The final page reveal was empty compared to the absolute shockers from issues #1 and #2, but those were very hard acts to follow.

Justice League 2.0: Power Struggle – The Art of War

If you thought there were a lot of explosions and fist-fights in Batman Beyond then you’ll want to take a breather before cracking open Cristos N. Gage & Iban Coello’s Justice League because this chapter doesn’t let up for a second! While issues #1-2 had lighthearted moments and were almost entirely Superman-centric what with the Man of Steel losing his super powers and going on his first date as a senior citizen, issue #3 opens with the entire Justice League in the fight of their life.

A powerless Superman has entered the phantom zone only to discover that Jax-Ur has been behind all his recent woes. Jax-Ur has a son who apparently has some sort of telekinetic ability that allows him to control kryptonian tech outside of the Phantom Zone– this is never fully explained but I hope it is in future chapters. Using his child’s unique powers, Jax-Ur–who in the DC Animated Universe (which this series is based on) is more like General Zod than his comic book counterpart– has manipulated Superman into giving up his powers and allowing the inmates of the Phantom Zone an opportunity to escape. It is a plan that hinges upon the Jax-Ur boy controlling the Superman Robots in the real world and using the body of the now-authorized Batman to unlock the gate to the Kryptonian prison.

It’s a good plan except I don’t understand why Jax-Ur waited until Superman was in the Phantom Zone to make his move. Wouldn’t it have been better to take over the robots and force the now-powerless Superman to open the portal rather than trigger the robots with the entire Justice League present? Anyway, it gives us the chance to see the JL fight an army of Supermen– how many exactly is never shown and not knowing the lack of a clearly defined threat takes away from the gravity of some of the fights.

Another element to the otherwise ingenious plan that made me groan was that on several occasions we see Jax-Ur berating his son and even beating him for not using the robots to take a life. If found this to be an obvious means of driving home how evil Jax-Ur is but it downplays his genius and makes him seem idiotic. The kid needs to focus and he’s your only ticket out of the phantom zone. Are you a brilliant tactician or not? Slapping the boy upside the head when that head is the only means of success seemed incredibly foolish.

However, those nitpicks aside, the sinister plot sets up some very entertaining action scenes, one of which even utilizes Aquagirl. Now, I’ve complained time and time again about seeing Aquagirl planted behind the computer of the Justice League headquarters so I couldn’t help but applaud when she finally had a moment to shine. I found this entire chapter to be quite exhilarating and while I questioned where Gage was going with this series in issue #1 I now think that this story is shaping up to be one of the best Justice League Beyond arcs yet! We have a memorably menacing villain, a cooperative team, and the artwork by Coello, which I criticized for being somewhat bland in previous installments, is at its very best here. Coello shines in the hand-to-hand combat scenes in this issue not only between Jax-Ur and Superman (which is undoubtedly the best stuff) but with some killer Shazam moments as well. He has a real eye for knowing when to move in tight to show the brutality of the battle and when to give a wide angle to the bigger, more explosive action.

Recommended If…

  • You have fond memories of the Jax-Ur episode of Superman: The Animated Series
  • You want to see Terry take on several of your favorite Batman Beyond rogues
  • It’s about damn time Aquagirl did something useful in Justice League Beyond
  • The thought of an all-new Batman Beyond villain sounds intriguing
  • Action– big action is what you crave

Overall

Holy hell, there was a lot of action in both stories included in this comic. And we’re not talking action against no-name baddies, if you love the villains of Batman Beyond and Superman: The Animated Series then you’ll want to pick this one up immediately.

SCORE: 8/10