With issue #5 beginning all-new story arcs for both Batman Beyond 2.0 and Justice League Beyond, it makes for a great jumping-on point for curious new readers. Here’s a brief look at what each of these opening chapters have to offer:
Batman Beyond 2.0
The Bat Men: Great Expectations
Batman Beyond has the honor of getting this month’s cover, which I love. It’s actually done by American Vampire’s Rafael Albuquerque whereas the interior artwork is still handled by by Thony Silas who continues to match the look of the animates series quite well. While the waves on the cover and the preview we posted here at Batman News a couple of weeks ago might have you thinking that this chapter will center around Shriek, your eyes should actually be focusing more on the bats. Writer Kyle Higgins digs deep in this issue, calling back not only to the very first issue of his run on this series but to the original Batman: The Animated Series, even getting so specific as to feature a flashback sequence from the episode “Fear of Victory.”
Shriek does play a part, of course. The comic starts with Terry tracking one of my favorite Beyond villains down and they have a fight where the creators make clever use of blank speech bubbles and sound effects to illustrate Shriek’s power set. However, I was a little underwhelmed when the scene wrapped up so quickly and Shriek was swept aside for a villain who, frankly, has been overexposed in the New 52 lately.
I’m excited to see where this story goes and Thony Silas continues to do great work only now the colors are comig from Emilio Lopez, who appears to be a more versatile colorist. I remember many of the backgrounds having the same blueish hue through the previous arc. If I could make one complaint about the otherwise spot-on artwork, it’s that there is another Beyond character making their first 2.0 appearance in this issue and her facial features are nowhere near as soft as I’d like them to be. She was so mousy in the animated series but here she looks like Lucy Lawless.
Justice League Beyond 2.0
System Override: Color Wheel of Doom
Justice League is starting off kind of weak again, but I’m not going to count it out just yet. Last time I was really displeased with the first chapter and from then on things got better and better so hopefully that happens here.
The problem with Christos Gage and Iban Coello’s “Color Wheel of Doom” is that it features too much action too quickly for me to care and the threat feels too similar to what we saw at the conclusion of the previous arc. Things start off fine for the first couple of pages as we see the younger members of the team showing Superboy, Jax-Ur’s son Zod, how to have fun in the snow. It’s a lighthearted scene with some good laughs and beautiful colors by Ulises Arreola. Things get more dramatic on the following page where we see the comic’s best scene, an argument between Superman and Bruce Wayne. Apparently, despite Jax-Ur’s character being modeled after Superman II’s Zod, this issue makes it clear tha tthere was once a notorious kryptonian traitor named Zod and that fact alone has Bruce worried about the Justice League adopting a child by the same name. At this point I’m very interested, but a single page turn later and we’re overwhelmed by balls to the wall action as the Watchtower’s technology turns against them much like how the Fortress of Solitude’s did in last month’s story. And frankly, A.M.A.Z.O. coming to life should be more than enough of a villain for a single Justice League arc but here he’s shown in the background of a single panel and that’s it. Pretty disappointing.
From then on there are a number of explosions, some bickering over who could be responsible
- The animated series still holds a place in your heart
- You’re looking for a Justice League comic that actually features a Justice League (you won’t find it in the New 52 right now)
- You can’t get enough of Batman’s version of The Lizard, and no I don’t mean Killer Croc
- Dick Grayson is one of your favorite Batman characters, he has a great moment here
- You want to see a bunch of other DC characters get the Beyond treatment
I liked one story more than the other, but overall this is a dense, action-packed read that introduces quite a few classic characters to the Beyond Universe. This is a great jumping on point that still feels the aftershock of what happened in the previous, epic storylines.