Better late than never, here’s the review for Batman Beyond Universe #6 featuring the latest chapters in the adventures of Justice League Beyond 2.0 and Batman Beyond 2.0.

Justice League Beyond 2.0

System Override: Malware

Written by Christos Gage

Pencils by Ian Coello

Inks by Rob Lean

Colors by Ulises Arreola

We didn’t ease into this story at all, did we? That first issue had a pleasant scene in a park where the Justice Leaguers enjoyed a brief snowball fight with the all-new Superboy named “Zod,” but not a moment later we were in yet another global war in which technology was going haywire. It felt like too much too soon and this latest chapter just amplified things. It’s honestly too much for me to take in. If you’re just looking for a boatload of action (that’s an understatement, by the way) and yet another boatload of DC Universe cameos (another understatement) then you’ll likely love every minute of this. Me, on the other hand… I just can’t get invested in it. I feel overwhelmed by this story because when Christos Gage wrote this war with Brainiac, he threw in everything but the kitchen sink.

Besides experience sensory overload and feeling as though we skipped any rising action and jumped straight to a climax, I have 2 other complaints about this larger-than-life installment: 1) I found it odd that Orion seems to have more or less gone back to how he was portrayed before Fridolfs & Nguyen’s run, where Darkseid was the one using that particular uniform and gear and 2) “Malware” takes place over multiple continents and follows the super-powered battles of a laundry list of characters (major understatement, unless you have a ridiculous laundry list…by the way, that’s a really out-dated term to be using, especially in a review about a story that takes place in the future) who are still able to communicate through their earpieces despite Brainiac taking over all the world’s technology. It’s said that Undercloud is able to hold back Brainiac somewhat, but… come on. Those guys really shouldn’t be able to stand a chance. It’s something that always bugs me about alien invasion movies. Any civilization that can travel across entire galaxies would obliterate us with ease. I especially hate it when the aliens get off their ship and they are shown to be naked critters incapable of doing anything but roar mindlessly. Often times they have ships that are just made up of corridors and nothing else…

Anyway, is going to please those looking for action and Easter eggs and the artwork by Coello is good throughout and I liked his redesigns of classic DC characters who must get the Beyond treatment, but I did find Superman’s hairstyle to be a little too DBZ Saiyan-esque in many scenes. The closing splash page was definitely a memorable image and one that has me interested to see what’s to come in the next chapter. I just wish we had taken more time to focus on character and plot instead of going directly into such a vast battle.

 Batman Beyond 2.0

The Batman Men: All Leather Wings

Written by Kyle Higgins

Art by Thony Silas

Color by Emilio Lopez

There’s a single page that takes place in an office that’s little more than an old Babs and Dick talking about old times and how much their lives have changed. It did more for me than any super-powered fight scene in Justice League Beyond. However, just because I loved that brief exchange between two members of the bat-family doesn’t mean that “All Leather Wings” is short on action. In fact, it has a great deal of action and it means more because there’s story and character driving it forward. If you recall, Man-Bat has returned and he’s threatening all of Gotham. The only way to reach crotchety Kirk Langstrom and save the city in time is for Bruce and Terry to put aside their differences and infiltrate our villain’s base via the Gotham sewers. There’s a terrific level of tension between the two characters and some amusing banter as well. As you can imagine, they do eventually run into some trouble and we get to see the Batman of the future show off all his high-tech skills and I’m sure we all love it when old Bruce kicks it old school and manages to get a few hits in himself when faced with baddies that underestimate a geezer with a cane.

I enjoyed this chapter from start to finish and found it to strike a perfect balance between exploring the characters, progressing the plot, and dazzling the eye with a sufficient level of action. I’m still very curious about how writer Kyle Higgins is characterizing Kirk Langstrom since this older portrayal of the classic Bat-villain is so very different than what we saw in Batman: The Animated Series, but I’m willing to reserve judgment until that bit is explained in future chapters. As for now, he’s a very nasty villain with a really cool new look. Definitely one of the most menacing looking Man-Bats I’ve ever seen– it must be the beard. Speaking of the look, this is a really well-illustrated comic. Thony Silas makes the most of the Digital First format by utilizing some rather small panels to add more fluidity in the action sequences and give us the step-by-step monster transformations fans come to expect from stories that feature bad guys such as Man-Bat. Silas’ style is just a perfect fit for this series. It’s such a nice continuation of the Bruce Timm style but yet he still puts his own personal touch on it. I was also impressed by the colors by Emilio Lopez, who worked wtih an awful lot of purple– the pages are practically saturated in purple– yet it never gets boring. Every shade is distinctive and it made for an attractive chapter that stands out from the usual palette we see when heroes venture into the nasty Gotham sewer.

I highly recommend fans of the animated series start picking up Batman Beyond 2.0 immediately. Start from issue #1.

Recommended If…

  • You loved the closing battle with Kobra from Fridolfs & Nguyen’s run on Justice League Beyond
  • You’re a huge fan of the Batman Beyond Cartoon and loved any Batman cartoon that featured Man-Bat, Dick & Barbara’s relationship, or Splicers
  • You’re looking for action and lots of it
  • You want to see even more DC characters get updated for the Beyond universe

Overall

I definitely enjoyed Batman Beyond 2.0 far more than Justice League 2.0, but at the end of the day this is a highly entertaining comic for fans of Bruce Timm’s cartoons.

SCORE: 7/10