The latest installment of Batman Beyond Universe features not two stories, but three! I’ll talk about them all and let you know if this issue is worth picking up or if you should just sit it out until the next arc begins in April.

System Override: Boss Level

BeyondBrainiacIsland

Written by Christos Gage

Pencils by Iban Coello

Inks by Rob Lean

Colors by Ulises Arreola

Christos Gage’s Justice League Beyond epic has made Forever Evil look like a schoolyard squabble by comparison. Watching this thing unfold has been like seeing Patton Oswalt’s Star Wars filibuster from Parks & Recreation come to life. It’s just…it’s ridiculously big. Big robots, big monsters, and big cameos always outdoing one another. And then who shows up? I hope you’re sitting, it’s ____! That’s what this Brainiac story has been like. Fun at times, but also kind of exhausting. No shortage of action, but it would’ve been nice to have had some greater character development or greater emotional attachment to these events that would weigh it all down and give the copious explosions greater meaning. Iban Coello does well with action, but the most thrilling scenes don’t get to flourish due to the Digital First format that cuts every page in half. This is a story that definitely would’ve benefited from a few splash pages or full-page spreads and it’s clear that Coello is more than capable of pulling those jaw-dropping moments off.

The Bat Men: Second Chances

BeyondManBatFinale

Written by Kyle Higgins

Art by Thony Silas

Colors by Emilio Lopez

I found this to be a better ending than what we got with the Rewired saga, but there’s no denying that this finale was diminished by its release schedule. Had these closing scenes occurred immediately following the emotional moments and memorable flashbacks of issue #7 then it would’ve been a triumph (and it will be a great ending when read together in a trade paperback), but here it feels like we paused a movie during the good part, left for a month, came back and within 2 minutes the credits rolled. “Second Chances” doesn’t work as well on its own and I recommend you re-read last month’s issue before jumping back in with this as it just comes off as feeling rather abrupt.

Reunion

BeyondWedding

Written by Kyle Higgins

Art by Eric Wight

Colors by Emilio Lopez

With “Second Chances” taking up so few pages we have plenty of room for a short story about Barbara and Dick. What happened to them all those years ago? Why didn’t they ever get hitched? Not all the answers are given, but writer Kyle Higgins flirts with the idea just enough to make this brief glimpse at a whirlwind romance a very satisfying read for fans of these two characters. There’s even a single page flashback that adds a dash of action and a surprising cast of characters that I don’t think we’ve ever seen interact with each other before! This nostalgic look back to the days of Batman The Animated Series should be a real crowd pleaser and the artwork by Eric Wight is spot-on with the look of The New Batman Adventures! “Reunion” is short, sweet, and I hope we get more like it.

Recommended If…

  • You have followed either arc up until now, this is the end of both the Man-Bat saga and Brainiac saga
  • The Dick Grayson/Barbara Gordon relationship is one of your favorites in all of comics
  • You’re looking for action, especially if it involves a ridiculously long list of DC characters
  • The upcoming “Justice Lords” crossover event is something you’re looking forward to. The Justice League Beyond finale sets that up in a very surprising way

Overall

Although this comic features 2 finales, it’s not entirely inaccessible to readers. The short story “Reunion” is not only readable for any fan of Batman Beyond and Batman The Animated Series, but it’s the best story in the entire issue (Justice League‘s ending was overkill and Batman Beyond‘s lacked impact after a one month break following the emotional setup of issue #7). Also, it’s important to note that Justice League Beyond‘s climax plants the seeds for the upcoming “Justice Lords” crossover between both Batman Beyond 2.0 and Justice League Beyond 2.0.

SCORE: 7.5/10