Justice Lords Beyond begins here with part 1 of the 4 part saga that sees Batman Beyond cross over with Justice League Beyond for one massively entertaining read for fans of the animated series.

It’s going to be hard to review this comic without giving away all the surprises, but I’ll try and make it as spoiler-free as I can without giving away all the major details that make it a great experience for fans of DC heroes.

BeyondNeo

Justice Lords Beyond: Neo World Order

Written by Kyle Higgins

Art by Thony Silas

Colors by Emilio Lopez

The prelude starts out with a cold open that seems awfully derivative of the first episode of Batman Beyond, but just trust writer Kyle Higgins. It’s all intentional and everything you think you know gets turned on its head in a hurry. It’s an opening chapter that confuses the reader, but in a good way. I was hooked immediately and, as always, enjoyed the art by Silas and Lopez. Silas got to craft some new Jokerz designs and by placing the opening scenes in daylight, Lopez was able to utilize a different color palette than usual that complemented Silas’ world beautifully. At a glance, these panels look like cells lifted directly from the original program!

More notes can be found in the spoiler tags below:

Spoiler

  • I wasn’t sure if “Sway” instead of “Schway” was a mistake by the letterer or if the Justice Lords dimension just has different slang than our own universe
  • Blond Terry’s dramatic scene with his mother felt like it was ripped from the film “The Basketball Diaries” but then again, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen that movie

BEYONDReunion

Justice Lords Beyond: Reunion

Written by Christos Gage

Art & Colors by Dexter Soy

Additional Colors by Veronica Gandini

With the prelude being so wild and this being the first time we’ve ever had Batman Beyond 2.0 and Justice League Beyond 2.0 interconnect, it would’ve been nice to have had some way to signify that these first two chapters were linked. A simple “XX hours earlier” or something would’ve done wonders.

The first true chapter of “Justice Lords Beyond” rewinds the clock a bit and focuses on the aftermath of the previous arc in which Brainiac not only conquered Earth but became Earth– look at the old reviews for a pic of the freaky Brainiac Planet. Anyway, things are a mess and it would’ve been worse had Wonder Woman not shown up at the end. But where did she come from, exactly? That’s the subject of most of this book and it’s not until the end that we start to see how any of this relates to the Batman Beyond opener. If you don’t recall a Justice League episode titled “A Better World” by Stan Berkowitz (The Injustice video game ripped off this one a lot) then I suggest you pull out your boxed set or click your way through Netflix and come back to this because it plays it is INTEGRAL to the plot. It’s also a great episode and a nice refresher (in my opinion Justice League: The Animated Series was a pretty weak cartoon, but Justice League Unlimited was indeed great). With that episode fresh in your mind, I have some news that either going to be good or bad: yes we’re getting another ongoing DC comics saga about a parallel universe with a corrupt Justice League. So if you’re already tired of Injustice: Year Two or Forever Evil then this comic might have lost your interest already since the market is so flooded with this trope, but I implore you to at least give “Justice Lords Beyond” a chance. After all, it’s only going to be 4 issues long and it should end on time unlike another series that’s gone on forever.

“Reunion” is exposition heavy, but it’s highly necessary and incredibly fascinating stuff. Best of all, it raises as many questions as it answers so I never found my interest waning. I’d get into the details about it here, but it’s SUPER COMPLICATED (hence all the exposition) and would take up my entire Saturday so just read the comic– I gave it a 9/10! the artwork is also very good and possibly the best that Justice League Beyond 2.0 has ever had. It doesn’t share the same cartoonish aesthetic as Thony Silas’ prologue, but it’s still a great recreation of the Beyond world. And with it being such a wordy installment, the visuals really have to be good to not only maintain the casual reader’s attention, but to properly illustrate everything being said in Superman’s super-long monologue. Dexter Soy translated the lengthy text into concise visuals exceptionally well for some vivid montages that were very pleasing to the eye.

More points are made in the spoiler tags below:

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  • Sending Terry to the other dimensions because the Justice Lords don’t know he exists only makes sense until you think about it. Doesn’t that go for most of the Justice League Beyond team? Wouldn’t Micron be a better scout since he could just float around on a mote of dust without anyone looking his way? Heck you could send Micron along with Terry, why not? It just seems like the only reason Terry is going is so that the Batman Beyond comic can better connect to the overall storyline
  • I don’t understand the comic’s commitment to calling Gotham “Neo-Gotham.” I don’t recall the city ever being called “Neo-Gotham” on the TV show
  • Superman makes a big thing about the portals being closed yet it’s super easy to send Terry, a little painful, but as we see in the following chapter he just pukes a little. Also, Superman doesn’t discuss how exactly they’ll bring Terry home, which seems like an important bit of info
  • Is it Justice Lord Wonder Woman or our Wonder Woman? Or what if it is our Wonder Woman but she’s changed so much after living in that other world for so long that there’s no difference between her and a Justice Lord? This was a fascinating revelation that really pulled me into the story

[/spoiler]

BeyondTwoForOne

Justice Lords Beyond: Two For One

Written by Kyle Higgins

Art by Mateo Guerrero

Colors by Emilio Lopez

And here’s where I have to get really vague because talking about anything would spoil everything. “Two For One” offers a lot more great twists, but they make sense now that we’ve been filled in by Gage’s Justice League Beyond 2.0. A few more answers come, we catch up to the prologue and then go… beyond the prologue. Higgins and Guerrero paced these pages beautifully. There’s a lot of good content here and plenty of thrilling action, but it just flew by because I was so engaged. I went back and counted and it’s definitely 10 pages, but I just blew through them because I was enjoying myself that much. Guerrero’s style is incredibly similar to Silas, which is nice and we still have the same colorist for added consistency. The faces have more detail than they would have from Silas or from the animated series, giving some dramatic close ups sort of an anime appeal. However, while Batman’s chapters blend together nicely, it would have been nice to have seen some shared colors in Justice League’ pages.

More comments can be found in the spoiler tags:

Spoiler

  • The visual of Terry’s space/time travel was derivative of Terminator only without the nudity. I would’ve liked a more unique take on this over-used sci-fi staple
  • Somebody really should’ve gone with Terry and it bugs me. Just sending Terry alone after a 2 minute briefing seems like a terrible plan
  • Terry’s joke about Grayson’s “eye thing” was great

BEYONDwarStories

Justice Lords Beyond: War Stories

Written by Christos Gage

Art & Colors by Dexter Soy

Additional Colors by Veronica Gandini

If I couldn’t talk about the last section then I definitely can talk about this one. It’s more exposition, but with even more badass imagery that shows what became of some of the villains that the Justice Lords faced. The whole thing ends in a pretty incredible cliffhanger that definitely has me excited for the next issue. All the voice-overs and montages might get tiresome for some readers, but it’s a pretty complicated story we’re dealing with in a short amount of time

Recommended If…

  • This is your first time hearing about Batman Beyond comics or you’ve been waiting for a good jumping-on point. This is a pretty accessible comic as long as you’re familiar with the animated shows the book is based on
  •  Justice League: The Animated Series two-parter “A Better World” is among your favorites
  • You can’t get enough of this parallel dimension Justice League business that seems to be everywhere right now
  • You want lots of content for your dollar. With both creative teams working together to create 4 massive crossover issues, Batman Beyond Universe has become a dense read that will give you more than enough to contemplate
  • You’re a Wonder Woman fan

Overall

It’s a decent jumping-on point and a dense read that gives you plenty of bang for your buck– just be sure  you’re very knowledgeable about your Animated DC Universe. If you’re a big fan of Justice League: The Animated Series or Batman Beyond then this is something you’ll absolutely want to pick up. Both Batman Beyond 2.0 and Justice League Beyond 2.0 crossover in this Beyond sequel to “A Better World” and it’s shaping up to be pretty epic. Just brace yourself for a lot of exposition because the setup gets pretty complicated.

SCORE: 9/10