Last issue of Batman Beyond featured…you know what? Just read the last review. Or this one. It doesn’t matter.
Did I just read the same issue twice? No, seriously, this is the exact same thing as last issue. Dan Jurgens must have planned this as some kind of time-loop thing. The parallels line up just too perfectly for this to be anything other than weak writing; that, or I’m trapped in some bizarre Twilight Zone universe. Brother Eye is invading Neo-Gotham with the former members of the Justice League as members of his legion. Tim comments on how the city was once one of the worst places to live but is now the last bastion of humanity. Memorable villains from previous Batman Beyond iterations side with the police to fight back against the cyborg invasion. Micron shows up. Tim talks about not being worthy of becoming Batman. Barbara takes Tim to this other secret hideout with some other secret weapon from this other Scott Snyder storyline. I actually rolled my eyes when I got to the last page. This entire issue was so uninspired that it hurt.
There really isn’t much to say about “Brave New Worlds.” Most of it is just one huge action scene, wrapped around a conversation between Tim and Barbara. But it’s here that the limited light of this issue shines through. One of the strongest parts of this new Batman Beyond run has been the development of Tim Drake as a character and as Batman. The child-prodigy-turned-crime-fighter has been involved in many of the most important Batman stories in recent memory, but has never quite gotten his turn with the cape and cowl. Brother Eye delved into Tim’s past a few issues back, and here we get to see a few moments of real emotion in a book that has been otherwise action-heavy.
While I did enjoy Tim’s heart-felt message to Barbara about what it was like to be Robin, especially around the time Damian showed up, I did find myself scratching my head at a few things. The main thing was Tim saying that he had to live up to a standard set by “the perfect Robin.” I think Tim gives himself too little credit here, but I was glad to see that he believes he found himself with the Teen Titans. Then there was the idea that he would never become Batman, which is also counterbalanced by a number of pre-New 52 arcs. Also, the fact that Barbara didn’t know that Dick had a crush on her rubbed me the wrong way; then again I’m a huge supporter of Grayson/Babs. While it had the intent of coming off as heartfelt, I found myself conflicted about the whole thing.
Marcelo Maiolo and Bernard Chang continue their strong artwork on this series. As expected from a dystopian city-siege, the action is violent and borderline gory in some places, but it all fits in with the overall feel of the book. Just in this issue alone, Justice League members are blown up, eviscerated, exploded from the inside, and choke to death (I guess?). It’s pretty gritty and I almost wished for a little more just to see how Tim would take more of them out, but it went just far enough to not be gratuitous.
- Again, the kills in this issue were both visually striking and stomach-turning at points. John Stewart gets blown up by some Ro-Bat rockets. Wonder Woman gets exploded from the inside by Micron – which he probably should have been able to do for years. Superman chokes on Batman’s Kryptonite ring and then gets demolished. All-in-all some solid death scenes.
- Next month’s surprise comes from the Court of Owls arc. Any guesses?!
Favorite Quote: “All forces…Converge.” – Brother Eye (Do we have to reference every recent DC storyline?)
- You want to read some violent Batman.
- You like the work of Maiolo and Chang.
Not Recommended If…
- You read last issue.
Overall: An unoriginal story and weak dialogue wrecks an otherwise outstanding performance by an overachieving art team. Neither inspired nor unique, this reads like little more than a carbon copy of the previous issue.