You know what I’ve been predicting for a while now? Do you remember? Yeah, well I hate to say I told you so, but…
I’m beginning to notice a pattern with Batman Beyond, and that concerns me. On paper, Batman Beyond should be excellent. The stories that Jurgens is crafting are strong with great plot points, but the execution is leaving something to be desired. In between the great twists, reveals, and set-up, we’ve endured issues that, overall, weren’t needed. I consider this issue to be one of them.
Last month, after fighting off the League of Assassins, Curare revealed to Terry that Ra’s al Ghul is still alive. I made a prediction at that time that I didn’t believe Ra’s was actually Ra’s. This wasn’t some blind guess either, but simply a conclusion based on foreshadowing… Blatantly obvious foreshadowing. So much so, that I’d hardly consider it foreshadowing, and more of a tell. That tell serves as a momentum killer for this issue. So much of the drive for this chapter is the chase to get to Ra’s, only to reveal who he really is… But when you figure out that reveal more than a month prior, it’s nearly impossible to prevent the narrative from falling short of expectations.
The other driving plot of this issue, is Terry and his suit. This is also something I’ve commented on previously. In my opinion, Terry is the least interesting character in Batman Beyond at the moment. Simply put, when your lead character is overshadowed by every supporting character… that doesn’t bode well. Terry comes off as a blank slate. He becomes what he needs to be based on the character he’s with – essentially making him a device for that character. It’s as if those characters project his identity onto him rather than Terry having his own personality and presence.
As for his new suit… We learn more details pertaining to why Bruce is so concerned that Terry is wearing it. The explanation is both good and bad in my opinion. On one hand, I’m happy that the suit isn’t doing what I originally thought it was doing. On the other hand, the actual explanation requires a lot of imagination. For the enjoyment of the issue, don’t think too much into the logistics of what Bruce describes.
Now, I know I’ve only talked about the negative aspects of the issue, but I want to clarify that I wouldn’t consider the issue bad. Overall, this chapter is enjoyable enough. There are a number of moments that readers will appreciate, and the action remains consistently good. It is a fun read despite its downfalls, and Bruce, Barbara, and Curare continue to steal their scenes. If you’ve been reading, then this issue is well worth your time. I fully believe we’ve yet to experience some of the best moments that Jurgens and Chang have planned.
The Art: Chang continues to deliver solid art, and he makes some interesting choices with his layouts in this issue, but I enjoyed them. If there’s one thing that I miss, it’s the drama Chang would bring to his art with the bold, color bursts he would use for select panels.
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
The action. One of the best things about this issue, is the action. Aside from Curare’s fight, most of the action you see is a capture of the mayhem and aftermath of fights that Terry is having and Bruce has had – both of which deal directly with the new bat suit. There’s no direct mention of how far Bruce went or Terry has gone with this bat suit, but there’s a panel where Bruce stabs one of the Banes (don’t get me started on the Banes) in the head with a bat-a-rang. There’s a chance that didn’t kill the Bane, but then there’s a separate panel from Terry’s fight where he shoved a sword through an assassin’s skull… I’m pretty sure that killed him.
Damian. I know many people will probably disagree, but I love the idea of Damian being Ra’s al Ghul. There are so many interesting stories that can come from this, and I sincerely hope that Jurgens and Chang take full advantage of this opportunity.
Damian’s reveal. The entire issue built to Damian’s reveal… and I’m willing to bet most people already say that coming. I’m still excited to see Damian in this role, but I wish an entire issue wouldn’t have been wasted on a reveal that didn’t need to happen.
The new Ubu. I like the idea of this character, but what in the hell was his point? After the entire League went after Curare to kill her, he has the opportunity, but doesn’t do it. He also doesn’t do anything to Barbara. It just seems odd. He shows up in the story, but then serves no purpose. And Curare jumps off her ship to confront him for no reason. None of this adds up logically, and just serves to create some drama within the issue… Unless we eventually find out that Curare never actually turned on the League, and is simply acting out Damian’s plans to get Terry to him.
- You want to see Terry face off against Ra’s al Ghul.
- You’re interested in what the new bat suit is doing to Terry.
Overall: While I didn’t get the bang that I was hoping for, Batman Beyond #8 still delivers in other ways. The action is spectacular, and the possibility of what Terry might do now that we understand what the new bat suit is capable of is intriguing. If there’s one thing that plagues this issue and prevents it from being great, it’s the predictability involved with Ra’s al Ghul’s reveal.