I can’t describe how overjoyed I am that Damian is in the Batman Beyond universe… But I honestly can’t determine if I enjoyed or hated how this arc ended.
I was incredibly anxious coming into this issue, and it had nothing to do with Terry, Damian, or Bruce. I wanted to know what happened to Goliath! Not to sound crazy, but I love animals. I used to train dogs for obedience and agility competitions as a part-time job when I was in high school, and that’s when my deep love for animals (especially dogs) began. I know Goliath isn’t a dog, but he embodies the idea of the loyalty you get from dogs (and other pets), so when I saw the first page of the book, I had to put the book down.
Needless to say, I was angry. This feels senseless and unnecessary. Dan Jurgens is now on my bad list. Despite my dislike for the situation, I needed to read the issue to figure out how the creative team would wrap up this story – while secretly praying that they would find a way to keep Damian around.
If you haven’t been tuning in to the latest arc, it started with the arrival of Qurare in Gotham. We soon learn that it was really Ra’s al Ghul pulling strings to get to Terry, and Bruce immediately becomes concerned upon learning this. In an interesting turn of events, we learn that Damian is the current Ra’s al Ghul, and he has a personal vendetta with Terry. Why? Well, it’s Damian… What else can I say?
The past few issues have been high-action as a battle between Terry and Damian has built to this point. There hasn’t been much in the way of plot for roughly three months now, but the growing rage between these two characters has been enough to hold my attention. Damian has become – what I would assume to be – the greatest martial artist in the world. He’s toyed with Terry for most of the fight, and it’s clear that his skillset far surpasses that of the current Batman. The death of Goliath changes that though, and now Damian is deadest on killing this man he considers to be a pretender.
Terry isn’t quite himself either, though. The suit he’s wearing is a prototype and has taken over his mind and body, operating in some sort of survival mode. Without anyone pulling punches, and with both men (er… man and A.I.?) acting blindly out of rage, the fight reaches an intensity I’d only hoped for. If that weren’t enough, the stakes change once Bruce and Koru enter the fray in their own respects.
It’s at this point that the story turns sideways, and the unexpected comes into play. The alliances that had been setup earlier in the story are now in question, and there’s a feeling that anything can happen. To make the circumstances direr, nukes are brought into the equation. Personally, I hate the idea of random nuclear missiles suddenly appearing in stories because it’s obvious they’ll be disengaged before reaching their target. That being said, it does provide for a nice moment and a solid conclusion, even if it does come across somewhat forced and neat.
The Art: Bernard Chang makes Batman Beyond for me. He provides such a distinct style to the narrative that has helped create an identity that feels exclusive to this title. There’s enough of a nod to the animated series to pay respect, but then there’s this separate identity in Chang’s art that feels like an embodiment of change for the brand that Rebirth has become associated with.
Along with Chang’s craft for storytelling, Marcelo Maiolo’s colors embolden the pencils to create a dramatic flare. The red and orange backgrounds in various panels are striking, while the richness of Damian’s green and gold suit counter those tones quite well.
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Shifting Tides. The moment Koru goes after Bruce, and Damian fights to break away from Terry was an incredible moment for me. It says so much about Damian, and that no matter how misguided he will be at times, he will always be Batman’s son. Even in adulthood, his smugness overcasts the heart he truly has!
Show Your Face. Wait, wait, wait… So, all Terry needs to do is take off the mask, and that prevents the suit from controlling him? That’s it? That’s how you avoid turning into a psychopathic murderer? Why not just wear the suit, and then place a generic bat-mask on instead? Also, if it were that easy, why didn’t Damian just rip the mask off when he was trying to kill Terry because he believed Goth was dead. This moment doesn’t feel as though it were thought out well.
Nukes. For real? I just complained about this in my Suicide Squad review. Why do people insist on having nuclear missiles in their stories? As a mentioned above, the moment you see a missile appear, you automatically know nothing is going to happen. The missiles aren’t going to land and wipe out a large population of people, so they ultimately come off as a desperate attempt to create drama, and it always fails.
The Happy Ending. No, not that kind! Get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about the Full House type ending, where everything is resolved by the time you reach the conclusion of the story. As it turns out, Goliath isn’t dead, Terry defeats the suit (twice), Damian saves Terry, they stop nukes, and everyone has a nice family moment… I’m not opposed to happy endings – and I especially like the plots that could potentially develop from this one, but all of this kumbaya, “one big happy family” approach is a bit much.
- It’s freaking Damian versus (crazed Bat-suit) Terry!
- You want to see more between Bruce and Damian.
Overall: Batman Beyond #11 is a solid, fun issue that is high energy from start to finish. A few twists in the plot add an element of surprise, but there are moments that are equally predictable and repetitive as well. The story does wrap up a little too neatly for my liking, but leaves a world of possibilities open for the future! The highlight for me personally is Chang’s art! The guy delivers some beautiful work, and that alone is worth your time and money!