Dan Jurgens returns to Batman Beyond, and doesn’t really do much in this issue… Well, that’s disappointing.
I’m going to be honest, the biggest disservice to this issue is the fact that two filler issues preceded it. Had this story followed “Rise of the Demon” then I would say this is a welcomed break from the standard action and adventure to allow for characterization and relationship building. But it didn’t immediately follow “Rise of the Demon,” so we’ve now gone three months feeling like there’s been little to no progression for the title. And unfortunately, Batman Beyond could use a bit of pizazz right about now.
This chapter isn’t bad, but it does nothing to make me excited for what’s to come. It is successful in reassuring certain plots that have been teased or touched on prior to Jurgen’s hiatus, but that’s about it. Terry’s mindset pertaining to being Batman is explored, and that’s a welcomed and needed plotline. There’s also heavy foreshadowing for Matt. Matt’s future has been teased quite a bit ever since he went in search of the Justice League back when Tim was operating as Batman.
The best moment in this issue is between Bruce and Barbara. The two reflect on the early years, and Barbara questions Bruce on how appropriate it is to bring people into this mission – his mission. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before so it won’t feel like an epic epiphany, but it is well written and deserves praise for that alone.
The Royal Flush Gang are introduced as the villains of this arc. And yes, they’re inclusion is about as exciting as you would imagine it to be. There is a new member to the card gang though, and that does make things interesting… For Batman. For those of you that look forward to a lot of action in your comics, I regret to inform you that this chapter is quite lacking in that department as well. A battle breaks out during the last three pages or so, but the book ends with a trope that is so tired at this point, that it does nothing to leave me waiting in suspense for the next issue.
The Art: Phil Hester steps in on art duties this week. If you’ve read comics for a while, you should recognize his work. I tend to associate him with Nightwing, but he’s done quite a bit of work in general… but I’ve never been the biggest fan of his. I’ve never found his work to contain much detail in the way of features, and I like for facial features and reactions to assist in delivering the script. On the other hand, the more simplified approach to his art felt a bit more true to the animated series, so I enjoyed the nostalgia aspect of that. At the end of the day, Hester delivers, and there really isn’t much to nitpick or complain about other than the finer details of his pencils.
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
- You’re ready to return to Jurgens’ main plot.
- You want to know Terry’s decision as to whether he should or shouldn’t be Batman.
- Barbara Gordon.
Overall: Batman Beyond #14 serves more as a reminder and reintroduction than anything else. After two months of filler issues, Jurgens reminds readers of his trajectory. The issue is fine overall, but it can be a little boring at times. What Jurgens really needs to start doing, is weaving together these plotlines he’s creating. Each arc has introduced something incredible for the Batman Beyond universe, but none of these moments (Joker, Barbara/ Batgirl, Damian, Matt, and Max) beyond it’s reveal or foreshadowing. Because of this, the title feels a little incohesive, so I’d love to see textures of these elements continue throughout every arc.