High Five! Comics

Batman Beyond #1 and Why Bruce Wayne Will Never Again Be Batman

Posted on: July 2, 2010

When I was a young’un, I’d wake up early every Saturday morning to watch the crap out of some Batman Beyond. For whatever reason, a Batman in the future kind of seemed like one of the most awesome things ever (even if the show was pretty much just made up words, Seth Green, and day-glo everything). This is why following Dan DiDio’s 2007 announcement, I eagerly awaited the new Adam Beechen Batman Beyond limited series and some sweet Earth-12 action. I didn’t know what I was getting into.

It all started with Paul Levitz’s Superman/Batman Annual #4, in which Terry teams up with Superman to stop a decrepit Lex Luthor who has been lacing street drugs with Kryptonite.  The issue references the shit out of an episode of Batman Beyond called “The Call” (Superman talks about being possessed by Starro and the death of Lois Lane).  I’d assume it takes place in either the DC Animated Universe or on Earth-12. In other words, this issue may or may not be canon.

This was followed by Grant Morrison’s phenomenal Batman #700. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do before reading the rest of this paragraph. In the future, when Damian Wayne is Batman, he saves an infant Terry McGinnis from 2-Face-2. The next page (under the heading “and tomorrow”) features a shot of Terry in the Batman Beyond costume beating the crap out of a bunch of Jokerz. Essentially, Batman #700 finally plugged Terry into the main continuity of the DCU.

Now we come upon Batman Beyond #1 (of a six issue mini-series). Let’s get the review portion out of the way real fast; Beechen is comfortable writing for a DCAU character (he wrote for both Warner Brothers’ The Batman and Carton Network’s Teen Titans) and DC made an excellent choice picking him for this project. Ryan Benjamin’s art parallels that of the original series well, but I’ve yet to decide if that’s really a good thing or a bad thing. Either way, pick it up. Totally worth the $2.99 cover price.

Anyway, with the events of Batman #700, it is safe to assume that Batman Beyond is also taking place on New Earth rather than Earth-12. This book starts off assuming that you watched the show and already know who Terry is. Taking place after the Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker movie (but before that Justice League Unlimited episode where Terry finds out Bruce is his dad), this book follows Terry trailing a killer who’s been offing characters from Bruce’s past.

This does raise a lot of questions though. Morrison’s Batman #666 (released in July 2007) revealed that, at some point, Damian will witness the death of a Batman and avenge his death by taking up the mantle. In 2007, we naturally thought Batman meant Bruce Wayne. Fast forward to 2010 and we now know that Dick (not Bruce) has been Damian’s mentor. And Batman Beyond proves that Bruce is still alive in 2039 following Damian’s tenure as Batman. Holy shit. In one fell swoop Grant Morrison killed Dick Grayson and proved that Bruce Wayne will never be Batman again.

Consider the title of Morrison’s The Return of Bruce Wayne. In retrospect, this sort of implies that it is not Batman returning from the past, merely the man. And with Morrison having already touched upon the distant future of the Batman legacy in JLA: One Million (the Batman of which also cameos in Batman #700), it is safe to assume he knows where he’s going with it. The legacy appears safe in Morrison’s hands but, sorry fanboys, it looks like Bruce’s days behind the cowl are over.

-Rob and Jonny

PS: Anybody who says Grant Morrison is hard to follow can suck it.

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8 Responses to "Batman Beyond #1 and Why Bruce Wayne Will Never Again Be Batman"

I like your note in the “P.S.” section. I do feel like a lot of people didn’t look closely enough at issue #666. I read it for the first time when the Batman and Son paperback trade came out, and thought it was surprisingly clear as to the outcome of “Battle for the Cowl.” When Grayson and Damian emerged as Batman and Robin, it wasn’t much of a revelation.

Agreed. I’m still not sure why people thought anyone else would assume the mantle(s).

Hey,
I have no idea what Batman comics to read. I’ve read Frank Miller’s Batman and Robin Volume 1, Return of the Dark Knight, the Long Halloween, Year One, and Gotham by Gaslight.

On comics, where should I begin, and where should I progress?

Thanks in advance.

Dang! I couldn’t follow the review, much less Grant Morrison! I’ll echo Copernicus: I’d love to get back into the Batman comics, but if this rundown of events is an indication, it may be impossible to jump it at this point. The Batman universe seems to have too many tentacles into other characters and books – other worlds and histories. Far too much knowledge is simply assumed. Now I know how my father feels trying to learn a Mac for the first time.

[…] about how Dick Grayson is about to get “a bullet in the brain” meaning that I’m pretty sure Jon and I were right (at least about […]

quite good article, i agree with… comics will the be good, but in our hearts batman wil always be Bruce Wayne

It’s very exiting to find this highfivecomics.net site. I don’t have much to add to the conversation, but I’m right there with you. This post said exactly what I have been thinking. Good to see you posting again.

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