Saturday, August 17, 2013

REVIEW: Batman Beyond 2.0, Chapters 1 & 2

A little info before we start, I don't like making full posts about the ten page digital chapters DC publishes, unless they're essentially one shots. This is because they're usually only part of what would be considered a full issue, and it's sort of unfair to judge them in an incomplete state. With that in mind, with the second chapter of Batman Beyond 2.0 coming out today, that's 20 pages, essentially a full issue. Given the circumstances, I had to make note of the first chapter two weeks ago, because it was a big twist, and you should read it, so I sort of screwed up how I wanted to write about this series, and that's just to wait until a full "issue" is released. So I'm not going to do a full spoiler post here, instead for this chapter, just review it (with spoilers, mind you) in a more casual format. So, come September 14th (I believe), I'll do a regular style post.

So, let's get on with it.

After the first chapter of this series, where we learn something, lord knows what, has happened in the Bat family within the year between the last series ending and now, more questions are layered on to deepen the mystery. After the mayor's death last issue, Terry goes to the Arkham Institute to meet Barbara, whose arm is in pretty rough shape for some reason. She alludes to Terry that due to what happened "last year" they both believe that the Ghoul could be the prime suspect. To further the mystery, when Terry interrogates Ghoul, he makes it seem as if Ghoul almost got him at some point, for good. Of course, it's not Ghoul, and is a new guy who can transmit electricity through the air (see cover for #3) but they don't know it's that guy yet. Regardless, the mystery behind what has happened here is probably the strongest thing the series has going for it. Kyle Higgins was smart to have so much change, but only pepper in a few things here and there in this first issue, and not just give it all away bluntly. Because what's going on is so radically different than the standard Beyond status quo, I'm hooked, I want to know more, I want to find out why this is the way it is.

Along with the interesting story, there's Thony Silas' art, which fits the Beyond style perfectly. From page one, you see the holographic talking news head and go "I remember that!" as it just hits the right note of nostalgia, but is fresh and new at the same time. In a way, Silas' stuff reminds me of Phil Noto, especially with close ups of faces, it's not as nuanced as Noto, but I still get that feeling. Overall, I'd say that I believe Silas is already the best artist to portray Beyond through all its comic renditions. Finally, to compliment Silas' art, there's also Andrew Elder's colors, and long story short, he nails the Neo-Gotham pallet, perfectly.

I loved this issue, I really did. I was a fan of the show back in the day, but nothing on the comics side really grabbed me. I felt like most Beyond comics were playing it too safe, trying to stick with the show too much, and that's not what I necessarily wanted. The show is the show, it should be allowed to rest, no need to try and continue it in a different format, so closely. What this new Batman Beyond does so well, is emulate all the right things from the old TV series, but distances itself enough to be its own thing, while feeling new and exciting. I can't recommend this enough to fans of the show, if you haven't been reading Batman Beyond, nows the time. Both chapters are available digitally, and will be collected in print with Justice League Beyond 2.0 (which was also good) in Batman Beyond Universe #1 next week.


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