Saturday, December 21, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman Beyond 2.0, Chapters #9 & 10

Sometime after the Rewire chaos in Neo Gotham, some guys are out on a job, scanning for damage to the historical district, or something, the point is, they have some sort of sonic device they’re using for scanning, probably echo or something. Everything is going well, until a hooded woman and some thugs surround them. The two guys try and fight back/run, but they’re soon enveloped by a descending shadow of a bat, making a deafening screeching noise.

Elsewhere, Terry is still trying to round up all the escaped Arkham Inmates, and this night he’s after Shriek. Terry runs into a problem though, Shriek has some upgrades, sound waves that make Terry go deaf, and causes him so much pain, he can’t continue to fight, and Shriek gets away.

Later, Dick tends to Terry’s hearing issue, giving him some sort of hearing aid to use until his hearing naturally comes back. Terry is pretty down on himself for screwing up, but Dick tells him not to take it out on himself, they’ve all been there. Terry asks Dick about some of his experiences in the field of screwing up, so Dick recounts the story of the Animated Series episode “The Fear of Victory” (which I’m not going to summarize, just go watch it). But here’s the thing… Dick actually didn’t screw up in the end, which doesn’t make Terry feel any better, so Dick just tells him to be glad he’s not old.

Elsewhere, the hooded lady from before reports to her master, telling him the hostages are locked up and asks about their device. The woman’s master says the devices need modifications, but can be the weapons they need to show Gotham what he’s truly become… Who’s he? Well, old ass Kirk Langstrom, Man-Bat, just with a beard this time.

The next morning, Terry wakes up real late for class, only to get kicked out once he finally shows up. Before he leaves, he spots a familiar face in the crowd, Melanie Walker, aka Ten from the Roy Flush Gang. After class gets out, Melanie finds Terry and the two catch up a bit. Terry is a bit skeptical of Melanie, who assures him she’s no longer part of the “family,” but Terry reminds her that she’s burned him twice before, which causes her to somewhat angrily leave.

At the GCPD headquarters, Langstrom visits his old friend Barbara, to let her know he has hostages, weapons and demands. He wants three pounds of kanium or he turns the weapon on Gotham.

That night, Terry is on the phone with his roommate, talking about GIRL STUFF. Speaking of girl stuff, Terry sees Melanie walking alone down a back alley, and of course, because this is Gotham, so thugs show up and attack her. Melanie holds her own, but Terry eventually drops in for the final blow, which she doesn’t appreciate. She also doesn’t appreciate Terry wondering how she’s still so good at fighting and tells him to leave her alone for good. Conveniently enough, Terry gets a call from Dick to meet at his loft, so Terry grants Melanie’s wish.

At the loft, Dick and Barbara tell Terry about the Man-Bat situation, and tell him the plan to stop it. The only problem is due to Langstrom’s abilities and all sorts of other sonic related concerns, radios are off the table, and Terry is going to need to go in with an expert. Terry thinks they’re telling him he needs to convince someone like Shriek to work with him… Not quite. They need someone who is familiar with Langstrom, someone with a history… Like Batman! Er… Old Batman. Bruce. They guy no one is talking to. Yet, there he is. Dramaaaaa.


The Good:

You know what the quickest way to a fan of the show's heart is? Call backs to the show, and beyond. Loved the Fear of Victory reference as well as bringing Melanie back, who was a favorite of mine, sorry Dana. The return of Man-Bat was also pretty unexpected, but great none the less. I feel like the Man-Bat serum showed up in the show once, but not Man-Bat... I may be wrong, but anyways, the sort of "Beyond-ifying" of an old character is always fun. Finally, given the current status quo, quite a cliffhanger to end on.

The Bad:

Not actually a "bad" thing, but I found the use of kanium as a plot point in here, as well as this month's Nightwing to be a bit odd. 

Also, there was a change of colorists, Emilo Lopez replaces Andrew Elder, and does a fine job, but I liked Elder's use of that sort of grungy future neon color scheme. Lopez still does a good job recreating the feel of the show, just with somewhat more of a bolder color set. Again, this isn't really "bad," just my point of view on it all.

The Bottom Line:

These two chapters hit the perfect mix of new meets old, with a dash of fan service on the side. Where past volumes of Batman Beyond would do things like bring in established comic continuity, like Hush or Batman Incorporated, I really, really didn't like that... but here, Kyle Higgins does it right by bringing in continuity from the source material itself, the show. The Batman animated universe is absolutely ripe with potential, and taking advantage of that potential allows new stories to be told, with familiar characters who we may not have seen in this setting yet, all while giving fans of  of the universe a few winks and nods along the way. For a fan of the cartoon, what's not to like? 


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