Saturday, March 15, 2014

SPOILERS: Batman Beyond 2.0, Chapters #15 & 16

Note: "The Bat Men" finishes up in Chapter #15, followed by a one-shot story in #16.

So, Langstrom's bomb is about to go off, but if he detonates the thing before the timer that counts down, which I'm assuming would use the sonic tech he had stolen to in order to amplify the blast, the blast would be contained to the building he and Bruce are on, and Langstrom feels like a bit of martyrdom after last issue's self-pity.

Of course, Terry doesn't stand for this, and flies into the sonic shield looking thing that's covering the tower, and starts to wail on Langstrom, calling him a coward who just wants to go out with a bang because he doesn't like what he's become. Bruce holds Terry back and tells him that Langstrom has made his decision. Before Terry flies Bruce out of the blast range, Langstrom tells his old friend to do better with his second chance. Once both Bruce and Terry are out of range, Langstrom detonates the bomb, with one second left, keeping the blast to just the building itself.

After all is said and done, Bruce thanks Terry for everything, and they go their separate ways again. Sometime later, when Terry has met up with Dick again, Terry brings up the fact that Dick didn't tell him the hearing aids came from Bruce. But knowing how Bruce works, Terry figures the old man brought it up so he and Dick would actually have the conversation, and if there's one thing he's learned from the Man-Bat stuff, it's all about second chances... SPEAKING OF SECOND CHANCES. Terry finds Melanie in the restaurant she's working at and asks if she's willing to still talk to him over some coffee.

In the second story, Dick and Barbara meet at a restaurant (the same one Melanie works at) to have a long overdue talk. There's some unresolved tension between the two, as we learn that at one point Dick was ready to propose to Barbara, but that didn't happen, and she ended up marrying Sam Young.

The two haven't really been that close since, Barbara feels like every time Dick looks at her, he thinks she ruined his life, and she's starting to believe that maybe she did. Barbara hands Dick the batarang he was going to use to propose (which is what he gave her early on in their career as Batgirl and Robin, and ended up giving to her again on her wedding day).

Everything is sort of tense and awkward, both wondering where this leaves them. They'd like to be friends again, as both of them miss it, but everything is just sort of complicated. With that, Dick decides to break the batarang in two, and gives Barbara half of it. Later, Terry comes back after a night of patrol and asks how it went, to which Dick says amazing/terrible, but he doesn't need to talk about it, as if anything, they seemed to put a few things to rest at the very least.


The Good:

Both stories presented in these two chapters were very strong. The Bat Men story ended on a note that, while you could have seen it coming, it was fitting. I can appreciate a finite story that isn't meant to be an ongoing conflict. Bringing back Kirk Langstrom was a decision that was clearly meant to tell a story that had more to do with Bruce than Terry. Sure, Terry gets something out of it, but I wasn't expecting Langstom to be a new rogue for Terry, that said, a sort of Man-Bat Beyond is left for Terry, with Tey. She doesn't know what went down in the tower, other than Bruce wayne is still alive, so Terry rescued him instead of Kirk, so she could probably hold a grudge. Boom! New villain created. 

Then the second story, well, that addressed some very long standing weirdness between Dick and Barbara... Things definitely got weird between those two, which some story beats in the show that I'm not sure any fan supported. Anyways, without acknowledging certain weirdness, it made for a good read to see the lingering tension between the two addressed. It's still a little hazy where things are left, but this was a story that needed to be told, and I'm glad it did. Also, Eric Wright filled in on the art for this one, and like Thony Silas, he does a great job of emulating to look and feel of the show, complimented by Emilio Lopez's colors.

The Bad: 

There wasn't really anything more I wanted out of these two stories.

The Bottom Line:

Both these stories have proven that this title can be more than just the continuing adventures of Terry McGinnis. I like Terry McGinnis, I do, but it's really fun to see the spotlight focus on other characters in this universe. My problem with past Batman Beyond books had been that they just didn't really utilize the setting, yeah... new stories with Terry, cool. But the Beyond setting is so fertile with potential, and the books just didn't really do a whole lot with it. These two stories focusing on Bruce's past, as well as bringing Dick Grayson back into the fold, and addressing those lingering questions, really makes this book feel like it's something more than just "Oh look, new Terry McGinnis" stories, and that's what I appreciate about this title.


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