The final issue of Batman Beyond is here (until they reboot it with a Rebirth title at the end of the month), which means an epilogue is in order! Is it good?
Batman Beyond #16 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official DC summary reads:
With the threat of Spellbinder behind them, Tim Drake and Terry McGinnis face an uncertain future. It’s time to rebuild New Gotham, but who will wear the mantle of the city’s defender? This is the biggest turning point in the series to date and sets the stage for BATMAN BEYOND: REBIRTH #1, also solicited this month.
Why does this book matter?
Writer Dan Jurgens has quite a conundrum on his hands as the original Batman Beyond Terry McGinnis doesn’t know who he is and is ready to break the neck of Tim Drake. To make things even more complex, Drake is the version from the main DCU (I think), and Terry’s little brother is getting involved with the Bat-life. Seriously, what draws kids into the Batman fold?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I like Alfred as a robot.
As an epilogue issue this comic successfully pulls off the wrap up with the bad guy, reintroduces Terry as well and cleans up the ending for Tim Drake. In my previous review I mentioned one of the biggest mistakes was how quickly the issue ended after feeling so drawn out and padded throughout; it’s clear Jurgens was saving everything for this issue which makes it feel like the last half of a finale issue more than a full conclusion. That said, Batman Beyond #16 succeeds in cleaning house and wrapping things up.
The art by Stephen Thompson with colors by Lisa Jackson deliver a detailed look that at times reminded me of Frank Quitely’s work. The Bat Plane in particular looked sharp with its techno insides and Spellbinder has a cool wavy line and subtle eye outline that gives him a creepy look. I’ve really dug Thompson’s pencils on Satellite Falling and his work continues to look good here. It’s too bad the script didn’t call for more science fiction environments as that’s one of his strengths, but the visions of spellbinder look monstrous and well composed.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Plot wise things fall too easily in place to make this a home run of an issue. Spellbinder basically loses because his weapon is distracted. Then we’re given a sequence of dialogue between the characters that roughly translates to, “You’re Batman now because I don’t belong,” but runs for way too long given the content. The idea of Tim Drake living in the future and discovering elements of the future yet to be discovered is tantalizing but the book concludes with an inexplicable event that doesn’t work as there’s no explanation or clue as to what just happened. Basically Batman Beyond #16 leaves you with a conclusion, but not the most well composed one.
While I dug the art, there are panels that look a bit rushed. The pencil can still be seen here giving things an unclean look. It’s a minor quibble, but something that’s noticeable.
Chiropractors in the future are different.
Is It Good?
As a straight conclusion/epilogue Batman Beyond #16 will satiate fans desperately awaiting the end. Could it have been easily wrapped up last month? Yeah, probably, which makes this issue a decompressed, so-so experience.