What does intimate knowledge of the prototype Bat-suit, growing up under Bruce Wayne and tutelage from Ra’s al Ghul get you? The ultimate adversary and perfect opponent for Batman in the form of Damian Wayne!
“RISE OF THE DEMON” part five! Just as Bruce Wayne had feared, the experimental new Bat-suit has altered Terry’s mental state and turned him into a colder, deadlier Batman. Trapped in the lair of Ra’s al Ghul and surrounded by the League of Assassins, the suit may be the only thing that allows Terry and Bruce to survive. But at what price?
What’s the skinny?
Having handedly defeated Terry and the prototype Bat-suit, Damian stands poised to deliver the killing blow as Bruce watches on in horror. Get ready for more flashbacks as they once again have a heavy presence. I greatly enjoyed these sequences as they painted a picture of Damian’s youth and later years spent with Ra’s al Ghul. The flashbacks were used well alongside pieces from existing DC canon and new elements we’re unfamiliar with.
Damian’s trap and subwoofer-like kryptonite aren’t the only surprises he has in store for Terry “The Pretender” McGinnis. Get ready to be blindsided by a piece of Robin lore than most fans may not even be aware of.
What’s the catch?
While the prototype Bat-suit gives Terry enhanced strength, agility and stamina, the tradeoff is it also influences his mind and at times completely takes over. We’ve been aware of this since its introduction to the story and each issue in the arc has further built upon that, thus leading the reader to believe that the prototype suit is a serious danger and will have a dire consequence attached to its use. This issue is rather lacking on material that expands upon this pillar of the story. A new reader would have no idea that there’s anything out of the ordinary with Batman and his suit.
Is it good?
I wish I could say more about Bernard Chang here but I can’t without spoiling a key story point. I’ll just say that he does a fantastic job (as usual), but I specifically enjoyed his portrayal of a new character not yet seen in Batman Beyond.
Despite Terry’s all-out best effort to defeat Damian, he never appears to pose any real threat. Through a combination of Bruce’s narrative and the ease in which Damian dismantles Terry’s attacks, you can expect readers to have two possible major takeaways. Either Damian Wayne has become one of the strongest super villains in the DC Universe or Terry McGinnis has got a long way to go before he’s worthy of the mantle of Batman. Both possibilities excite me as I’d love to watch Terry push himself to the brink in an effort to reinvent himself as a better Batman. And on the other side of the coin, who doesn’t love a superhero-turned-super-villain story?
The three key elements this story arc has been built upon are Terry’s use of the prototype Bat-suit, the League of Assassins and Bruce’s relationship to his real and foster son. A triangle relies on all three sides to maintain its shape. Should one of those sides be removed, it will fall apart. Terry took a backseat to Damian and Bruce in this issue and of course I understand that’s not inherently a bad thing. The main character can’t always stand in the spotlight, otherwise this would become boring and the supporting characters would never develop to a point of having real impact on the story. That being said, the story is at a point where Terry needs to climb back into the spotlight and show everyone why he’s worthy of being Batman. I sincerely hope Dan Jurgens provides him with a good map to get there.