After a span of uncertainty, Terry has fully embraced his role of Batman and has returned to Neo-Gotham with new determination. Unfortunately he’s not the only superpower back in town that’s determined.
“FAMILY BUSINESS” part one! Following the events of “Rise of the Demon,” Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne return to Neo-Gotham. Terry dons a brand-new Batsuit, but before he can even get his bearings, the return of a familiar foe may spoil his homecoming before it even begins.
What’s the skinny?
After nearly being killed by Damian Wayne aka the Head of the Demon, Terry’s back in Neo-Gotham with a renewed sense of purpose in his role as Batman. There’s no doubt left in our young hero’s mind that Batman isn’t a job, it’s who he is; who he wants to be. But before Terry can jump back into the role of masked vigilante, there are a few pressing matters to tend to.
First and foremost the insidious, take-no-prisoners, victory-or-death Bat-suit A.I. has got to go. We can’t have the Bat-suit flying Terry off to the Himalayas on a suicide mission again. While Bruce is tinkering on a new Bat-suit, Terry is paying a visit to his pseudo-girlfriend Dana Tan to shore up their fragile relationship.
It appears that there’s more than one member of the McGinnis family with an interest in masked vigilantism. Terry’s younger brother Matt has been asking Bruce about the history of Robin and sneaking some looks at old Robin equipment and training materials. But before Matt can dive into Robin’s past, the Bat-signal’s activated, which in turn tears Terry away from his time with Dana.
The Royal Flush gang is back, working for a shadowy figure who wants Batman drawn out into the open. In addition to the contract, the gang has a big chip on their soldier and is desperate to restore their former reputation as one of the most notorious gangs in Neo-Gotham.
What’s the catch?
This is a solid introduction to a new story arc and my issues are minor gripes at best. In the art department the Bat-drone looked like an iPad attached to a drone you’d grab from Toys ‘R’ Us and Hester’s decision making with regards to drawing actual eyeballs irks me.
It’s not exactly hard to get Batman’s attention in Neo-Gotham. All the old classics work — take some hostage or blow something up! So why is this mysterious figure working through the Royal Flush gang?
Is it good?
Industry veteran Phil Hester is bringing Neo-Gotham and Batman to life in the art department. After Bernard Chang’s incredible run on the series, there are big expectations from fans (myself included). Thankfully this isn’t Hester’s first encounter with Terry McGinnis as he previously drew the hero in Batman Beyond Universe with the writing team of Alec Siegel and Kyle Higgins. Hester’s experience and style make for a solid fit, as I’m fondly reminded of Mike Mignola and the Batman Beyond animated series. While it may not be very exciting, the use of sharp angular lines and heavy shadowing is a style I welcome in a Batman story.
The pace was pretty slow for most of the issue. Jurgens took the time to address important story devices from the last arc, specifically the aftermath of the rogue Bat-suit A.I. and Bruce’s fight with Koru. With Terry and Matt moving in with Bruce it feels like we’re starting to move towards a genuine Bat-family — add Matt’s fascination with Robin and I can say I’m almost certain it’s going to happen. My favorite part of the issue though was the confrontation between Batman and the Royal Flush Gang. To say the results of this fight blindsided me is an understatement. It was so completely unexpected and I have to compliment Jurgens for lulling me into a false sense of where the book was headed.
There’s a new Bat-family on the horizon, a new masked vigilante in Neo-Gotham and Batman is quite possibly out of the game. Hat’s off to Jurgens for a great start to a new arc. This one’s worth picking up.