The Royal Flush gang, a mysterious hooded figure and a enemy from the past are all out to get Batman.
From the DC synopsis:
“The Long Payback” part two! The Royal Flush gang continues to deal Batman a deadly hand, but Terry soon discovers they’re not the only ones after him. Someone behind the scenes is coordinating an attack of Batman’s greatest villains against him, forcing Batman to overcome multiple threats if he has any hope of discovering who’s pulling the strings and manipulating Neo-Gotham’s underworld against him.
What’s the skinny?
Picking up from last issue’s awesome cliffhanger we find Terry escaping a repeat of Bane-esque back breaking history. After easily dispatching the Royal Flush gang, thanks to a new and improved Bat-suit, he’s off to take his lady friend out to dinner.
Meanwhile Terry’s little brother Matt is secretly working on becoming the next Robin, by training himself with the help of Bruce’s video archives from his days of training Damian. An intruder to Wayne Manor interrupts Matt’s training and oddly enough all the thief takes is a picture of Terry.
The same hooded mysterious individual that hired the Royal Flush Gang has reappeared and with them is a mercenary from Terry’s past that’s been hired to draw Batman out into the open: Stalker! The ultimate hunter of man and animals has set his sights on Batman and his girlfriend Dana is the unfortunate bait.
What’s the catch?
If Matt McGinnis doesn’t stop saying “schway” then I may just have to stop reading this comic. I get it, kids use slang and want to feel cool. But the dialogue doesn’t need Matt using this word in every other sentence. It’s not cute or endearing, it’s just plain obnoxious.
Speaking of Matt I can’t understand Bruce’s decision to send a young teenager to investigate an intruder breaking into his house. Any adult would know that’s a terrible idea, let alone Batman. If someone is breaking into Wayne Manor, they typically aren’t your run of the mill thief. What is an untrained 13 year old going to do about it?
We aren’t done with Matt and Bruce just yet folks. Young Matt is training himself to be the next Robin. That’s right… we’re getting Robin Beyond. If you couldn’t tell, this doesn’t excite me much. Matt feels too young to become Robin, doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and just doesn’t exude a single quality that you’d look for in a masked vigilante. We’re supposed to believe that Terry’s younger brother has somehow broken into Bruce’s computer archives and is training himself in the Bat-Cave without the man himself knowing about it? Come on.
We’re almost done with my long list of gripes. Last but not least is the Bat-Suit. The modifications Bruce has made to the Bat-Suit make it bulletproof; okay, that’s fine, that’s been a thing for years. It’s a bit of a stretch that this makes Terry have no issue with a gigantic robot bending him over its knees, but I can let this one slide. What really irks me about the Bat-Suit here is that Terry is incapacitated by a laser blast from Jack to his back, but later deflects the same exact blast with his wings. Fast forward to the later half of the issue and Stalker fires at the wings and easily cuts them to ribbons. The lack of consistency with the suits’ abilities really irked me.
Is it good?
Phil Hester’s art is good and consistent across the board, but it isn’t very exciting. My biggest issue stems from the editor’s choice to allow for so much white space to be used around the panels. All this white feels so out of place in a Batman book. Everything about the character screams dark colors and dark places. Having bright white backgrounds surrounding all the panels doesn’t do anyone on the creative team any favors in setting the right tone.
After last week’s epic cliffhanger I was expecting so much more from Dan Jurgens. If you want to sell fans on a new Robin in the Batman Beyond universe, you probably shouldn’t make the character wildly obnoxious and woefully lacking the proper skills. Everything about Matt’s involvement in this issue feels off and it’s really difficult to suspend my belief when it comes to Bruce being unaware of his training habits.
With all the moving pieces here you’d think this issue would be an exciting read but it’s quite the opposite. There’s so many inconsistencies with the characters that I found myself spending more time picking it apart than actually enjoying the story itself.