Here we go, my first book review…….well kind of!!
For those of you who don’t read comics, DC comics relaunched their comic series with the DC Universe: Rebirth. This is where it gets confusing, even for me who is a veteran when it comes to reading and understanding comic books. Rebirth is not a reboot as people previously thought, instead it is a continuation of the New 52 which launched back in 2011 which was a reboot of all the character’s individual comic series. So all the things that happened in New 52 is cannon and still happened. To sum up, DC Rebirth launches from the way the New 52 came to an end and it feels like the DC universe is in a version similar to the events of Flashpoint which is pretty cool. It does include continuity from the New 52 but these are stories that haven’t been told for and I think it was a way for the smaller titles to attract more attention.
The one title in the DC Rebirth launch I have been eagerly anticipating is the Batman Beyond series, as a kid that was probably my favourite DC cartoon as I thought the idea of a future Batman was so rad. It featured a much older Bruce Wayne who was retired from the mantle of Batman and a much younger character took up the mantle of Batman Beyond, protecting Neo-Gotham and it was brilliant. I didn’t keep up to date with the New 52 Batman Beyond as I couldn’t keep up with all the different titles so I’m not exactly sure how the new 52 series ended. So going into the first volume of Batman Beyond Rebirth, titled “Escaping the Grave”, it did feel like I was reading this series for the first time so I was pretty excited to get stuck into it!
WARNING MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR BATMAN BEYOND: REBIRTH VOLUME 1 – ESCAPING THE GRAVE!!! IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE GRAPHIC NOVEL YET THEN DO NOT VENTURE BEYOND THIS POINT!!!!
Still here? Well I assume you have read the first issue of Batman Beyond: Rebirth, if you haven’t….you have been given warning so let’s dive into it shall we?
As I mentioned earlier, this is the first six issues in the DC Universe: Rebirth featuring our first look at Terry McGinnis as Batman Beyond. The impression I got from the first few pages is that it felt like I was reading the comic version of the show as it seems to have retained the same tone from the animated series which was already a plus in my books. It does seem to link the continuity from the show, the animated movie and the New 52 series really well.
The main concept for the story is that there have been rumours and whispers travelling around Gotham City that the original Joker has returned and is back from the dead. In the city, a whole zone has been marked off and claimed by the Jokerz who have made their own little community and have gone as far to call it Jokerztown. The guy in charge of this crazy group is a new character called Terminal and he seems to be out for Batman’s blood. The Batman Beyond series is written by Dan Jurgens and is teamed up with artist Bernard Change for Batman Beyond Vol 1: Escaping the Grave! This graphic novel features issues #1-6 and issue #1 of Batman Beyond: Rebirth. The one thing I really liked about the comic is that is does well in sticking to the history of the character set up in the New 52 and from the cartoon series, but it is also building towards the future for the character as well. I already have become a fan of Rebirth as the series I have read so far seem to have a lot of innovation and original stories featuring some of the most beloved and iconic superheroes ever to grace the comic book, not to mention I am a little bias towards DC as I think they have some of the best writers out there.
I’m not sure what happened in the conclusion of the New 52 Batman Beyond series, bit it seems like Terry went missing at the hands of Spellbinder and was gone for what seems like a long time. As I was reading it I was thinking that the core concept of the story was pretty rad as it shows how the other characters have been dealing with the supposed death of Terry, as well as the massive blow of Batman being gone to protect Gotham. It does show some flashbacks of a war that appeared to have broken out prior to the current events in the story, even showing Bruce Wayne in the fight commanding a group of soldiers himself which was cool to see the OG Batman still in the game.
The overall tone of the comic just really reminds me of the animated series while keeping the origins of the New 52 true and still continuing to develop this well developed characters. I like how the writer has made Terry’s reappearance so impactful on the other characters and it really does change the pace of the narrative when character’s like Dan, Max and his brother Matt discover that he is still alive. We also get a look at Bruce Wayne in the comic, who too was presumed dead but his role in the story is of great significance but I don’t want to give that away, as that’s nothing you’ll have to find out from reading the book.
The art in the comic is just fantastic and I really love the design for the Batman suit as it does have some slight changes, like the cowl which I think looks awesome and just looks amazing on paper. The action scenes in the comic are so well drawn and the use of vibrant colours and shading really help to capture the essence of Batman Beyond! I steamed through the comic last night, I could not put it down and part of me wishes I spaced it out but damn I was so into it.
Overall, I am very impressed with DC Universe Rebirth: Batman Beyond Vol. 1 – Escaping the Grave and think that it has kicked off the relaunch of Terry’s adventures to a brilliant start. The creative team on this series have captured the essence and tone of what Batman Beyond is, making it feel like something straight from the animated series. I am very impressed with these first six issues and I am very excited to see what will happen in the next graphic novel. I personally think that the idea of the original Joker floating about is going to have such an impact on the story, with the possibility of characters from Bruce’s past resurfacing. This would be really cool to see how Terry will deal with these new threats, as well as trying to rebuild his life after being absent for so long.
To round off this review, I think that this series has captured the elements from the animated series that I loved as a kid and I do think that it is opening the door to take Batman Beyond to a much darker place than the New 52. It is the newest chapter for Terry McGinnis in the DC Universe and think that he is going to become a much stronger Batman as he builds on his already established legacy.
If there are any titles in the DC Universe: Rebirth you guys think I should check out, feel free to comment below and I will have a look!