By Ashley Gibbs
When the Batman Beyond cartoon first aired in 1999 until 2001, there was no official character who was the son of Batman. The series made a point of explaining why neither Dick nor Tim had taken up the batmantle, so the role fell to Terry. However, now we have Damian Wayne, the biological son of Bruce and Talia and the next logical question would be why didn’t he become the next Batman after Bruce was too old to handle it? Batman Beyond #9 explains this for us very well as Damian explains his story to Terry as they fight throughout the issue as well as Bruce’s own memories. It’s a good issue, even if I don’t care for the explanation given.
Previously, readers discovered that the new Ra’s Al Ghul was none other than Damian Wayne and he was out to kill Terry who he refers to as a “pretender.” As they fight and as Bruce makes his way to their location, we learn that indeed Damian was the next Batman, for a moment, but things went wrong. I didn’t like how it was blamed on the suit, the same one Terry is wearing now that has AI that, apparently, can push a person way past their limit -physically and mentally. It took agency away from the wearer, which is important seeing as Damian is a character that can go either way and blame a suit for his decision to take command of the League of Assassins seems like a cop out. However, overall I enjoyed the issue because I like the character of Damian Wayne. It was also nice to see Bruce going back out on the field, though he’s very well-aware of his age and condition he can still put up a bit of a fight.
The artwork is eye catching, to say the least. There is a lot of action and fighting, it all looks very fluid and almost made me feel like I was watching an animated show. The colors are bright, the shading is spot on, and the backgrounds have good details. It stood out to me when Bruce was climbing the snowy mountain, he’s alone, and there isn’t much around him at all. It echoed his words as he acknowledged his age and physical condition, he couldn’t just jump into action he had to take his time seemingly left behind. The panels are also well laid out framing the story being told in a good way. I’m not a fan of static panels at all; I enjoy when they use different shapes and sizes.
It’s never easy to come to terms with aging and death, and as a fan, it’s hard to see Bruce Wayne being old -and not Batman. It was a concept that took time for me to come to terms with when the show first aired and I had to learn to like Terry and Batman Beyond #9 once again drives the point home. It was also interesting to see two characters I like, Terry and Damian, battle because if you asked me to pick who should be Batman, I’m not sure how I would answer. But I am enjoying where the story takes both characters.
Batman Beyond #9
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: DC Comics