By Cat Wyatt
Issue 16 of Batman Beyond was kind enough to pick up exactly where 15 had left off; with Stalker and Terry battling it out in the air (and remember, poor Dana has been taken along for the ride). I understand why Stalker is doing this, despite his agreement with Terry (his people are starving, what choice did he really have?) but I still feel like there would have been another way around this. Anyway, the fact that he knows Terry is Batman is pretty damn scary, as is the fact that he obviously knows that Dana is his weakness. This doesn’t bode well for our Batman.
I can only imagine that an aerial battle such as this would take skill (for both opponents), but add in the complication of trying to protect somebody, while actively falling? I’m impressed Terry was able to save Dana (and bonus, he didn’t have to sacrifice himself to do it). I’ll confess I’m not a big fan of the Terry/Dana ship, but even trying to like Dana more I have trouble finding her exasperation at being left on a building (on the middle of a freaken fight) a bit much. Isn’t it pretty obvious that Terry is dealing with some very limited options? How about we give the poor guy a break – he’s the one that has to go back into that flying fight.
I’m not going to describe the fight blow by blow – it’s much more satisfying to read/look at, trust me. I’d actually argue it’s one of the better fights I’ve seen in this series, which is saying something. I’ll be curious to see if Bruce makes any adjustments to the new suit, after having witnessed this fight. Knowing him, he’s got plenty of fresh ideas.
Meanwhile, there’s another mystery unraveling that Terry is a little too busy to notice. There’s a new vigilante in town (or at least, that’s what I’m assuming?). We don’t know much about her (and by we I mean Barbara Gordon and Bruce Wayne), other than that she’s acting much like I’d expect a Batgirl in the early days to act (catching bad guys on her own, going more for stealth than muscle, etc.), except for one thing she obviously isn’t (Barbara would know), and she isn’t wearing any form of bat insignia. Though she certainly is interested in Batman…and Terry. The fact that she knows about him, but not the other way around is more than a little bit alarming. Who could know his secret? Who’s capable of becoming a vigilante like her? Based on the timing, I think we can safely rule out Dana (she was midair during these events, after all). However, Max was nowhere to be seen, so possibly her? Though she wouldn’t have a need to steal a photo of Terry. So maybe somebody that also has a personal connection to him, but has lost touch? Maybe somebody like Melanie? Is that wishful thinking on my part? Probably the latter. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to keep reading to find out.
And let’s not ignore the possibility that the two people after Terry/Batman (albeit for totally different reasons, at least in appearance) could be working together, or even one in the same (ok, that bit isn’t as likely, since we’ve seen the silhouette of both). It seems like a pretty big coincidence, having these two people that are completely obsessed with Batman right at the same moment. Then again, he’s Batman, so who knows.
This was a pretty good read on the whole – most of it was the fight between Stalker and Batman, but seeing that it was a fantastic fight, I’m not going to complain. I do like that they took some time to continue building things up, even while mid-action scene (such as having Barbara trying to investigate the girl). It should help keep the story moving at a good pace, which is what I prefer. I hope this ends up being a longer storyline, I’d really like something to sink my teeth into here.
I’ve said this already, but the fight was amazing, and I have to give most (if not all) of the credit to the artists for that. The scenes were laid out perfectly, and the choice in colors really helped to compliment the events occurring (especially the fire). I would have been perfectly content to see more of it, had they chosen to extend the fight by another page or two, but hey, I’m greedy like that. I’m still in love with the suit design too, which helps. It’s sleeker than previous Batman designs (and by that I mean the Bruce Wayne era), but considering Terry’s build it really works well for him. I’ve been seeing the base design of it for years, and I still can’t get over it. I’m so happy they haven’t shifted away from it; here’s hoping it sticks around for a while.
Batman Beyond #16