By Cat Wyatt
Ever since the last issue of Batman Beyond released, I’ve pretty much been chomping at the bit for this one to come out. We left off with our hero fighting for his life against Stalker. Which is actually worse than it sounds, as there had previously been an understanding between Batman and Stalker. Additionally Stalker knows Batman’s real identity, which could prove to be the even bigger threat in this fight.
It’s also worth noting that Bruce Wayne and Matt (Terry’s brother) are watching the fight from the bat cave. I think Bruce is trying to write off the danger that Terry is in, for Matt’s sake. I know he wasn’t happy about Matt being down there in the first place, and this event is likely reinforcing that feeling.
Bruce and Matt aren’t the only ones watching the fight. It seems like everyone is tuning in to see how it turns out. Thanks to a strong media presence, this fight is being recorded and broadcast live. How kind of them (please note my sarcasm). Those watching include Barbara Gordon, Dana, and the mysterious vigilante woman we’ve been seeing. All three women seem to be more concerned about Batman than in watching the drama unfold (because they’re good people), but two of them are obviously very limited in what they can do here (come on mystery woman, I’m counting on you to step up here! Also please reveal your identity!).
While Terry has enough tricks up his sleeve to keep the fight going for now, it’s not looking good. I think Bruce agrees, since he literally tries to get out of his wheelchair at one point (remember: he just has back surgery). Granted, his emotions could be stemming from how useless he feels, as opposed to how worried he is (I’m saying that as a good thing because if he thinks Terry will be ok there’s probably a good reason for it).
I know Matt has been toying with the idea of taking up the Robin mantle, and I’m sure events like this just make him further determined (though I wouldn’t blame him if they also scare him off, I mean he’s literally seeing the worst of what can happen sometimes). I’m sure that Matt wants to make sure his brother will come home in one piece. I’m also sure he’ll be making a move for the Robin suit sooner rather than later.
Can we take a quick time out to talk about the mystery lady vigilante? I’m sure we all have our theories about her, myself included. I’m personally really invested in seeing my theory come true, as I have always shipped her and Terry (no offense Dana) and would kill to see her in the series again. So when they revealed her line of thinking for why she should go help Batman (to prove herself, and to make up for her past) and her blond hair, I pretty much fangirled all over the place.
Meanwhile the fight between Batman and Stalker is still pretty intense. It’s actually a great fight, so you may want to check it out (words don’t compare to the visuals, trust me). But then there’s a sudden twist…the guy behind it all, the one who hired Stalker (and the remaining members of the Royal Flush Gang) in the first place. Payback.
If you have an awful memory like me you probably had to sit there for a few seconds trying to remember who Payback was. His real name is Kenny Stanton, and he used (uses, apparently) his technologically advanced suit to wreak havoc on his father’s patients. You see, his dad was a psychologist, and Kenny was jealous of all the attention he focused on those kids instead of his own. I’m not saying Kenny was in the right, but the fact that his father (again, child psychologist) didn’t pick up on the warning signs for Kenny’s behavior speaks volumes for how little attention he was actually getting.
Anyway, while I remember all of that about Payback, I can’t really fathom why he’d still be holding a grudge against Batman. I mean, hasn’t it been long enough? Oh wait, that’s right. It’s Gotham, no villain can drop any grudge, ever. I can’t say how a fair fight between Batman and Payback would go, but it’s worth remembering that Terry just had a pretty epic fight against Stalker (whom he now has to save, mind you) so he’s probably wiped out. Not my idea of a fair fight.
It’s around this point our lady vigilante arrives, and her identity is finally (finally!) confirmed. I won’t ruin the reveal for you, but I will say that I squealed so loudly my husband came running to see what was wrong with me (I wish I was kidding). Talk about a fantastic reveal and ending to the issue. I can’t wait for the next one.
This has been an interesting plot so far. I’m not going to pretend that my favorite part hasn’t been the lady vigilante (still calling her that for the sake of spoilers), though it does have a lot of other great things going on as well. I love Matt’s character steadily building up towards becoming Robin, and how they’re showing how conflicted and useless Bruce feels. I love the former because it really fits with the trend for Batman, and the latter because it’s probably the most human I’ve ever seen Bruce act.
I loved the artwork for this issue. The fight scenes were outstanding, especially with the fire in the background for dramatic lighting and shading. The clever ways they hid the lady vigilante’s identity was well done, though at the time the obfuscation frustrated me (as intended).
Batman Beyond #17