By Cat Wyatt
Something has been brewing for a while now in the Batman Beyond universe, and issue #21 gives us a slightly better idea of what has been going on. In the last issue, it was revealed that Terry is having more relationship issues with Dana, though at least this time it’s sort of on him… The last issue also had Matt’s first official introduction as Robin, which he royally botched. This issue should give us a better idea of how both of those situations are going, as well as the whole hallucinating Batman as an evil monster thing.
The issue starts off in the future. And by that, of course, we mean the normal setting for Batman Beyond. A girl wakes up, alone in her room. Her memory is jarred, but she knows one thing. The Bat Monster tried to kill her. It’ll be interesting to see where that one leads…
Meanwhile, Terry is still doing his thing, patrolling the streets in his new Batsuit. It's working well so far, hasn’t tried to take control of him or anything, which is a plus. People still seem scared of him though, which is weird. It’s not all that odd that the Jokerz are scared of him and trying to take him out. That’s only slightly crazier than their normal levels. Risking hitting their pals to get him though? That isn’t normal. They’re terrified of him – so much so that they don’t give a damn who they hurt while ‘protecting themselves.’ Is somebody masquerading around in a suit that looks like his maybe? Or perhaps the suit is malfunctioning?
Back at Wayne Manor Matt is making it well known that he’s not happy about being benched. To be fair, Terry didn’t give Matt a full chance. Sure, Matt goofed up and didn’t follow orders, the one thing he was told never to hesitate on. But how well did Terry follow Wayne’s orders in the beginning? There has to be a learning curve here, and Terry is likely letting his concern for Matt get in the way here. Not that anyone can blame him for that.
Still, if anyone can get Terry to calm down and give Matt another chance, it’s Bruce. So Matt would be better off keeping a cool head around the guy and getting him on his side – something we already know to be the case anyway. Bruce’s bigger concern seems to be on Terry, or more accurately, on Batman. That statement certainly raises the concern that there is something bigger going on here. Still unsure if it’s the suit or an imposter…
Meanwhile wonderful lovely Melanie – totally no bias here, is meeting with her sponsor. And no, it isn’t what you’d expect. There’s literally a support group for ex-villains like Melanie, pretty cool actually. He’s happy that she’s made so much progress in getting the people from her past to forgive her, namely Terry. However a sudden appearance distracts them from further conversation. That girl from earlier? The one convinced that Batman was trying to kill her? She arrives seeking help…needless to say this leaves Melanie incredibly confused. Here’s hoping she can help Batman/Terry figure out what is going on, because so far everyone seems pretty clueless on the matter.
Apparently whatever is making everyone terrified of Batman is affecting Dana too. And before you ask; no this isn’t just the emotional trauma from what she saw the night before. We all know Dana – if she wasn’t being affected by whatever this is she’d be pissed, not scared. So this is in no way natural for her. Plus she calmed down a little bit once Terry took his mask off. Granted, she doesn’t stay calm for long, but it’s something.
Side note: Have you been noticing the names for everyone’s personal assistant device? Bruce’s is named Alfred, which is just so heartbreaking. And now we know the name of Dana’s – Mulan. Just a fun little thing to make note of.
As if that wasn’t enough for Terry to deal with in this issue, there’s more. There’s literally a riot occurring in the streets, with all of the focus on a giant Batman statue. Since everyone is so terrified of Batman and anything that represents him, it actually makes sense that they’d go after it. However, once again they don’t seem to care if they hurt other people in the process. As if we needed more proof that something was seriously wrong. Every little detail serves to make it clearer and clearer that they’re setting up for something major here.
This was mostly a setup issue. You can tell they’re building up for a major moment; it’s just not obvious which way it’ll go at this point. We’ve been given several pieces of the puzzle, now we just have to see how they match up. This issue did feel a little crowded, with everything that they were trying to show and tell us. However, it probably wasn’t enough information to have been worth spreading it between two issues, so this was the best compromise.
The artwork for Batman Beyond has always been clearly defined and it never changes directions of style. The futuristic look is very sci-fi but also kind of believable, in its own way. The new suit still looks awesome and seeing older versions of all the characters has been fun. The Jokerz in this issue looked particularly good – you can see the Harley influence in a couple of them as well, which surprisingly helped to enhance the effect.
Batman Beyond #21