I want to focus on the writing of this issue to start, specifically the pacing. The issue is 32 pages long and I read through so fast if felt more like 16. Adam Beechen (Batman: The Brave and the Bold) opens the series in Neo-Gotham, location Cadmus Labs at the site of a double murder. Artist Ryan Benjamin (BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS) really captures the future of Gotham, filled with all the dirt, grime and hopelessness.
At Cadmus we join Amanda Waller in the after math of an apparent prisoner escape/bloody grisly crime scene. Beechen and Benjamin don’t give away any hint as to the identity of the escaped prisoner, until the next page where the escapee attacks and Neo-Gothamite and looks skyward to catch a brief glimpse of the Batman fighting on the rooftops, the escapee is not happy.
Benjamin’s action sequence on the following pages shows Batman fighting an old foe, Spellbinder. If you are not familiar with the Batman Beyond series, Spellbinder is a master hypnotist cable of creating very real and dangerous illusions. The creative team, thankfully, did not change the design of the Batman Beyond Batsuit, so we have a very lean athletic Batman of the future. Beechen also does a great job capturing the relationship between Bruce Wayne (now a very old man, but the puppet master to Terry’s Batman) and Terry McGinnis. If you did not watch the Justice League Unlimited cartoon, I suggest checking out the episode titled Epilogue to learn more about Bruce and Terry’s relationship.
So Terry stops Spellbinder and leaves him to the police of Neo-Gotham, only to encounter Micron, of this era’s Justice League. Micron is there to once again offer Terry membership to the Justice League, which Terry turns down, much to Bruce’s pleasure. To get more insight as to Terry’s relationship to his generation’s Justice League, check out the Justice League Unlimited episode arch (The Call Parts 1&2) from the Batman Beyond cartoon.
Ok, enough rambling, Terry and Bruce start and investigation when one of Bruce’s old foe’s is violently murdered and there is a break in at the mental hospital housing The Mad Hatter, Jarvis Tetch. Bruce assumes he is sending Terry on the trail of an aged and old Two-Face, because the escapee from Cadmus Labs is foe from the Batman’s past following the specific patterns of two. Bruce is wrong, and Terry has a very violent, very “quite” rogue from Bruce Wayne’s past on his hands. Will history repeat itself in Neo-Gotham? I can’t wait to get part 2 of 6 in the Batman Beyond mini-series next month.