The first issue of Batman Beyond was a huge disappointment. While the world was interesting Dan Jurgens failed to hook me on Tim Drake as the new Batman. There was just something off about seeing Tim running around in the Batman Beyond costume. Still, I am willing to give this series a shot to win me over. Hopefully Batman Beyond #2 will turn things around and capture my interest in watching Tim grow in the role of Batman. Now let’s find out if that will be the case.
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colorist: Marcelo Maioli
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Before they can talk Barbara Gordon tells Tim Drake and Max Gibson they have to run away or else they will be processed. Tim thinks they should save the people being captured but Barbara says that those people are lost.
Tim comments on how she does’t sound like the Barbara he knew. Barbara says he would think differently knowing they are prisoners. Before they fully make their escape Tim looks back and catches a glimpse of people who have been brainwashed by Brother Eye.
As soon as they reach the bunker Barbara and Tim talk about what has been going on and that the reason Tim “disappeared” years ago was because he was sent to this future by Brother Eye. Barbara says that during Tim’s absence Brother Eye continued to make reshape the world and the only “safe” place is Gotham City. (Because Gotham City is the DCU and the only place allowed to exist no matter what future it is.)
Barbara then goes over how Brother Eye has captured people and brainwashed them to the point they become cyborgs under its control. Just as Tim says he can help them one of Brother Eye’s cyborgs attacks the bunker. Tim and Barbara are able to escape outside but Max gets captured in all of the chaos.
As Tim and Barbara go underground Barbara comments on how nothing ever pans out like they hope, even with word that Batman is back.
Elsewhere, in one of Brother Eye’s facilities one of the cyborgs tells a mysterious woman that a group of six have been captured and are awaiting processing. The mysterious woman orders the cyborg to move Max’s processing to the front so they can learn about the “mystery man.” (Batman)
Underground Barbara is shocked to learn that Tim has taken over as Batman after Terry McGinnis died in the past. Tim explains that his Batman suit ran out of power after fighting Superman earlier. Barbara tells Tim to relax because they now need to figure out their next step quickly since Max has been captured.
At the Brother Eye processing facility Max is trying to fight of the processing’s influence but after increasing the dosage Max projects the location of Tim and Barbara, much to Inque’s pleasure.
Back underground Barbara explains what Brother Eye does to people being processed. Her explanation is cut short as Inque drags Barbara out of the tunnel.
Inque tosses Barbara against a nearby building and knocks Tim to the ground with a powerful strike. While one of Brother Eye’s cyborgs attacks Tim, Inque begins to torture Barbara. Tim is able to evade its attacks and climbs on top of it. Tim is able to find the cyborgs power source and uses it to power his Batman suit.
Tim quickly puts the Batman suit on and saves Barbara from Inque’s torture. Even with his suit back Batman is unable to land a hit on Inque. Barbara mentions Terry having success with water in previous fights with Inque. Batman tries to use that trick but Inque was ready for it and easily dodges the water cannon. Inque is then able to use her powers to get behind Batman and knocks both he and Barbara out.
With Batman and Barbara knocked out Max appears with a brainwashed smile and repeatedly saying”The Lodge Is Home.”
Brother Eye then contacts Inque and orders her to bring Batman in to begin his processing. End of issue.
The Good: Batman Beyond #2 does a much better job than its predecessor in setting up the world that Tim Drake finds himself in. There was a sense of clarity in the story’s direction this time around, something not present in the first issue. At the same time there were still some problems that continued to persist from the previous issue.
The one thing that this issue nailed was the whole man out of time angle for Tim Drake. This is something the first issue failed at getting across to the reader. With Tim being one of three new people running around as a Batman this man out of time angle is key to set him apart. It’s something that gives Tim a chance to grow differently in the role of Batman from how Jim Gordon and Earth-2 Dick Grayson are progressing.
Batman Beyond #2 was able to effectively do this by using a character like Barbara Gordon to get this across in a way that wasn’t in our face. Dan Jurgens use of Barbara gave this issue a veteran presence that Tim will need as he makes his way through this future version of the DCU. Seeing how Barbara acted as a reality check for Tim was a good way to get Tim away from just focusing on his problems and further open his eyes to the conflict with Brother Eye.
It’s also through this interaction with Barbara that Tim can differentiate himself from Terry McGinnis. Even as this version of Barbara is much more harden from the version we are seeing in the current DCU she is still different from how Bruce was with Terry. The difference between the older version of Barbara and Bruce will help keep Tim from just becoming another Terry clone.
Jurgens use of Inque in this issue was also well done. Inque was one of my favorite Batman Beyond villains and I enjoyed seeing how the spirit of the character was carried on in this version. I especially liked the little fact that Inque is not under Brother Eye’s complete control like so many other. Instead she is working as a mercenary who with Brother Eye through her choice. By doing this Jurgens is able to set up a greater idea of how Brother Eye works and other possible Batman Beyond villains working independently in his post-apocalyptic DCU.
Bernado Chang does a solid job getting across the post-apocalyptic setting that Tim Drake has found himself in. The world feels hopeless as Brother Eye has completely taken over. The way Chang drew the people brainwashed by Brother Eye was equally creepy. And while Chang did make this future DCU look different he was able to keep characters like Max and Barbara design easily recognizable in how they looked in the Batman Beyond cartoon.
The Bad: The one thing that continues to hinder this series is Tim Drake himself. While I am interested in the world and characters around him Tim is not very interesting. A lot of this comes down to the average dialogue that Jurgens gives Tim. Nothing about the way Tim is being presented feels unique. Instead it feels like all the dialogue Tim is given could easily have been given to Terry or another one of the Robins that would fill the Batman Beyond role.
This is a big problem, especially when you consider Jim Gordon and Dick Grayson as Batman right now as well. On top of that we already have a younger version of Tim Drake leading the Teen Titans in that series. With these two factors in mind it is important that Tim is developed to have a personality beyond the basic hero traits. Jurgens needs to start playing up the fact that Tim is a detective and allow him to use his brains to actually figure things out instead of accidentally coming across a solution.
It will also be integral that while uses these aspects of Tim’s character that Jurgens plays up the fact that this is a Tim closer to his 30s than barely breaking puberty. There has to be a sense of maturity when Tim talks because right now he is just sounding like a confused version of the character ongoing Teen Titans series.
Overall: Batman Beyond #2 was a significant improvement over what we got in the first issue. Dan Jurgens and Bernado Chang we’re able to develop this post-apocalyptic DC Universe in a way that I wanted to learn more about what is going on. The presence of Barbara Gordon, Max Gibson and Inque helped to peak my interest in this world. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Tim Drake as Batman, who continues to be a duller, less competent version of the character we have come to know. If this series is going to have legs Jurgens will need to make Tim a compelling star because there is only so much the supporting cast can do to lift him up.