Batman Beyond #11
Written By: Dan Jurgens
Art: Bernard Chang
Coloured By: Marcelo Maiolo
Previously, on Batman Beyond: Having taken the moniker from his grandfather as The Head of the Demon, DamianWayne plans to launch a nuclear strike to let the world start over, and it’s up to Bruce Wayne and Terry McGinnis to stop him. As an added complication, Terry has been under the influence of a new aggression-inflicting batsuit, driving him to levels of frustration and lack of reasoning that lead him to snap the neck of Damian’s man-bat-dragon companion Goliath, and take Damian on in a final fit of rage and power.
This time: Damian takes off at Terry in a blur of anger for taking his pet’s life, as Terry continues to fight back with his very best. This continues to not be enough as Damian reminds us that he wore that suit before Terry did, and he knows all of its weakness, including weakspots, and where all of the secret weapons are stored. As Bruce tries to prevent the launch of the missiles, he’s attacked by Koru, the son of Ubu, eternally blaming Bruce for cursing his father to live and die defeated. Koru begins to choke Bruce, telling him he will be able to protect the legacy he was given, while Terry struggles to override the suit’s programming to interfere. At the last moment, Damian attacks his own henchmen, warning him to never ignore his orders, for killing his own father is something even Damian forbids. Max and Terry’s brother Matt continue to look on in the bat-cave, baffled despite hacking in at how they’re going to stop such a launch. Terry begins to win his mind back over from the suit as it attempts to impale Damian on a pair of blades, Bruce tells him to be stronger. He knows that Terry can win this, and in a last burst Terry manages to pull away the blade’s from Damian’s neck, and rip off the suit’s mask, regaining full control of his body. Damian is about to launch the nukes, when Goliath wakes up alive, revived by a shot of adrenaline Bruce injected. As Damian is hit with a wave of release, Koru slams the button, knowing that the true was to serve the will of the demon is to follow through to the very end. The nukes begin to launch, Terry flies off, risking the suit taking over yet again. Everyone looks on in shock as he chases after the rockets, using the suit’s pulse technology to blow up the rockets one by one, until a single one remains, just out of reach. As the rocket hits the atmosphere, Max and Matt manage to redirect the last one into a Waynetech satellite, negating the final threat as Terry falls back to earth. Bruce charges up near the very limits of the sky in the Batwing, as Damian follows on a jetpack, catching up to Terry with a large enough parachute to take them both down to safety. Safe and relieved, Bruce, Terry, Damian, and Goliath celebrate with a peaceful reunion, Bruce admitting that he finally needs to lighten up. Damian chooses to stay in the mountains, but the father and son know they won’t abandon their relationship again, as Bruce and Terry fly back to Gotham, a team of their own.
Reed Strong’s Strong Read: As this arc reaches its conclusion, I really do find myself neatly focused on waiting what’s going next. Jurgens has done a very good job of mixing elements of the animated Batman Beyond continuity with the general DC Universe, and this issue provided a simple and neat ending to a somewhat drawn-out affair. Terry comes to terms with the power the prototype batsuit holds in a way of understanding the literal burden of being Batman, Damian and Bruce come to terms with each other, and Goliath gets to live. This story didn’t do a lot for me as a fan of Damian Wayne, or even as a fan of the general Batman Beyond universe, but it tells a necessary part of Terry’s legacy. Terry has very much been a character who doesn’t have the personal tragedy, at least in the current mixed continuity. He’s lost family members, and he even nearly lost his life, but he’s not a character defined by primary suffering in the way a Batman often is. Even Dick Grayson’s run as Batman was partially defined by the loss of Bruce Wayne, so by giving Terry a way to literally fight anger, it gives us a story and a part of that character we haven’t seen yet. Terry is character who deserves to be fleshed out and be given his struggles, and if this story did anything, it accomplished that in a new way and still gives him room to grow, and hold his own legacy.
Lastly: Bernard Chang and Marcelo Mailo are still an extremely capable art team, giving the book its own defined tone and pallet, mixing in the familiar reds and blacks so strong with the themes of Beyond with a thickly lined style that gives it its own identity.