Steve Orlando, Bringing Back Underutilized Characters Since 2015 (Batman Beyond #12 Comic Review)

Batman Beyond #12

 

Writers: Vita Ayala and Steve Orlando

Pencils: Siya Oum

Inks: Dexter Vines

Colors: Tony Avina

Letters: Travis Lanham

Cover: Bernard Chang and Marceleo Maiolo

Variant: Dave Johnson

Associate Editor: Rob Levin

Editor: Jim Chadwick

 

Previously on Batman Beyond:

As Bruce Wayne deals with having multiple sons, Max and Matt run the Batcave from behind the scenes provided well-needed support. Barbara Gordon continues to be an active member of the GCPD, doing her vigilante work by the books as the type of cop of only a Gordon can be.

This time:

Babs takes to the streets as she carries out an investigation first-hand, taking to the dangerous world of Crown Point, one of the parts of Gotham that even the cops overlook, and quickly finds out why as she has a bag thrown over her head. Max and Matt are keeping the peace back in the bat save, getting an emergency transmission to go check in and find what happened to the commish. A gaggle of teens gets out of Leslie Thompkins High School and plans a romp to the local arcade, but a girl named Nissa makes her way off from the rest of the group, revealing herself proudly atop a building as the new (unsanctioned) Batgirl herself. As Max tracks the signal, she runs into Nissa already staking out where Babs is likely being held. Batgirl doesn’t seem to care for Batman’s people, saying that the cops and the capes don’t care about the people here, but Max counters by providing a little bit of her hacker cred to show that not every problem is solved with a fist. However, the next immediate ones are as Nissa and Max crash into the old bunker, as Babs helps by kicking ass from her bound seat and breaking from her the rest of her bonds. Max’s body in the fight is revealed to be a hologram, as she provides backup with a handy laser canon as Nissa and Babs work together to take down the dirty cops who grabbed Babs in the first place. As Nissa pins down the dirtiest of the bunch, Babs does another thing that Gordons do best and talks her down from the fight. Fists a few inches away from the culprit’s’ face, Batgirl gets off and grapples into the distance, as Gordon reminds her that she’s not just one person, she’s a symbol. A few days later Max sneaks up on Batgirl on a classic rooftop, tossing her a communicator for the three Batwomen to work together sometime. As Nissa grapples off again, Babs joins Max and reminds them both that while they can never do enough, they’re never alone.

Reed Strong’s Strong Reed:

While I partially jest, if there’s a trend that Steve Orlando has been following recently outside of generally being pretty dang solid, it’s bringing back characters that never got a chance to shine. With such examples as Bwana Beast and Extrano in his past, being able to work with Vita Ayala to bring back the one-issue-wonder of Batgirl from the Adam Beechem run, really helped provides a fun spotlight on three generally underutilized characters from the Beyond mythos. Babs was there in the show and is there in the comics right now, but letting her be active and kick ass is never unsatisfying, and Max herself is a character with boundless potential when it comes to plucky hackers with a whole lot of skill. Max had some solid focus in the Beechem run, and Orlando and Ayala help make her a more active character while still not just delegating her to another Bat-Pronoun role. She’s not Oracle, she’s not a Batgirl, this issue HAS a Batgirl. Nissa is confident and has a cause in mind; she’s standing up for her people and those down-trodden by even the down-trodden of Gotham, and that’s the making of a classic bat-kid if there’s ever been one. As an interlude after a particularly under-whelming arc, this one-shot was just a really fun character study on characters who really deserved this little time in the spotlight.

 

Rating: 7/10

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