Batman Beyond #50
Caught on video: Batman committing a brutal murder while stealing an important Wayne Enterprises shipment! Has Terry McGuinness become a cold blooded killer? Probably not! But if not him, then who, how and why? Terry must uncover the answer to these questions all the while balancing work with his worry for the well-being of his mentor, Bruce Wayne, who has suffered a near fatal heart attack. Fortunately, one of Bruce's old allies is in the city, ready to help. But if Wonder Woman isn't visiting to check in on Bruce, then why is she here?
For four years now, Batman Beyond has been maybe the most surprising success story of the Rebirth era at DC, quietly chugging away in its corner, blissfully untouched by the durm und strang that shook the main timeline. It may be fitting that the series comes to a close now, as the last remnants of Rebirth are consumed by the rise of the Infinite Frontier. Who can guess if the Batman Beyond universe – any of the Batman Beyond universes – even has an immediate place in a DC Comics with a future defined, at least temporarily, by Future State?
Of course, Batman Beyond will probably never truly be gone forever. The good news is, if Terry McGuinness is sidelined for a while, his current stewards have left him in a good place. Even if it does take a bit to get there.
Batman Beyond #50 finds Terry in a difficult situation: someone resembling Batman has murdered a security officer, making it risky for him to move in costume. Furthermore, the recording of the crime has reached the hands of Mysterious Persons (Kind of) Unknown. As they share a troubled history with Bruce, this mystery group finds it difficult to contact him directly. That’s where Wonder Woman comes in. She arrives in Gotham looking to uncover the truth of the crime, and hoping to make a friend of this new Batman in the process. Along the way they discover the identity of the Batman imposter as well as the heartbreaking motive behind their crimes.
Meanwhile, as Batman and Wonder Woman fight to clear Terry’s name, Bruce fights for his life against the one foe he may not be able to defeat: the weakness of his own aging body.
The two plots of the issue each revolve around a shared theme: that life is precious and worth fighting for, even as the day grows short and the night looms long. At times this may require forgiveness, or a little bit of stubbornness, but it’s worth it because where there is life there is hope, or the potential for it.
Overall, this issue does a great job of closing the series. At the same time, it also sets Terry up to continue his adventures in a new context should the opportunity arise to revisit this continuity; frankly, given the way this series has expanded Gotham’s future and incorporated elements like Damian that didn’t exist when Terry was introduced, revisiting may be worth doing.
Visually, Chris Sotomayor’s coloring is beautifully rich while Sean Chen and Sean Parsons’s attention-grabbing artwork features dynamic storytelling and on point character portrayals. Wonder Woman in particular looks as radiant as an immortal demigoddess should. I’m a little ashamed to say I wasn’t very familiar with Chen’s art when I went into this issue, but after seeking out some of his previous work I’m excited to see where he takes his talent next.
As for the writing, Dan Jurgens is a comics legend for a reason. Regardless of the title or situation he’s handed he always delivers a strong story, quality character work and a thoughtful exploration of the mythos. He’s been doing it for decades, and here he’s been doing it for four years. Veteran of the industry though he may be, as Bruce would say, he has plenty left to give. Indeed, it is largely due to Jurgens’ voice – the most consistent factor in this fifty-issue run, that Batman Beyond is what it is: a survivor of a title that has kept going all these years, even as more mainstream books have come and gone.
Batman Beyond #50 leaves Terry McGuinness in an excellent position to continue onto new adventures, while also serving as an excellent end cap for one of DC Rebirth's longest running and most consistent series.
Batman Beyond #50: To Old and Future Friends
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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