Dan Jurgens and Bernard Chang’s “Batman Beyond” #3 wraps up Tim Drake’s first adventure in the role of the future Batman. Building on the continuity from “Futures End,” this series takes place in the dystopian future that set that series in motion, but Jurgens and Chang give readers more than enough information to jump in with this issue and join the adventure.
Chang’s art elevates “Batman Beyond” #3, bringing realistic detail that merges with animated cartoonishness. The characters are all fancifully exaggerated, but not ridiculously so. The art in “Batman Beyond”#3 looks like a natural descendant of the animated series and DC’s “traditional” style, but given some modern sensibilities and emphasis. While so many of today’s comics feature horizontal panels to mirror the concept of theatrical widescreens, Chang maximizes verticality. This results in some narrow panels that trim the depth of the canvas but, at the same time, it amps up the energy. This end result is a masterful read on a handheld device and an electrically charged read as a printed piece.
Colorist Marcelo Maiolo’s penchant for red is well placed not only in the action-packed panels, but also in the panel-to-panel action, charging up the sequences and shading the flow of the adventure. The value of the red is almost spot on with the red bat icon on Drake’s costume, giving the entire issue a color throughline that elevates the visuals. Dave Sharpe’s lettering brings the technological edge to Brother Eye and elegantly differentiates that from the tones produced by Alfred, Drake’s onboard A.I.
The crux of “Batman Beyond” #3 is Tim Drake, who — caught in a villainous trap — employs various resources to escape, including a parlay with “Batman Beyond” evil mainstay, Inque. No stranger to time-tossed heroes and alternate timelines (dystopian or otherwise), Jurgens ends the scene with Drake making a declaration of his worthiness to carry the namesake of Batman, a point that hits home and locks the character into place. Already a fan-favorite as Robin, Drake makes a strong bid to both readers and Matt (brother of original Batman Beyond, Terry McGinnis) due to Jurgens’ writing and his adaptability. Jurgens fills out Drake’s supporting cast with some quick introductions and sets the upcoming conflict into motion.
“Batman Beyond” #3 doesn’t end with a splash page visual cliffhanger or even a “To Be Continued…” blurb; it just ends. I turned pages a couple times to confirm I had concluded the reading and even counted page signatures to ensure there was no printing error. The ending is abrupt and elevates the cliffhanger nature of the story. Jurgens, Chang, Maiolo and Sharpe all ensure “Batman Beyond” #3 is a satisfying read that continues to explore the new world alongside Tim Drake.