SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for “Batman Beyond: Rebirth” #1, on sale now.
Terry McGinnis reclaimed the role as the future Batman from Tim Drake in the final issue of the previous “Batman Beyond” series, but there’s still no sign of Tim in “Batman Beyond: Rebirth” #1 after we watched him dissapear in a blinding flash of light while riding off into the sunset. Whatever connection might exist between this alternate version of Tim and the one who also vanished in “Detective Comics” #940 isn’t explored here, as Dan Jurgens and Ryan Sook’s story instead focuses on Terry’s first new adventure since the resumption of his role. As with other “Rebirth” issues, Jurgens brings new readers up to speed with a recap of this Batman’s origin, while Terry faces an increasing wave of violence in Neo-Gotham.
Appropriately enough, Terry’s first encounter after re-donning the costume is with the Jokerz gang, the same group that led him to first becoming Batman. Terry comes across the hoodlums attempting to kidnap children for human trafficking, observing that their modus operandi has evolved beyond simple troublemaking since his return. As he takes out the gang and saves the kids, he flashes back to those early, pre-Batman days when he found himself running from the gang and almost literally straight into Bruce Wayne; elderly, but still capable of defeating the gang members pursuing Terry. Inside Wayne Manor, Terry accidentally stumbles upon the Batcave, and after subsequently returning home only to find his father murdered, ultimately takes on the role of Batman to catch the killer.
As Batman and Commissioner Barbara Gordon wrap up the crime scene, they discuss the Jokerz’ recent escalation of tactics and takeover of a portion of the city. The apprehended goons then succumb to lethal doses of Joker venom, leading Terry and Barbara to speculate on whether The Joker might somehow still be alive. Meanwhile, Terry’s former girlfriend and social worker Dana Tan is kidnapped by other members of The Jokerz after being ratted out by a client during a visit.
As Terry returns home and reconnects with his younger brother Matt, his best friend Maxine Gibson alerts him to a news bulletin regarding Dana’s abduction. As Terry puts on the costume and takes to the skies searching for the Jokerz and Dana, he ponders how he’s going to break the news of his return to Dana, as well as revealing to her that he’s also Batman. During his search, he’s ambushed and taken down by a member of the Jokerz who appears to be amped up on the same venom used in the past by one of the first Batman’s former nemeses, Bane.
Dana is then seen to be held captive by former friend Carter Wilson, aka Terminal. Terminal reveals to Dana he is not the mastermind behind her kidnapping, instead claiming that the person actually running the Jokerz is one that he’s in the process of bringing back from the dead. The final page of the issue reveals this individual to be none other than the original Joker himself, whose scarred and pale body, alive or otherwise, is shown hooked to an array of medical devices.
A potential reunion between not only Terry and Dana, but also Batman and The Joker, are among the potential scenarios in the official start of the series, “Batman Beyond” #1, on sale October 26.
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