Batman Beyond #1

Story by
Art by
John Stanisci, Ryan Benjamin
Colors by
David Baron
Letters by
Steve Wands
Cover by
DC Comics

Set a "couple weeks since that Hush thing" (that "Hush thing" being the recently completed miniseries) this issue offers up a nice slice of future with most of the creative team returning from the mini. Lanham's lettering is replaced by Steve Wands' here, but I probably wouldn't have noticed that change-up had I not checked the credit box for this issue. The art is what really caught my interest in this issue.

The first page featuring a slow zoom on poor Carson Jatts is so simple, but extremely well executed, playing up the emotion of a medical condition with little hope. Beechen balances the revelation with a resolution in Jatts' thoughts. Turn the page and it explodes with wild madcap Saturday morning superheroics featuring a gang to rival the Jokerz. Ok, so the gang doesn't really rival the Jokerz, but it does mine the (relative) history of the DC Universe in a fun and entertaining way.

The first half of the book is all crazy linework detailing the characters and settings, but as the issue progresses, the figures get less credible and the details less defined. Terry and his girlfriend start to lose definition, anatomy seems to get a little skewed, and backgrounds flatten a bit, but not to the point of distraction.

The story is pretty straightforward and certainly familiar to comic fans: someone has stolen an artifact and the "owners" of said artifact are set to return it to its rightful place. The artifact in question in this issue is the wand of the Matter Master. Again, Beechen seizes an opportunity to play through the history of the DC Universe, freshening ideas up along the way. The biggest example of this history study is in the appearance of the "Batman Beyond" era Justice League: Warhawk, Barda, Micron, Aquagirl, and Green Lantern. Of that bunch, Warhawk gets the most paneltime, and that's fine with me. This issue doesn't leave the rest out to dry though, as they will most assuredly have a bigger role in the next issue.

On the front lines of DC's $2.99 marketing blitz, "Batman Beyond" is sure to catch an eye or two, and Beechen and crew offer up a nice starter story. The story itself is set up as the first in a three-parter and offers quite a nice panorama of the future Gotham.

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