Batman Beyond #5

Story by
Art by
John Stanisci, Ryan Benjamin
Colors by
David Baron
Letters by
Travis Lanham
Cover by
DC Comics

Clearly someone at DC Comics is happy with this "Batman Beyond" mini-series; it's just been renewed (so to speak) for an ongoing title. Then again, considering that "Batman Beyond" has maintained a rather dedicated fan base since going off the air nine years ago, that shouldn't be too much of a surprise. And on the whole? It's been fun, but I can't help but feel with this latest issue that we could've lost some padding in the middle of the mini-series.

This latest issue of "Batman Beyond" finally reveals just about everything; the identity of the bad guy in the Hush bandages, who the new Catwoman is, even the role of Cadmus in this mini-series has been. There's so much happening this issue that it makes you wonder if Adam Beechen's original pitch was actually six issues long, or if he was asked to space things out a little more. It's such a sudden rush of information here that it's unfortunate that we didn't get some of this material much sooner. Still, it's interesting, and it does ultimately all fit together. It's nice to see a book where the red herrings still make sense when you stop and think about them.

On the down side, Ryan Benjamin's pencils have looked better than this issue, which comes across a little awkward in places. Barbara Gordon seems incapable of just leaning forward slightly at her desk, instead practically sprawled across it if she's reaching for a button or using the phone. He also draws Gordon and Dr. Reid so much alike that I started to wonder if they were supposed to be mother and daughter; aside from hair color, a couple of wrinkles, and different-sized glasses, they're identical. It gets even odder when you hit the third page and Barbara Gordon and Blaine Emmick have the exact same profile (and with one panel appearing right over the other, it's hard to miss) despite one being male and the other female. Benjamin does better when it comes to costumes, and I like the new Catwoman design in particular, but in general this isn't Benjamin's strongest issue of the series.

I'm glad "Batman Beyond" is doing well in comic form, and it's serving as a nice reminder that I still have a lot of episodes that I should watch one of these days. But hopefully once it moves to an ongoing series, these pacing problems will get touched up, and some slightly more consistent art. "Batman Beyond" is a good comic, but there's no reason why it can't become a great comic, too.

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