Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #1 Review

Batman Bland

Written by: Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing
Art by: Max Dunbar
Colors by: Sebastian Cheng
Letters by: Aditya Bidikar
Cover art by: Max Dunbar, Sebastian Cheng
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: April 5, 2022
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #1 finds Terry McGinnis, Batman Beyond, alone in Gotham. Bruce Wayne is dead, a crook has taken over Wayne Enterprises, and Commissioner Gordon is set to retire. Is the flat crime rate a sign of improvement or a warning that things will explode?

Was It Good?

Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #1 is OK. Not fantastic. Not terrible. Just somewhere in the middle.

We begin with an overly-metaphorical narration about the city of Gotham from Terry's point of view. Terry refers to and reacts to Gotham as though it were alive. Of course, there may be virtual sentience to the city as a living entity in a technologically advanced future where everything is jacked in and wired up. Still, the way it's used here, Terry often refers to Gotham as a sentient being acting on a plan or with intention. It's strange and confusing because it's not clear if Terry is suffering from mild delusions or if Gotham is genuinely developing a type of anthropomorphism.

The lack of clarity around Terry's references to Gotham quickly becomes a recurring distraction for an otherwise basic story. Terry recounts how he continues Batman's mission without Bruce's presence. He keeps inventory of the crimes he stops, hoping that his actions lead to a general improvement in safety. In parallel, Terry starts tracking the new head of Wayne-Powers Enterprises, a not-so-reformed criminal named Lumos who uses hard-light holograms for show. 

Terry learns Lumos is coordinating an illegal drug shipment into the city through his surveillance. He visits Commissioner Barbara Gordon to keep her informed, and she returns the intel by informing Terry she's retiring, causing Terry to feel even more isolated. Terry heads out to stop the shipment when he's met with an armored guard wearing a suit as powerful as his own and wielding a hard-light sword.

All the piece parts for a solid story are there, and the art by Dunbar, Cheng, and Bidikar is excellent. What's missing from this story is any heart, drama, excitement, or emotion. The entire issue plays out very monotone and flat. 

Make sure to listen to our Weekly DC Comics Recap and Review Podcast to hear us talk more about this book.  Just look up "Weird Science DC Comics" anywhere you listen to podcasts, and make sure to rate, review, and subscribe!

Bits and Pieces
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #1 examines a future Gotham where Terry McGinnis is entirely on his own and a Gotham-Powers Enterprises run by criminals. The art is excellent, but the narration can be confusing, and the issue lacks any emotional weight. You'll get your money's worth if you want a standard Batman Beyond issue with familiar settings and action. If you want a Batman Beyond issue that puts in the effort to grab your attention, look elsewhere.


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