Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #2 Review


As Engaging As Computer Code

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: May 3, 2022 

Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #2 finds Terry's resources running out without the benefit of Bruce's billions. Regardless, he embarks on a mission to track down the motivation behind a series of jewel thefts that fall into the blind spot of Gotham's AI.

Was It Good?

Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #2 has the potential to be the subject of an interesting case study about a comic with a lot of creative visuals and cool concepts but makes almost no lasting impression.




Lanzing and Kelly are doing their level best to make Terry's adventure feel significant, even city-shaking, as he uses his quickly dwindling resources without support to find a way to defeat the living AI, that's stealthily taken over Gotham. It's a big concept. It should feel big. Yet, the writers spend too much time telling you that living Gotham is bad and not enough time showing you. It comes off with all the emotional gravitas of a government official reading a crime statistics report (n the case of issue #1, literally).

To hook you into the story, there needs to be an emotional hook. Something or someone to care about. Yet, the story has all the emotional weight of a helium balloon. Terry is on his crusade to take down the Gotham AI without a clear sense of what it is, where it is, or how to shut it down. Next, we see Terry reviewing the statistics of crime response patterns to find where the AI's reach is not as responsive, and he figures out a string of jewelry heists are occurring. Still, the AI appears not to react urgently when the heists go down, as if the AI is allowing the heists to happen. The remaining issue tracks Terry as he hunts down one of the jewel thieves on the tiniest hunch that the jewel robberies are connected to the AI's grand plan.




Technically, there's nothing wrong with this issue. There are no glaring plot holes. Dunbar's art is excellent. The action scenes are energetic, and Cheng's colors look great.

However, the two down points are the lack of emotional hook to give readers a reason to care bout what's going on and too much talking about why Gotham's AI is bad without showing you why Gotham's AI is bad.

Bits and Pieces
 
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #2 is a serviceable entry in the series with a story that forces Terry to fulfill his mission against Gotham's AI with decreasing resources at his disposal. That said, the components of the story are present with nary an emotional beat to be found, and it's increasingly difficult to care about what's happening.

7/10

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