Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Batman Beyond 2.0: Rewired Review (Kyle Higgins, Thorny Silas)

Terry McGinnis is a young man juggling a superhero alter-ego alongside studying at university and girl troubles. He battles an electric supervillain while trying to live up to a father-figure’s hopes for him. Terry McGinnis is… Spider-Man! I mean, Batman Beyond! 

Batman Beyond 2.0: Rewired is made up of two stories. Rewired, where Terry goes up against a lame Electro-type villain, and The Bat Men, as old Kirk Langstrom aka Man Bat gets up to his old tricks again and Terry teams up with elderly Bruce Wayne to defeat him. 

This is my first Batman Beyond book and I didn’t watch the TV show so I know nothing about the character, but right away it felt very Spider-Man-y and only superficially Batman-esque. Batman Beyond is a weaker Batman character and series than the original but especially for drawing so many comparisons between the two and falling short in all of them. 

Everything has this self-consciously futuristic veneer that feels naff like the multi-coloured glasses everyone wears (because The Future!). There’s the very ’80s-futuristic-sounding Neo-Gotham, the Arkham Institute (which sounds like an R&D firm rather than the modern version of the Asylum), and Commissioner Barbara Gordon. Batman’s rogues gallery is one of the best parts of the character. Beyond’s rogues, Spellbinder, Inque, and Shriek, all have generic powers – super-sonic scream, shape-shifting – and boringly all look like robots. They’re terrible rogues!

I did like that Terry’s Batman doesn’t have a cape and has some kind of cloaking tech and gliders that appear when needed. And that outfit is really good, the black and red go together so well. But otherwise I’d say the highlights for me were seeing familiar characters in new situations. Bruce is still brooding but alone, except for a Titus-looking dog; Dick Grayson is Terry’s mentor, rocking the Nick Fury look; and Babs is the new Commissioner. She even does the rooftop meeting with Terry that her dad did with Bruce! 

The first story is definitely the better of the two. It deals with legacies and kids living up to great fathers. Rewire (awful name for a villain by the way) trying to live up to his civic minded father, while Terry, Dick and Barbara’s lives are also defined by their predecessors’. I’m not sure why Terry and Bruce don’t get along in this book but, seeing as Bruce hasn’t changed, it probably has something to do with him being overly paranoid, along the lines of the recent Death of the Family storyline. 

That said, both stories aren’t that great. The two are very forgettable with the second not even bothering to be a Batman Beyond story – it’s basically the same old Batman/Man Bat story that’s been done before, albeit with Bruce replaced with Terry (and bearded Man Bat, to show his age, is just silly-looking!). 

I did like the short backup that closes out the book where Barbara and Dick meet at a diner for a coffee and a reminiscence about old times. For Dick, Barbara’s the one that got away and you can see he’s always regretted that. Barbara on the other hand got married but you can tell she knows. I suppose it is sentimental but I thought it was sweet and I liked the batarang ending. 

Batman Beyond 2.0: Rewired didn’t impress me like I’d hoped. There’s a lot of potentially good elements here but the collected whole is underwhelming and disappointingly bland. I’d be tempted to read more of the character one day though that day will likely be a ways off!

Batman Beyond 2.0: Rewired

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