Batman Beyond vs. Justice LeaguePosted: 06/27/2013
If we stick to our theme of superhero cartoons turning into comics, Batman Beyond has done well for itself. Sort of. Sixty-ish issues over fourteen years shouldn’t be given medals or pats on the back, but anything done to have a short-lived cartoon survive over a decade past its ending must be a small victory in itself.
For those not in the know, and I’ll make this fast, Batman Beyond jumps to the future of elderly Bruce Wayne. No longer able to serve as Batman himself, he hands the costume to a young man named Terry McGinnis. Now McGinnis battles evil while Wayne screams at him from the Batcomputer. Cool premise, the cartoon won tons of awards, and who doesn’t love Batman with jet boots?
Today, as a hostage situation goes bad in Gotham City, the Justice League shows up to defuse the problem. Batman fights them all at once in Batman Beyond #1-3, volume four, written by Adam Beechen and drawn by Ryan Benjamin.
So, let’s take a look at the future’s Justice League:
Warhawk, as you learned last article (and who’s missing a wing from earlier in the issue), is the son of John Stewart and Hawkgirl. Obviously he took more after his mother. Aquagirl controls water. Green Lantern still has the ring. Barda (somehow related to the New Gods’ Big Barda) takes over the Wonder Woman role. And Micron can control his size. All caught up.
A new supervillain who can control matter has threatened a mall. Normally, a standard overpowering should be enough to take on the baddie, but McGinnis’ mother and little brother happen to be in the mall. So Batman shoulders plenty of reason to delay the inevitable chaos and stop the Justice League. Also, Wayne really wants McGinnis to pound those kids.
I agree, there’s a surprising lack of capes in the future. We should discuss this new Batman. The suit grants McGinnis some minor super strength and agility, along with a small armory of gadgets and devices. McGinnis, while only seventeen, is shown to be a decent fighter and with above average intelligence. And most importantly, Wayne backs him up from the Batcomputer. He’s like Alfred, only far easier to disappoint and lacking any sort of warmth or encouragement.
Even with the cool Batman suit, the Justice League can totally overpower McGinnis without much effort. Luckily (and for the same reason Batman — the man without superpowers — is constantly referred to as the most dangerous superhero), tactics save the day. Especially when the tactics are coming from a man whose age equals all those on the battlefield combined.
That’s why you don’t fight crime in a bathing suit. I get the idea that female superheroes show skin because comics assumed decades ago that boys who read comics are exclusively perverts (and once an iconic costume gets locked in, changes tend to be hard to come by), but nothing practical comes from tackling bad guys with half your ass hanging out.
Martian Manhunter may be weak to fire, but he also can’t be taken out due to carelessness. Or maybe he can, I guess depending on the writer. While Batman’s improved in time, the Justice League certainly hasn’t. And I get that Batman’s utility belt has always been a deus ex machina, but we accept that if only because we like to think of humanity as wildly creative and cunning.
The fight ends here. Strangely, Wayne still sucks at teamwork, even with a dozen Bat-family members running around during the old man’s prime. When you consider that only Jason Todd turned wacky from his time with Batman (and that may have to do more with him being crowbar’d/exploded to death), the relative normalcy of the Bat-family should be applauded.
McGinnis remains quite well-liked among Batman fans. Anyone who takes over the Batman mantle has to compete with decades of childhood and adolescent memories from readers/viewers, but I like to think fans rewarded McGinnis’ competency and compassion. Also, being Wayne’s biological son definitely helps. Oh, I didn’t mention that yet, did I?
As the story wraps up, and you can read the book for the supervillain fight, the Justice League makes the only smart decision it has made all arc: inviting Batman to join.
Happy endings will always be the best endings.