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Sunday, January 16, 2011


RATING: 3.3 out of 5
{Writer: Adam Beechen, Pencils: Ryan Benjamin, Inks: John Stanisci, Colorist:David Baron, Letterer: Travis Lanham, Cover: Dustin Nguyen/Bill Sienkiewicz, Variant Covers: JH Williams III}

This review is for the Mini that was out in 2010 not the ongoing series that started in 2011.

The storyline is well paced and action packed but.... I didn't like the reason Adam Beechen gave for Nightwing/Dick Grayson and Bruce not talking all these years. I also didn't like some of the Bruce's characterization in relation to Terri. Oh and the ending is Meh..

And....DON'T get me started on the art...but since you asked:
The covers are fantastic but those artists didn't do the interiors.
The interior art is sometimes good when the panels have futuristic scenes but.... when Ryan Benjamin draws everyday scenes his pencils are crappy. The people look like discolored potatoes. I'm not buying into the new series because of his art. I just can't take it.  Especially when I see art for Stan Lee's Starborn and think how perfect it would be for this series(review).
 Below are my individual reviews of each separate issue when they came out. You can see how my excitement for the series wanes with Nightwing revelations, and ...about the art being crappy. If you don't want to be spoiled skip down to the Reviews in Blue when the spoiler notice is given.

Variant Cover Issue 1 by J H Williams III

 REVIEW of Issue 1

RATING 3.7 out of 5
This first issue of a  6 part mini has a lot of plot potential in the storyline and I am looking forward to the next issue.  I love seeing the characters that I haven't see in ages and the writer Adam Beechen has captured interplay between the characters in the old TV animated series very well.

A futuristic Batman that fights futuristic foes is a great story line for any mini. He fights them with science, advanced technology, and of course the occasional punch and kick.  Oh who am I kidding....a lot of punching and kicking... with a good old fashion... THOK.  I loved Batman Beyond the animated series, and I've enjoyed the comics.  This issue stood true to form for the old series.  The interaction between Terry and Wayne was classic.
SPOILERS Page down to next Review in BLUE if that's not for you.

In this issue, Terry seems to be run ragged by the crime of Gotham, but he has no time to contemplate slowing down.  There is an old foe of the original Batman trying to get his attention, and has succeeded.   There is a mystery to be solved on who and why, and I'm sure Terry is up to the challenge.

The mystery man is killing Batman's old foes.  The clue to who he may be, is in the way he is killing them.
So far, he has used  MO of Two-Face's, MO of  Zsasz,  and the MO of  HUSH.  A lot of posters are saying that it is obviously HUSH, because the title says HUSH BEYOND.  I don't think so because the old story of Hush Begins has too many suspects to choose, and it would be a same to know the answer to the riddle so soon in the story when we have 5 more issue to go.

This is a poster by Jim Lee for the Jeph Loeb story titled HUSH BEGINS.

There is quite a cast of possible suspects.

I've summarized the entry in Wiki on the story of HUSH BEGINS
In their attempt to destroy Batman, Hush and the Riddler convinced and manipulated several other villains to help (Joker, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Clayface). They manipulated some of Batman's closest allies (Superman, Huntress, and Catwoman) against him. They wanted Bruce to believe that Tommy(Hush) was the latest victim of the Joker.  Hush and the Riddler also set up an elaborate plot against Batman to use his guilt of not  being able to save Jason Todd, a previous Robin.  They tried to convince Wayne that Jason Todd had been brought back from dead but it turned out to be Clayface. Hush also had bribed Harold Allnut, with cosmetic surgery to bug the Batcave with several devices that altered Batman's mind.  Harold had been a friend and the techno-genious behind several Batmobiles, when Bruce found out,  Hush killed Harold in front of him. Bruce was suspicious of Hush being Maxie Zeus and Deadshot. When Elliot finally revealed himself to be Hush, Batman was saved by Harvey Dent who shoots Hush twice(his Two-Face persona ironically  had been wiped out by Elliot who repaired Dent's disfigured face), throwing Hush off a bridge. In the next story about Hush,  "Hush Returns", he beats his former accomplice the Riddler to within an inch of his life, and drives the Joker out of town.

As I said there are a LOT of suspects for this story and I don't think it is Hush.

There is also another mystery of what Bruce is doing behind the curtain.  He says he is making improvements to the Batbelt and that he doesn't want Terry's help.

REVIEW of issue 2
Cover by Bill Sienkiewicz

RATING 3.4 out of 5
I have high expectations for this mini. The story has been decent, so far, but it's not wowing me.  I'm still curious about the bad guy but I'm not sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the next issue, and ....the art seems to be detracting from the story, which is the biggest problem that I'm having with the series.

The artists don't seem to be taking as much care with the parts of the story where there is  normal interaction between Bruce and Terry.

 The inking is heavy in these parts, ...when it doesn't need to be, and it brings me out of the story.
I think it actually detracts from the story. The coloring/shadowing seems a little lazy too, but ...I'm not an expert.

 And WHO is that old guy in the above panel?^^^^^  I mean... really, who is it? It looks like a potato.  In the animated TV show or the older Batman Beyond comics, I had no problem discerning who Bruce Wayne was.  He had a distinct face, piercing eyes. Even as a old man with a cane, you didn't want to mess with him.  The panel to the right is from Batman Beyond #9 (published in 2000), and shows old Bruce.

The way that Ryan Benjamin is drawing him, he looks like he is already dead.  It may only be the inking and coloring that makes him look so bad, but it detracts from the story, and I'm starting to hate it.

SPOILERS Page down to next Review in BLUE if that's not for you.

To me ...the best part of this issue... was the  flashback of the last confrontation between Batman/Bruce and HUSH. Those were a awesome couple of pages. They had  the feel of Batman Beyond, the dark colors with the white of their teeth and eyes.  White is the most powerful color to use in comics.

Along with the mystery of "Who is the bad guy?"(see review of issue 1), of which Beechen gives more clues in this issue, and the mystery of "What does Bruce have behind the curtain?",  he  adds a additional mystery of  "Who is the new Catwoman, and what is she up too?"

Catwoman Beyond.

I like the look of the futuristic Catwoman suit. It looks deadly and... very durable, yet keeps her sleek style.  She meets up with Terry trying to steal a newly developed Data chip.

There are 4 issues to go and I'm still interested in the story, I just hope that some of the inking and coloring become more consistent.

REVIEW of Issue 3

RATING 3.7 out of 5
 I really like this Batman Beyond storyline by Adam Beechen.  He has it well paced, which is keeping me interested, and I'm looking forward to the next issue.  I just... wish... he had a different artistic team, even though, I'm starting to get use to their style.
As I've said before the biggest problem I have with this mini is the art, and it is usually when the art team is doing the regular human panels.  The high tech futuristic panels are... okay, and sometimes even great.


Take the below panels with mom and little brother Matt vvv

She doesn't have any irises and the brother, Matt, doesn't look like he has a nose. IN the panel below that one, Matt has a freaky looking long neck. They both have a alien look to them.  It just seems that the penciler is not taking the time to do it right.  Ryan Benjamin

It's heavily inked too, but that might be over compensating for the neo future city look. It just dancing on my nerves to view it.
SPOILERS of issue 3. Page down to next Review in BLUE if that's not for you.
This issue starts off where the previous one leaves off. Terry has caught up with the unknown mystery killer (tagged HUSH), who is taking out the Batman rogues. The problem is that Terry is so wasted... from lack of sleep that HUSH has the upper hand, and gets away with murder,.. again

 The tension between Bruce and Terry is really amped up.  Bruce seems uncharacteristically unconcerned about Terry's well being and is pushing him unmercifully hard.   Terry blows a fuse when he finds out what Bruce is working on behind the curtain, Bat-Wraths.

Bat-Wraths look like some kind of robotic Batman (panel to the left.)   According to Bruce, "They can be everywhere at once, they don't get tired, they don't have doubts, they follow orders and they will not fail."

Terry feels that he is being replaced. He tells Bruce that once he catches HUSH.... he will turn-in the suit, and walks off.

There is a cameo of Tim Drake, which makes reference to the animated movie, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, where Tim turned into Joker.  (It's great to see a writer that does his research, and address the obvious questions that the reader would want to know.)  There is a start of another cameo too, which is really the teaser for next months issue, Dick Grayson.  Dick Grayson was never seen in the older issues of Batman Beyond, or in the  animation. This will be the first time that Terry and Dick meet.  I'm really excited about this and hope Beechen does it up right.

WHO is this mystery Killer that has been tagged, "HUSH"? It's not Tim, and it's not Dick. Could it just be the original HUSH? Some posters are predicting that it is Jason Todd, but he wasn't acknowledged at all in the past issues, or animation, AND why would he be so dangerous to be under lock down and sedated at Cadmus. 

REVIEW of Issue 4

RATING 2.5 out of 5

What a crock!!!!!  The reveals in this issue were disappointing and frustrating , at least for me, as a Bruce Wayne fan and a Dick Grayson Fan. Unless Beechen can turn things around this will turn into a pitiful Batman story.

The writing of the issue was decent. The pace, the timing and the layout were good, still don't care for the art.  There wasn't a dull moment, but the characterization of my favorite comic book heroes, I can't stand.  The more I thought about the issue, the lower my opinion for the issue. I thought if I didn't write the review today, the issue might get a zero.

Major SPOILERS of issue 4. Page down to next Review in BLUE if that's not for you.

I keep thinking....This ....THIS is why ....Bruce and Dick don't talk and  don't see each other anymore? Bruce had too much pride to say he made a mistake. WHAT?  The only people that Bruce ever loved were his parents. WHAT?

BRUCE made a tactical... rookie mistake that got Dick shot multiple times by Joker. Bruce made A ROOKIE TACTICAL MISTAKE? WHAT???
(Also, rolleyes, the Joker, again, takes out one of Bruce's partners, where is the imagination in that?) 

Bruce had too much pride to go to the hospital and see Dick.

I can think of countless times that Bruce sat by someones side when they were in the hospital, or visited someone, but now...Bruce is too... what? Embarrassed?

The reason I liked Batman Beyond, was the interaction between Bruce and Terry. Most of it was banter, but you felt that Bruce  liked Terry and believed that Terry could be Batman. I felt that, even though, Bruce was old, that he still could dish it out to the bad guys, in a different way.  HE was still cunning and smart, and he had Terry.

In this story, he doesn't seem cunning as much as he is grumpy and cold hearted, and most of all, he seems resentful of Terry's youth, and if it was he could have done better.

I don't believe the reveal at the end of the issue of Hush's identity was a real reveal.  It just seems to be another mask, of sorts. HUSH had changed his looks in the past to look like Bruce Wayne, so the reveal, I don't believe is the real person revealed.

I'm hoping that Beechen has a trick up his sleeve for Bruce to make this a better story then it is turning out to be.  To make it more enduring story, and not one where I chuck it out the window, and wish I had my money back.

REVIEW of Issue 5
RATING 3.4 out of 5

This was much better then issue 4.  I'm now looking forward to the last issue in the mini, instead of cringing, but... I'm not buying into the new series that is coming out in January 2011, simply because it has the same art team and I still can't stand the art.   I also don't think Beechen really knows the characters or the history of Batman Beyond as well as he should.

SPOILERS of issue 5. Page down to next Review in BLUE if that's not for you.
Bruce is acting more like himself and is acting more concerned for Terry.  The banter I love between these two is back.

This issue has the story behind Hush and why the organization called Cadmus was involved.  He is not the real Dick Grayson...YEA!!  but he has some pretty big plans to crush the criminal  element in Gotham.

Dick Grayson swings into action to help out. I still don't like the idea of how Dick ended up the way he is with a missing eye, but at least he isn't Hush.

I liked the banter between Catwoman and Bruce, that was my favorite part, and getting some background history on her. Turns out that she is the daughter of Denton Black who was Multiplex(link) , a Firestorm rogue.

Ryan is at least giving Bruce a chin, but I still can't stand the art.

REVIEW of Issue 6

RATING 3 out of 5

This was a okay issue but could have been so...much better.  I know Beechen can do better, because his BATMAN:The Road Home: Commissioner Gordon issue was great.  This mini started out with a plot that was rich with possibility, but this ending seems lame and hackish. It doesn't live up the to original HUSH storyline by Jeff Loeb and will probably be quickly forgotten.

The art doesn't help... at all. Even though it is passable for the Bat Beyond suit and the new age Catwoman suit, the panels with a normal looking person... look far from normal. 
SPOILERS of issue 6 page down to COMMENTS from other posters  in BLUE
The dialogue was okay, but the antagonism from Dick Grayson toward Bruce was a little over the top.  The ideal that Dick Grayson would even think that he could go out in the field and fight off the Batbots on his own, never the less without a suit... seemed a  little egotistical.  Especially since this threat wasn't any greater then any other threat that Terry has handled in the past. 

There was no "reunion" between Bruce and Dick, so that was a little disappointing, and left the issue high and dry.  (Plus add the fact that the reason there is antagonism, Bruce not speaking to Dick or even checking up on him after his injuries, seemed a little far fetched for Bruce's character.)

The final panel within Cadmas...really gave me the impression that the concept for this story was taken from Morrison's Batman issue 683, not that it's a bad thing... but maybe too soon.

Over all, the series was Okay, but just didn't hit the marks that I..., a Batman Beyond fan, expect it too. It also didn't hit the marks that I..., a Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson fan, expected it too.

COMMENTS from other Posters.
I originally had these reviews in  separate posts and others posted comments for each review.

ISSUE 1 Comments:

HellBlazerRaiser said... 
Sweet review!!! 
I finally read this issue! 
Terrific was the first word that came to my mind. 
I know Beechen has a large number of detractors, but I've enjoyed what I've read by him. 

ISSUE 2 Comments:

HellBlazerRaiser said
 The art seems a little rushed, but it's not distracting me from the story.

I wonder if Hush II will turn out to be Tim Drake?

I love that Waller is in the story. Did she appear in the BEYOND TV series?

I kind of wish this was bi-weekly.  
ISSUE 3  Comments:
ISSUE 4  Comments:
Duy said...
 Hush is Falseface. No, not Clayface. Falseface. From the 60s show. That's right. I went there. 
HellBlazerRaiser said...
I agree with everything you wrote.

This issue really Really REALLY irked me.

Even if it turns out to be a Grayson clone or fetch or dopplegänger or what have you, it still feels cheap and unnecessary.

I didn't even really understand how Nightwing got shot, because I couldn't tell what was happening from the panels.

This was shaping up to be a greta mini-series, too. It's a shame.  

Allysons Attic said ...

Yeah, I thought this mini was shaping up nicely and now, it kinda sucks.

Nightwing got shot, because Batman landed in front of him instead of landing to the side of him, so that when the Joker started shooting at Batman, he caught Nightwing behind Batmans cape.

Personally I think Nightwing should have been able to avoid most, if not all the bullets, on his own since he IS NIGHTWING, and Joker was not aiming at him but following Batman.(rolleyes)

Oh well, two more issue to go to see if Beechen pulls this out of the crapper. urks me that they advertised that this mini would bring the BM:Beyond into the continuity, and this story clearly doesn't do that.
ISSUE 5 Comments:
ISSUE 6  Comments: 
Patrick said... Says SPOILERS
I felt the same way. Not only was the story a rehash, point by point, from Return of the Joker, but if this IS going to be an ongoing series... half of Terry's rogues gallery was killed off... unseen... by a "clone." This seemed like a very paint-by-numbers story, with only a few bright spots here and there. Love the new Catwoman but... What made Bruce Timm great is that he was starting to build a new world with BB, not just "Return" old characters and mythology. This six issue series felt like it was ERASING the BB world, brining back old characters, killing off the new villians, etc. If they are going to put it in continuity then where's Damien and why wasn't Dick Batman at the time of his run-in with the Joker? Blah! We'll see how it goes... 
Duy said...
Uh, yeah, this story sucked.

I think Beechen really missed a good portion of what made BATMAN BEYOND so special, and that's the fact that it's specifically NOT about "Batman in the future." There are Jokerz, sure, and Mr. Freeze, and it culminated in RETURN OF THE JOKER, but on the whole, the show was about TERRY MCGINNIS, not about what Batman Villain X and Batman Sidekick Y were up to or how they were updated in that time period.

This story was just one big "Let's check out how the Batman mythos can be updated for the future," and it missed the point.

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