Sunday, March 13, 2011

Animated World of DC Comics: Batman Beyond (1999)

Set 40 years into the future, Batman Beyond gives viewers a glimpse of life in 21st century Gotham City with a completely different Dark Knight.

The story begins in 2019, as Bruce Wayne takes on one last case as the Batman, rescuing the daughter of one of his various girlfriends from kidnappers. However, Wayne (Kevin Conroy) suffers a heart attack in the course of battle, and resorts to the one thing he'd sworn never to do, and that is to use a handgun to hold the kidnappers at bay. After the case is closed, Wayne hangs up the costume for what he thinks is the last time. "Never again!", he declares, as he closes down the Batcave.

20 years later, teenager Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle, Boy Meets World), a reformed juvenile delinquent, fends off a subway attack by the Jokerz, a street gang modeled after, of course, The Joker. In retaliation, Terry's father, Warren (Michael Gross, ex-Family Ties) is killed, apparently by the Jokerz, but it would later be revealed that Wayne's corrupt business partner, Derek Powers (Sherman Howard, ex-Superboy), ordered the hit. Powers would later become the mutated villain, Blight. Seeking revenge for his father's death, Terry finds his way into the Batcave and somehow manages to "borrow" the futuristic Batsuit.

Wayne is understandably angered, but he can control the suit from the cave, as Terry finds out to his dismay. However, the two forge an alliance once Terry declares he wants the gig. The former Batgirl, Barbara Gordon (Stockard Channing), now in her father's former role as Police Commissioner, becomes a close confidant to Terry, as her father was to Bruce for many years. In the course of the series, there would be a crossover with Static Shock, and much later, Terry would return in episodes of Justice League Unlimited, where it was revealed that Warren was implanted with some of Bruce's DNA by Project Cadmus. Yes, it turns out that Terry is Bruce's son, hard as that might be to imagine, but then, in the comics, Bruce sired a child by the daughter of his enemy, R'as Al Ghul, so it's possible that while the Batman was inspired by Zorro & the Shadow in the Golden Age, later writers might've added a touch of James Bond.

To give you some idea of the father-son relationship Bruce & Terry had, though it was more teacher & student in the series, here's a clip uploaded by yesinasa666.

The series ended in 2002, but was revived last year in comics form, currently on the racks at your local comics shop. Y'think maybe they ended the show a wee bit too soon?

Rating: B-.

No comments: