Reviews: BATMAN BEYOND UNIVERSE #5 & More
This week the Batman of the future and the Justice League battle returning threats from the past. I've also done another retro review as I look back at a special issue of Legion of Super-Heroes.
BATMAN BEYOND UNIVERSE #5 by Kyle Higgins, Christos Gage, Thony Silas, and Iban Codello
Seeing as how this is my first time reviewing this title, I think the best way is to do it in two parts. This book collects two digital first series, Batman Beyond 2.0 and Justice League Beyond 2.0, so I will discuss them separately before scoring the book as a whole.
Batman Beyond 2.0: Kyle Higgins is obviously a huge fan of the animated TV series that this comic is based on. DC has published several Batman Beyond series prior to this one and, while those were all very good, this feels like the proper continuation of the TV show. Higgins has made great strides in pushing the mythology forward and gifting this series with a unique identity amongst BB tie-ins. This book is the BB equivalent of Smallville Season 11.
To speak a little about the story's content, fan favorite villain Shriek makes an appearance as well as a returning geriatric Kirk Langstrom/ Man-Bat. Langstrom appears to be the main threat for this arc, but Higgins could have more up his sleeve. Well, he does have something up his sleeve, but it's not an Ace. Rather, a Ten in the form of former Royal Flush Gang member Melanie Walker. She and Terry had a few romantic run-ins on the TV show, so it will be interesting to see how their reunion plays out given the fact that Terry is now single. Thony Silas is also the perfect artist for this book. You'd swear they took screencaps from the animated series. It was so fitting that I could hear a score provided by Kristopher Carter and Lolita Ritmanis playing in my head. The brief flashback to Batman: The Animated Series was also very rewarding.
Justice League Beyond 2.0: As we come to the second half of the book, it's also apparent that writer Christos Gage has done his homework. JLB is for fans that loved the two-part Batman Beyond episode "The Call". Zod being introduced into a post-animated continuity as a child was a pretty interesting touch; he's also kind of an unofficial member of the team! However, not every member of the JL trusts him.
The book is very heavy on action, but finds a way to pleasantly balance that with some wonderfully written character interaction. Iban Codello's artwork is a visual feast. It doesn't entirely stray from the feel of an animated show, but has more detail and achieves a three dimensional quality without the aid of stereoscopics. Without spoiling much, the planet's technology rebels and it's all caused by a returning Superman villain that was thought destroyed in Justice League Unlimited. It's an exciting return that won't disappoint.
Overall, I'd say this book is worth your time and money. The Batman Beyond half of the book is the stronger of the two, but the latter is by no means a slouch. As you no doubt surmised from what you read above, they both do a solid job of continuing the legacy of the TV series. Even if you missed the first few issues, new arcs start here, so you have no reason not to jump on. Not only that, you're essentially getting two great comic books for $3.99. How can you argue with that? Score: 8.5/10
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #7 (Feb. 1985) by Paul Levitz, Steve Lightle, and Mike DeCarlo
Every year my comic shop of choice (Back to the Past in Redford, MI) does something special right before the holidays. Mystery boxes are sold at the price of $9.95 and contain a stack of Bronze Age comics, a Marvel calendar, and other random prizes. After going through the stack that I purchased, I was left to ponder which one I would select for a retro review. After much consideration, I settled on Legion of Super-Heroes #7 from the much acclaimed Paul Levitz era. You may also know Levitz from his work on The New Teen Titans or from his creation of The Huntress.
Despite being seemingly thrust into a story that was in mid-arc, I still found this to be an enjoyable read. There's a great balance between action and adventure and dynamite character interaction. It's no wonder why Levitz was a fan favorite because of this series and The New Teen Titans. Part of the team is displaced on a Limbo planet while the rest are back in Metropolis sorting through important matters and trying to manage personal relationships. It was hard to choose which was more satisfying. The book ends with a cliffhanger that presents quite the moral conundrum. It was also kind of funny to see people in the year 2984 strutting about in haircuts native to the 1980s.
I haven't read too many Legion books in my day, but I was a fan of the animated series that ran for two seasons. Not only that, "Legion" was my favorite episode of Smallville Season 8. Hell, I even own a Legionnaire ring. Perhaps it's long overdue for me to dig deeper into the history of this super team of the future. Score: 8/10
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