Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #1 is written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, illustrated by Max Dunbar, colored by Sebastian Cheng, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar. It’s published by DC Comics. Following the events of the short story “Wake” in Batman: Urban Legends #7, Bruce Wayne is dead, and the Batcomputer, having obtained sentience, has wormed its way into Neo-Gotham’s infrastructure. It falls to Terry McGinnis to stop the rising tide of crime as Batman, but the living city has found new obstacles to throw in his path, particularly Wayne-Powers’ new CEO Donovan Lumos. His mastery of light-based technology and former status as a crime lord in Bludhaven has earned him the nom de guerre of “The Holographic Man.”
The thing I loved about Batman Beyond was the steps it took to feel distinct from any Batman story. The idea of “teenage Batman” could have been a disaster, but the creators made an effort to make Terry his own version of Batman. Lanzing and Kelly continue this by having Terry be fully alone for the first time in his life. He doesn’t have a Batcave to operate out of, no allies to turn to as he’s sent his family and friends out of Neo-Gotham before it went sentient, and the foes he’s facing far outnumber him. The duo took a similar approach to their work on The Harbinger. It works like gangbusters; this can only bode well for their upcoming run on Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty. Lanzing and Kelly also said they took inspiration from Batman: Year One. It shows—Terry’s journal entries are peppered throughout the issue, and Bidikar designs the entries to look like they were written on paper. These entries help the reader get into Terry’s mindset and understand just how tough his fight will be.
Dunbar and Cheng return to the world of Batman Beyond and have a blast depicting Terry’s new foes, including the Luminous Man and a mysterious sword-wielding villain. True to his name, the Luminous Man is a being who literally glows and uses light to his advantage; his appearance changes from panel to panel and features outfits that would make Lady Gaga jealous. The mysterious swordsman wears silver armor reminiscent of a samurai. His blade seems to stretch across panels whenever he swings it, making for a visually impressive and somewhat disorienting effect. Cheng washes the whole of Neo-Gotham in cold blue and a variety of neon colors for the city lights. Terry himself is depicted wearing black and red, whether it’s his Batman suit or regular clothing, and Dunbar also shows that the future Batman is growing up by dotting his face with stubble and making him a tad more muscular.
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #1 begins a new era in Terry McGinnis’ life as he fights to save a city that’s attempting to kill him at every turn. This is the Batman Beyond story I’ve been waiting for, and I can’t wait to see what the creators throw at Terry next. “Batman endures,” Terry says on the final page—a statement that extends to his own legacy, which continues to shine after 20 years.
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #1 is available wherever comics are sold.
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #1
Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #1 begins a new era in Terry McGinnis’ life as he fights to save a city that’s attempting to kill him at every turn. This is the Batman Beyond story I’ve been waiting for, and I can’t wait to see what the creators throw at Terry next.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.