The Batman Beyond: Neo Year comics are finally expanding on one of the best lines from the original show, using it to expand on Terry’s character.
Warning! Contains spoilers for Batman Beyond: Neo Year #3!
Tea Batman Beyond comics have finally made a callback to one of the show’s best lines. Batman Beyond was a cartoon following the adventures of a futuristic version of Batman, Terry McGinnis as he learns from an aged Bruce Wayne how to be a hero. The series only had three seasons, but it has gained a cult following and spawned a variety of comics series, including the currently running Batman Beyond: Neo Year.
Batman Beyond: Neo Year focuses on Terry continuing his work as Batman after the Living Gotham AI and kills his mentor Bruce Wayne. He must quickly come to terms with the original Batman’s death and figure out How to be Batman free from Bruce’s guidance. All of this while also having to deal with Living Gotham trying to kill him as well. This has forced him to constantly hide his identity from others and assume a false persona. But despite this hardship, it has also enabled him to understand his predecessor on a deeper level than ever before.
In Batman Beyond: Neo Year #3 by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelley, and Max Dunbar, Terry is attending the retirement party of Commissioner Barbara Gordon in order to investigate the new CEO of Wayne-Powers, Donovan Lumos. He takes on the alias of Neal Gibson and then ponders something that Bruce said in the seventh episode of the Television show, “Shriek.” There, Bruce had explained that Shriek had failed to make him believe that he was hearing voices in his head because he never mentally called himself “Bruce.” It provides another reason why Batman keeping his identity secret is useful, but it is also much deeper than that. While Terry joked about the line at the time, now he understands the true extent of what his mentor meant. He realizes that outward identity is just an outward performance, whether he’s being Terry, Batman, or any other alias.
The line in the original cartoon was already awesome, showing how mentally resilient Bruce is and that even in his old age he still views himself as a hero. But the expansion of the idea in this comic both gives it more depth and is able to fuel Terry’s own character growth. It isn’t that Bruce thinks his time outside of being Batman is pointless or not a real part of his life (even if this series is showing that Bruce’s life mission as Batman ultimately failed). Instead he views it more as putting on a performance. But as Terry shows in this issue, performances can still be incredibly meaningful. He uses his performance as Neal Gibson to seek out information that he would otherwise not have access to, just like his predecessor used his Bruce Wayne persona to perform great acts of philanthropy with his vast wealth.
The fact that this line is included in this series is a sign that its creators both deeply understand and are huge fans of the original show, which means that this comic will likely make devotees of the cartoon very satisfied. Especially since their pleas for a live action Batman Beyond adaptation (which could be incredible) have gone unanswered. By referencing the original Batman Beyond cartoon in such a meaningful way, Batman Beyond: Neo Year enriches both its story and the original show, making it a must-read for that series’s fans.
Batman Beyond: Neo Year #3 is now available from DC Comics.
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