Review: Batman Beyond #20

“Target: Batman” – Part One
Writer:Dan Jurgens
Artists: Marco Castiello & Mark Morales
Review by Steve J. Ray
It’s all change in the latest issue of Batman Beyond.  We have part one of a brand new storyline, “Target Batman”, and with it an all-new art team. We left last issue with Terry coming to grips with his kid brother Matt becoming the new Robin, This instalment, and it seems this entire arc, will deal with the repercussions of this historic event.
As always, writer Dan Jurgens grabs readers from the very first page. The story opens with a news team – which includes the alter-ego of a vintage DC Comics anti-hero – reporting on trouble at police HQ, with Commissioner Barbara Gordon under fire.
I will never get tired of writing those words; Commissioner BARBARA Gordon…
… Awesome.
The action strats there, and really doesn’t let up for the rest of the comic.

Right On Target

The writing this month is as great as ever. Jurgens’ little in-jokes, like the name of the news station,  and the constant poking at Terry of Matt being Robin now, whether McGinnis senior likes it or not, are priceless. After Dick Grayson every Robin, and even Terry himself, donned the costume, and went out into battle whether they’d been authorised to, or not. It’s a comics staple, but Dan Jurgens puts a fresh spin on it as only a veteran writer of his calibre can.
While the writing hits the target dead-centre, I’m afraid that I wasn’t as taken by the art. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but we’ve really been spoiled on this book. Bernard Chang set a very high bar on Batman Beyond for almost three years. Then Phil Hester and Ande Parks changed the aesthetics completely with their gorgeous, almost minimalist style. Marco Castiello and Mark Morales had very big shoes to fill.
The action scenes are brilliantly done, enhanced by some great color art from Wil Quintana. What let down the visuals, for me, were the quieter moments between Melanie Walker and Terry on pages 8 and 9 and the domestic, less “Comicky” panels. This art team can clearly handle the Biff, Bop and Bang, but their relaxed human interactions looked like models posing in a catalogue, felt angular, and forced. They didn’t flow, or look natural at all.

Conclusion

I’m sure that the art will settle, and improve with time. This series tends to only have occasional moments of calm, to add emotion and context to the action. The pages of boom, bluster and bravado far outweigh the tender moments. Where the art team really deliver is on page 21! Batman has always been a figure that strikes fear into criminals, but that last page truly delivers an OMG moment.
While not perfect, Batman Beyond #20 is still well above average.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment
(This review was originally published on the Dark Knight News Website on May 25th 2018)

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