The latest issue of Batman Beyond Unlimited finds Superman settling into his new role further, the background of Micron revealed and Terry emotionally beaten by the Joker King. Things are not going good for our heroes as the issue unfolds.
Superman (now Kal Kent) is taking a jog with a new friend he makes at the Fire Department. However, he has to take a stop to speak to an old friend Mr. Jonas of Jonas Investigation. He begins to help him until a certain bounty hunter swoops in. His name is Lobo, and the Trillians hired him to bring Superman back to them alive. Unfortunately for Mr. Kent, he and Mr. Jonas are unsuccessful in their attempt to fight off Lobo who delivers him successfully to the head Trillian captain. Where the issue leaves us has me more excited than ever for this story…… Superman is back in space again!
The Justice League narrative has taken a break for now which is fine because we get a cool backstory about not only Micron but Bruce Wayne as well. Micron’s mother was a paramedic who responded to a fire caused by loyal friend of Derek Powers Mr. Fix It who starts a fire to cause the death of a prominent scientist they had. However, his mother is pregnant, and the radiation affects her womb. When the young kid grows up, he discovers he has the power to change size even though, his mother constantly moves because she attributes this not to a superpower but to their houses being haunted. He eventually bumps into the Justice League, helps out and joins. While that narrative is quite powerful, the more powerful one is Bruce’s.
The writers handily expand the scope of Micron’s connection to Wayne-Powers Enterprises (now Incorporated) to show what happened to Bruce before Terry came along. It is very great to see that background expanded upon, and is definitely welcome to be revisited in the future.
For Terry though, things are the worst they have been in a while. Terry is beaten—- physically and psychologically. He is at the point of Bruce Wayne in Knightfall. He feels he has failed, and there is some great dialogue about his past inability to realize his actions affect others— especially Dana and his family. This internal dialogue definitely seems to foreshadow some things that are going to come down the wayside next issue… When Terry is at his weakest and about to be killed, Dick Grayson swoops into save the day. It reminds me a bit of Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin where he solidly characterized Dick as having perfect timing in real life. That’s a nice continuity connection made, and definitely saves Terry’s butt. However, it takes a little bit before he is able to come around. Meanwhile, Catwoman and Vigilante take off when they are threatened by the police. Vigilante (who is turning out to be more and more) an interesting future developing character, and tells Gordon that he will “be seeing her.”
JT Krul seems to be telling a bigger picture story for Superman the more I read it. I am starting to see (beyond the awesome cameos of different characters sewed in) the bigger world he is creating for Superman. It is a challenge not having much to go on for this futuristic version beyond the Tom DeFalco one-shot but he knows the voice of Kent, and it definitely shows. His partner in crime Howard Porter (competitor in crime of Dustin Nguyen’s for the cover) does a fantastic job with this issue. It’s his best yet, and his pencils (with inking from John Livesay) are incredible.
Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen are continuously doing great work with these backup stories. They add more scope to the team, and are making me think some of this may play in future big stories down the line. None of it seems unintentional, and I really appreciate their ability to expand it to include minor subplots like Bruce’s. Fiona Staples does a fantastic job. She has an influence from Mr. Nguyen but has her own style to it. It is fun to see her storytelling abilities show with great writers like this.
Adam Beechen writes perhaps his best issue for Terry. After the last issue (which blew my mind), I didn’t think he could top it but I am a sucker for human psychological monologues, and when he told me in an interview I did with him in November that Terry was going to feel some ramifications, this definitely seemed to be what he was talking about but it seems there is still more to come as I was just left awe struck until next time. There is nothing to say about Norm Breyfogle but that he is a master storyteller with his partner in crime Beechen. He masters every design of every Beyond character, and with Andrew Elder’s colors recreates a not so distant future that every day seems more real.
Suffice it to say, I am never surprised by the Beyond team…. They leave a Beyond fan satisfied until next time.