“My name is Terry McGinnis. This city is my home. Neo-Gotham. Old-timers still call it Gotham City.”
Terry McGinnis returns as Batman and he faces some old foes while recounting his origin and rise to the cowl of the Bat.
As with much of the Rebirth titles, Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1 does an excellent job introducing new readers to the title while also recapping previous events. However, unlike Marvel or Valiant, DC has made it a point not to include the recap in a paragraph before the actual bulk of the comic begins. No, DC weaves the recaps into the story and writer Dan Jurgens does a great job.
Much like Raven #1, Jurgens pushes the story forward by having Terry act as the narrator. It’s a great tool that allows Jurgens to not only give us a recap of the story, but to allow him to build up Terry’s character as well. With Terry as narrator, Jurgens exposes Terry’s range of emotions whether it is anger, remorse, or love. And it is raw.
The one drawback to having Terry narrate is his supporting cast is just that, a supporting cast. Jurgens introduces them and gives them a couple of lines, but we don’t really get to know them or see how deep Terry’s relationship with them is.
Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1 has plenty of action; the first half leaps from action page to action page, but it isn’t all one sequence. Jurgens, along with artist Ryan Sook, mix in past and present. It actually has a nice flow to it with Jurgens using Terry’s narration to transition nicely. It also helps that colorist Jeremy Lawson applies a filter to differentiate between past and present. He gives the past a graying, grainy look like something out of an old tube television from the 60s. The technique is so effective there is even an inset panel of the present on an entire page within the past which acts as a transition back from the past and into the present.
There is only one major slip-up in the flow and that occurs toward the end of the book. It’s a harsh transition from a fight scene with Batman to a hostage situation. You are expecting Batman in the hostage situation given the fight, but he is nowhere to be seen. It can definitely throw you for a loop.
Sook’s artwork is very solid. During one of the flashback scenes he expertly mirrors Bruce and Terry using an inset blow-up of their eyes with the fire raging within. It shows how similar these two are without needing any further elaboration.
If there is one complaint is we don’t really get to see much of Neo-Gotham. There are only a few panels that actually show the futuristic city with flying cars. Most of the issue could be occurring in modern day Gotham. Even the inside of an apartment looks like something you would see on a sitcom and the cell phones haven’t been upgraded at all.
The character designs are solid, especially the Jokerz gang members. Sook gives us plenty of different looks for the members and they all look unique rather than clown clones. This really ups their danger factor and even gives each of them a different personality based on their different clown style choices.
Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1 is another solid entry into Rebirth. Dan Jurgens and Ryan Sook lay out a solid introduction with an excellent use of narrative recap to introduce new readers as well as provide a recap for veterans. There is plenty of high flying action mixed in with a little bit of investigative work (there could have been more). The characterization of Terry is done very well, although his supporting cast does need a little more time to grow. The art was solid and the number of different types of Jokerz gang members really showcases the threat they are. It’s a solid entry into the future and has a cliffhanger ending that you just have to read!
- Terry’s narration
- Jokerz gang members’ unique styles
- Great use of a color filter to transition between past and present
- One harsh transition towards the end of the book
- Lack of characterization of supporting cast
- Not enough Neo-Gotham