Batman Beyond Universe #12 Comic Book Review


This week’s Batman Beyond Universe, written by Kyle Higgins and Christos Gage, marked the explosive conclusion of the Justice Lords Beyond storyline. For those who aren’t familiar the differences between the Justice League and the Justice Lords, here’s a brief explanation:

First appearing in a two-part episode of the animated Justice League show (2001-2004), the Justice Lords came into existence in a separate DC universe after a series of tragic events led their Superman to go bananas. The most integral event to spark such was the election of Lex Luthor as the President of the United States. Once in office, Luthor passed a bunch of laws that were detrimental to the rights of his citizens and that ultimately led to the death of that universe’s Flash. Upon finding this out, Superman charged into the White House, where, after tolerating Luthor’s smugness for as long as he could, he murdered the president by essentially melting his face with heat vision. He then declared that he and the remaining five members of the Justice League (Batman, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern), would basically rule as totalitarian dictators and would be known as the Justice Lords, i.e. Lord Superman, Lord Batman, etc.

Everybody all caught up? Right on.

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So, since the Batman Beyond cartoon went off the air in 2001, pretty much all written incarnations of him, including the most recent Batman Beyond Universe,  have been a continuation of that storyline. The last four issues of the series (9-12) have served as a crossover between the  Justice Lords and Batman Beyond in which Batman crosses into their universe and essentially the entire team of Justice Lords crosses into ours. Chaos ensues.

However, rather than think of one side as “good” and one as “bad,” it’s really more accurate to say that the two Justice Parties represent different philosophies on crime-fighting that just don’t mix. Our Justice League fights villainy by referring to the classic concepts: truth, honor, love, and a general respect for human liberty. The Justice Lords, on the other hand, take a much more “hard-handed” approach to crime in that once an individual steps out-of-line, he or she has forfeited the right to communal liberties.

The one exception to the good guy, bad guy rule is Lord Superman. Lord Superman is straight-up corrupt, and has shed any morsel of humanity he may have at one point possessed. He literally considers himself a god among men. As such, the plot of this issue primarily revolves around the typical megalomania of a superhero-turned-villian, and Batman’s mission to reunite with his Justice League in order to knock Lord Superman off his proverbial throne.

This comic was very enjoyable. While there is absolutely a deeper story that serves as the backbone to the issue, the book really shines during its action sequences. With popping, vibrant illustrations by Dexter Soy and Thony Silas, the issue is, at its core, simply a good, old-fashioned example of super-powered people beating the snot out of each other. Plus, there is the introduction of Batman Beyond’s Kryptonite Suit, which is quite possibly the coolest outfit I’ve seen since Marvel’s unveiling of Agent Venom.

These shots, intertwined with the layered, sometimes heartfelt story — including the first time that Lord Superman and Wonder Woman meet their son, Zod, and a quick glimpse into how Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon’s lives could have played out if they had stayed together — provide a very complete reading and viewing experience for audiences in a range of ages.

The only quandary I have with this issue (and actually with the whole mini-series) is that the story jumps in and out of locations and changes focus on many different characters fairly often. On more than a couple occasions, I had to backtrack in order to keep up with where certain groups of heroes actually were in relation to their respective universes. The illustrators and pencilers do their best to alert readers to these changes by changing fonts and color schemes, but even so, these transitions are just a little bit jarring.

Apart from that, I’d recommend giving this series a read if you can get ahold of it.