Just in time for Batman Beyond (the show)’s 20th anniversary, Dan Jurgens brings back the ur-Batvillain, the Joker. To me, this is a great addition. My biggest problem with the show (which I still really enjoy) was how much stronger it was as a Spider-Man show than a Batman one.
I think we can all stipulate to that. New hero learning the ropes, having trouble balancing his normal life with his superhero one who really loves the superhero side, that’s pretty much the classic Spider-Man archetype. Not that it was bad! There were some gems in the show – anything with the Royal Flush Gang or Shriek was guaranteed to be solid. But the tighter the show hewed to the DCAU as a whole – in anything with a throwback villain, or “The Call,” or the crossovers – the more it felt like Terry stepping into the role of Batman and the less it felt like Terry learning how to become a super hero.
I think Jurgens gets this. He got a ton of acclaim for his post-Rebirth Superman work on Action Comics, but he’s also been building a coherent possible future for the entire DCU for almost five years now. The guy’s been writing and drawing high profile DC characters for a generation, so he’s got a solid handle on the entire universe. He’s one of the few people who can drop the Joker into a future Batman story without it feeling derivative or contrived, and the strongest evidence of that is how far back he’s been seeding the Joker’s return – almost since Rebirth started.
DC sent over a preview of the new issue, #28, where Joker pits a cyborg under his control against Batman and the brand new Robin. Here’s what they have to say about the issue:
BATMAN BEYOND #28 written by DAN JURGENSart by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUNDcover by PASQUAL FERRYvariant cover by CHRIS STEVENSThe Joker prepares to deliver his fatal punchline: everything and the kitchen sink hits the fan for Batman and Robin, and even with Dick Grayson’s help, the Dynamic Duo of tomorrow and Bruce Wayne may not stand a chance. Will Joker turn Terry’s brother into the new Jason Todd? Is now a good time for Terry and Bruce to clash? And why are Neo-Gothamites cheering on the Clown Prince? Will anyone survive “The Final Joke”?
This TAS inspired cover is really nice. Take a look.