Batman Beyond #11 By Dan Jurgens and Bernard Chang
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
A riveting, action-packed conclusion to this surprisingly moving tale of a father and two sons who would be Batman.
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Emotionally Riveting Conclusion
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BATMAN BEYOND has come a long way in the last year. Dan Jurgens’ run on the Rebirth iteration of Terry McGinnis follows a very similar path to his current run on ACTION COMICS. The first arc, featuring Superman’s battle with Doomsday, started off strong but went on for way too long. So did the first BATMAN BEYOND arc; a storyline stuffed with endless Batman vs. Jokerz fights and not much else. Thankfully, both series improved considerably with their second arcs. BATMAN BEYOND #11 marks the triumphant conclusion to its storyline.

The “Rise of the Demon” storyline has scored a major win by reintroducing an adult Damian Wayne, now the Demon’s Head and current leader of the League of Shadows. Damian immediately upped the storytelling by challenging Terry McGinnis in both body and spirit. The two have been locked in a vicious battle to the death, with a conflicted and desperate Bruce Wayne caught in the middle. The extended showdown has allowed Jurgens’ depth of characterization to greatly expand.

Batman Beyond #11
Courtesy of DC Comics

BATMAN BEYOND #11 concludes the battle between Terry and Damian. Terry’s prototype battle suit has corrupted his mind by feeding him commands that provoke his impulses. The suit pushes him to the limit, making lethal force a valid option. Damian, as the new Demon’s Head, has taken up his grandfather’s mad plan to nuke the entire world. On top of this, he’s severely angered by Bruce’s decision to “replace” him as the successor to Batman. Damian seeks to prove his might by destroying Terry, thus proving himself to be the “true” Batman.

Bruce is trapped with the two of them on the snowy Himalayan Mountains, watching helplessly. He takes it upon himself to try and shut down Damian’s ICBMs before they launch into the stratosphere. He’s stopped by Koru, son of Ubu, the loyal henchman who died in service to Ra’s Al Ghul. As Koru prepares to avenge his father by murdering the original Batman, Damian must make a choice: take his rightful place as the heir of Ra’s or save his father, along with all of humanity.

Writer Dan Jurgens has a wonderful ability to channel nuanced characterization in the midst of chaotic action. For this reason, ACTION COMICS and BATMAN BEYOND are often two of the most purely enjoyable titles in the Rebirth pantheon. There’s never a dull moment, and the non-stop action is always supplemented with meaningful character drama. Jurgens, who’s famous for writing THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN, is truly a classically trained comic book writer. His stories always operate on high adrenaline and pulp sensibilities. Reading a Jurgens comic always feels like flying back to the Golden Age. Jurgens’ sensibilities work to propel the conflict of BATMAN BEYOND #11, which on the surface is simply Damian and Terry beating the crap out of each other. But there’s so much more going on underneath.

Damian is the real star of the show. It’s been such a thrill to see him back in action. His rivalry with Terry feels totally authentic to what we know about him from the present-day canon. Damian has always exhibited a certain amount of jealousy whenever his father appeared to show favor to Nightwing or one of the other Robins. Damian loves to remind his fellow Robins that he’s the one destined to become Batman. It, therefore, resonates that the actual Batman successor — Terry — would infuriate Damian beyond belief.

READ: For a sneak peek, check out the ComicsVerse’s exclusive preview of BATMAN BEYOND #11, straight from DC Comics!

Jurgens successfully rewrites Damian as both a child and an adult. His arrogance and fighting prowess have both increased exponentially, but his weakness remains the same — Bruce. Batman was always the anchor that brought Damian back down to reality, and the same is true here. Despite years of planning with Ra’s Al Ghul, Damian ultimately throws away everything to save his father from Koru. And it turns out that Damian’s entire plot was really just a stunt to get Bruce’s attention. He’s got a new title and a fancy new costume, but at the end of the day, Damian still wants to be just like his dad.

Batman Beyond #11
Courtesy of DC Comics

Terry doesn’t fare quite as well on the character development front. In the first few issues of this arc, Terry’s battle with his suit seemed to be very important, mirroring the conflict from the classic BATMAN BEYOND TV episode “Lost Soul.” But that conflict all but disappeared as soon as Damian came on the scene. Batman’s son has completely stolen the show, and for good reason. Jurgens is giving us the first canonical portrayal of Damian’s adult life. It was therefore absolutely essential for Damian’s portrayal to feel authentic and justified. Luckily, Jurgens nailed it, but Terry’s arc fell by the wayside.

Terry does ultimately beat the rogue suit in BATMAN BEYOND #11, but the moment he tears off the mask doesn’t really resonate. It’s sandwiched in between too many other fast-paced moments. Nevertheless, it’s great to see Batman and Damian come together by the issue’s end. They team-up to take out the ICBMs and ultimately reconcile. Bruce shares a lovely final scene with Terry and Damian, referring to them as his two sons. It’s perhaps the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen Bruce Wayne do. As Terry points out, the former Batman is growing soft in his old age. And it’s about damn time.

The plot of BATMAN BEYOND #11 is fairly straightforward, but there’s one important point to mention: I think it was a mistake to include ICBMs as Damian’s weapons of choice. Jurgens appears to be going for a bit of political commentary as Bruce attempts to disarm them. In the middle of it, he says to himself “I hoped he was bluffing. That this was a show of force and nothing more.” The point is appreciated, but I think it’s out of place. After all, this isn’t a particularly political comic. The plot is unbelievably far-fetched to be commenting on world events. The reference to ICBMs is basically a throwaway. Such an important world issue should not be a throwaway. If political commentary about the fate of our world is going to be used in a comic, it should be done with subtlety and purpose.

Bernard Chang’s artwork flies off the page. His designs are bold, vivid and life-like, especially with the assistance of Marcelo Maiolo’s colors. The comic features plenty of contrasting, eye-popping colors. Every scene of the battle between Terry and Damian is aesthetically pleasing. This is thanks largely to the contrast between Terry’s black and red and Damian’s gold and green attire. Both characters’ costumes feature a new design for this arc. Damian’s costume is a twist on Ra’s Al Ghul’s old green robes, while Terry’s new Batman costume is more high-tech and futuristic than ever. The colors represent two different personalities, with Damian’s calm and precision countering Terry’s rage and aggression. Whenever the two characters clash, the bold character designs truly pop off the page.

READ: Catch up on the “Rise of the Demon” story arc with the ComicsVerse review of BATMAN BEYOND #8!

BATMAN BEYOND #11: Final Verdict

“Rise of the Demon” comes to a satisfying conclusion with BATMAN BEYOND #11. The issue successfully redeems Damian’s actions and positions him as a potential recurring character for the series. Moreover, Jurgens creates a wonderful reconciliation between Bruce and Damian. Their relationship now feels more complete than we’ve ever seen it. Sadly, Terry doesn’t experience any real character growth, and his personal storyline from earlier in the arc is left completely dangling. It’s unclear where Terry goes from here. But it’s nice to see him come to terms with Bruce Wayne’s biological son and to hear Bruce declare his love for them both.

BATMAN BEYOND #11 is another Dan Jurgens classic. This issue proves that you can have a comic packed to the brim with action, and still give your characters enough room to resonate and grow. After more than 30 years writing comics, Jurgens is still the master of his craft.

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