BATMAN BEYOND #13 by Bernard Chang & Marcelo Maiolo
Art 7.7
Characterization 5.5
Plot 6
Though many pieces of this issue stand out on their own, the compilation of these individual elements results in a convoluted work that ultimately fails to satisfy.
A Messy Installment
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Beware; spoilers for BATMAN BEYOND #13 abound!

It wouldn’t be a normal day for Batman if he didn’t find himself in a scuffle. So, in BATMAN BEYOND #13, Terry McGinnis, also known as the Batman of Neo-Gotham City, finds himself in a race against time. No, he’s not in a rush to diffuse a bomb threatening to wipe out Gotham, and he’s not trying to rescue a hostage eluding death. McGinnis is simply trying to make it in time to see his friend Matt participate in the Gotham Games. The question is, will Batman be able to defeat his enemies in time for the grand event?

batman beyond #13
BATMAN BEYOND #13 page 14. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Games Begin

BATMAN BEYOND #13 commences with Batman taking on Shriek in Gotham City’s underground tunnels, as Batman rushes to find supplies to smuggle into the city following the catastrophe of Brother Eye’s invasion. As he buys himself some time, Batman discovers a multitude of children who have been making a living within the tunnels. Despite their claims that the tunnels have become their home, Batman assures them that he will return them to their true home in Gotham City.

At this point, Batman thinks he’s free to finally make it to the Gotham Games. Of course, for Batman, nothing is ever that easy. After engaging the Hacker, Batman finds himself the target of a vengeful Freon. She believes that Batman was responsible for the death of her beloved Michael, so she’s out for revenge. With the assistance of the Hacker, Batman is able to take down Freon and attend the Gotham Games.

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The cover of BATMAN BEYOND #13 states that the issue contains three distinct stories, which turns out to be an interesting feature of this piece. Despite this, however, it makes for an overall chaotic narrative. There are sequences that feature the moment where Howard Hodges releases Freon, only to be killed by her vengeful wrath. It’s an intriguing moment, but it’s overshadowed by the chaotic action sequences surrounding it. The Hacker and Shriek also exemplify this narrative flaw contributing to the overall unbalanced nature of this issue.

Personally, I believe it would have been beneficial to devote entire pages to Freon’s release rather than fragments. In addition to this, there were multiple allusions to the continuous looming threat of Brother Eye. Hopefully, future entries of BATMAN BEYOND will shed more light on this challenge for Batman as well as closure regarding the children living in the tunnels.

batman beyond #13
BATMAN BEYOND #13 page 8. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of BATMAN BEYOND #13

Overall, the artwork of artist (and writer) Bernard Chang is solid. However, there are a few flaws that prove to be distracting. Similar to the narrative, the distribution of panels feels overwhelming. Because of this, it appears as though there’s too much taking place on one page. Although Marcelo Maiolo’s palette exemplifies the futuristic hues of Neo-Gotham City, the issue ultimately falls short in establishing a cohesive tone. Additionally, the portrayals of the primary characters can appear contradictory at times, contributing to the overall inconsistency of the piece.

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The costume designs of Batman, The Hacker, and Freon are perhaps the highlight of the imagery of BATMAN BEYOND #13. They embody tactical elements that enhance each individual character’s prowess. With this, the action sequences that these characters engage in alongside the Hacker are engaging on their own. However, like many other sequences in this particular issue, the excitement of the action is taken away by the chaos of all the other intertwined narratives. As a result, various elements of this entry excel independently. Unfortunately, the emphasis on the three narrative structure of BATMAN BEYOND #13 results in some major setbacks.

What Lies Beyond

For the most part, BATMAN BEYOND #13 feels like a standalone issue. With this though, there are many subtle hints at the larger arc, particularly ones that address the aftershocks of Brother Eye. The question now ,though, is how long will we have to wait to see the narrative of this series reestablish itself?

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