Think what you may, haters, but BATMAN BEYOND has been and remains to be a terrific continuation of the whole Batman mythos. Having Bruce Wayne finally too old to wear the cape and the cowl and, instead, having to serve as a mentor to a surrogate-in-training presents an infinite number of situations upon which any storyteller can step in, establish a winning premise, and carry out a terrific narrative. Plus, it’s the future, so the technology knows no bounds! This Batman’s utility belt is no longer confined to gadgets that can fit in a pouch; indeed, the entire suit has been outfitted with so enough ‘smart’ technology to make James Bond blush. And, you bet, I’d be first in line should DC Comics and Warner Bros. decide that BATMAN BEYOND finally deserves a film franchise; the TV program which started this franchise was nothing short of exceptional, and one can only hope that a big budget flick up on the silver screen would look downright unbeatable.
In the meantime, I’ll keep picking up the comics – digital or otherwise – until Terry McGinnis gets his day in the sun … or is that the dark?
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, this ain’t it! I’d encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come’, then read on …)
BATMAN – aka Terry McGinnis – has been so busy cleaning up the streets of Gotham that he’s let his personal life fall apart. He hardly sees his family any more; he’s at odds with his girlfriend, Dana; and he’s sorely in need of some time off. However, a sudden emergence of multiple gangs bearing ‘the Jokerz’ motif makes McGinnis believe that there’s something greater afoot on the streets, and, before it’s all said and done, the young man will have an entirely new respect for what wearing the mantle of the Bat requires.
I could go on and on about my love, appreciation, and respect for this franchise, but odds are that, if you’re here and reading this, you most likely already share in the love for all things Bat or, at least, Batman Beyond. 10,000 CLOWNS isn’t perfect – there’s an awful lot of set-up and ‘world establishment’ that I personally would like to have trimmed, but, as they say, such is life. The big reveal in those opening pages essentially boils down to the Jokerz Gang being much larger than what had been previously known (there are ‘franchises’ of the Jokerz all around the world); this lays the foundation for the introduction of an all-new character, the Joker King … but I won’t spoil it for you by divulging his identity. Suffice it to say, it’s a nice development – high on the ‘neato-keen’ scale – but it could’ve used a bit more thought in the creative department as this somewhat regular old human being experiences little difficulty in standing toe-to-toe with Batman throughout much of the conflict. (Couldn’t he have had some cyber-enhanced muscles or something?!?!)
Regular BATMAN BEYOND writer Adam Beechen continues to work wonders with this future version of Gotham City, Batman, and the whole Bat-gang; and Norm Breyfogle – long absent from Bat-pages – is back, bringing his artistic slant to BEYOND’s simply drawn but elegant almost-nouveau universe. Together, they’re a force to be reckoned with, and I can only put in my two cents hoping and praying that DC will continue this title for, at least, centuries … or at least until this future is upon us.
BATMAN BEYOND: 10,000 CLOWNS is published by DC Comics. The story is written by Adam Beechen; the art is by Norm Breyfogle; the coloring is by Andrew Elder; and the lettering is by Saida Temofonte. This trade paperback collects the issues which previously appeared in single magazine form BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #1-13. It all comes with a cover price of $16.99.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. BATMAN BEYOND: 10,000 CLOWNS starts out slow, taking great pains (probably more than needed) to establish this world again along with these characters and a few new ones as well as a handful of respectful cameos. However, once the actual arc for 10,000 CLOWNS begins, it all gets wonderfully down and dirty real fast, with the new age Batman – Terry McGinnis – having to put aside some of his perceptions and join forces with a whole new Bat-company in order to even consider surviving the day. From that point on, it’s an epic tale – told on an epic scale – about personal discovery and justice for all. Sadly, there are a few pieces of the whole puzzle that are left dangling – clearly, these bits are part & parcel of a greater continuing story involving what lay ahead in this universe – and this is sometimes one of the negatives to purchasing a trade paperback collection: you only get about 90% of the story. But for all intents and purposes, 10,000 CLOWNS is started and ended here, though methinks Terry and Bruce will be dealing with fallout from this adventure in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
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About the reviewer
What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops". … more