Dan Jurgens’ first volume of ‘Batman Beyond’ is a refreshing dimension
By Jonathan Pabico, Senior Columnist
Comic book lovers will be upset to find out that DC Comics will cancel writer Dan Jurgens’ Batman Beyond graphic novel series. Despite this news, Jurgens’ first volume Batman Beyond: Escaping the Grave offers a refreshing take on its classic universe with a satisfying entry featuring well-realized characters. This story takes place in futuristic city Neo-Gotham with a new Batman, Terry McGinnis. While fighting criminal gangs led by young villain Terminal, McGinnis must also deal with the possible return of the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker.
The comic’s action scenes burst with thrilling—sometimes whimsical—artwork in overlapping panels paired with vividly coloured environments. The staging of characters, layered with the edgy absurdities and close-ups in every frame, boldly immerses the reader in each fight. They’re elevated by Batman’s snide humour that portrays him as an enjoyable youth like Spider-Man.
Volume one has an upbeat tone that provides a new spin on its titular lead that makes him better than just a brooding Dark Knight. The comic focuses less on McGinnis’ tragic backstory and more on the positive family dynamic he has with his little brother, Matt. This bond conveys how loved ones remind you that compassion always outweighs the world’s troubles.
Batman also struggles to mend his estranged relationship with girlfriend Dana that further grounds his superhero life. Presenting his private life in these ways add emotional textures that really make this vigilante a genuinely believable character.
As for Terminal, he has a twisted philosophy and an origin story that gives him some decent layers—although he lacks strong psychological duality with Batman. His motives are cliché yet, as a villain, he’s deceptive and cunning enough to keep readers hooked with his devious agenda.
The graphic novel’s central theme is how unresolved issues from crime and the past can shape an entire city. The comic takes a closer look at its young characters as they try to find closure with their backstories or the legacy of the original Batman, Bruce Wayne, and his endless battles with the Joker. This approach creates a social subtext about what it means for a generation to live their lives as they carry the history of their predecessors.
The script, however, has a few references to secondary characters and could have been developed further. The comic loses a bit of its accessibility for readers unfamiliar with Batman Beyond, but that won’t impede them in learning about this superhero universe.
Overall, the graphic novel excels with a more upbeat Batman that provides an exciting energy for young readers. Dan Jurgens skillfully builds his plot with exciting twists that allow you to eagerly lose yourself in the story’s world. As sad as it is that DC Comics will be discontinuing Jurgens’ series this year, Batman Beyond: Escaping the Grave proves why his comics lasted as long as they did. The 50th and last issue will be released December 22. The first volume is currently available on Hoopla.