Review: Batman Beyond: Neo Year #1

Batman Beyond: Neo Year #1

I’m generally not super familiar with Batman Beyond. I never really watched the cartoon and the amount of comics I’ve read is pretty minimal. It’s a pretty fresh property for me though I know it has its dedicated fanbase. I was intrigued to go into Batman Beyond: Neo Year #1 to see how accessible it’d be for someone like me, relatively new to the property. The answer is, it’s a bit mixed.

Written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, Bruce Wayne is apparently dead and Gotham is alive!? Batman Beyond: Neo Year #1 kicks off an interesting concept where Gotham itself is a literal character manipulating its residents and taking control of its own future. I just can’t tell if this is a metaphor or literal. Terry McGinnis is at the center of the story as the new Batman attempting to continue Bruce’s legacy and deal with this new threat as his world shifts. A new CEO is in charged of Bruce’s company and the city continues to be full of unrest and crime.

It feels like there’s a lot thrown into Batman Beyond: Neo Year #1, any bit could easily be a story by itself. A questionable CEO taking over Wayne-Powers. Gotham awakening and becoming a threat to itself. Just the general unrest post Bruce. Any of it could be a hell of story but here it’s all packed in together for a start that feels a little muddled but with a lot of potential.

Kelly and Lanzing put together an intriguing start that has a lot to follow and cover but they do it in an entertaining way. The tone is an interesting one where you can feel Terry’s frustrations and tiredness as he attempts to pick up the pieces of everything that’s happened. The comic does a decent job of catching up readers giving just enough info to get by but I couldn’t help feeling like I was still missing something. A “zero issue” collecting the Batman: Urban Legends story might not have been a bad idea and maybe that’d have made this debut a bit clearer.

The art by Max Dunbar is pretty solid. With color by Sebastian Cheng and lettering by Aditya Bidikar, the comic looks nice with a futuristic vibe that reminds me of the neon Gotham of “Future State” but with a bit grimier tinge to it. The characters and designs look great delivering a future aesthetic that doesn’t feel like too much of a shift and break from the current Batman series but still feels futuristic. There’s some panels and pages that I lingered on to figure out what’s going on but that weirdly also played into my general take reading the story at times.

Batman Beyond: Neo Year #1 is an interesting start and more than enough for me to come back to check out the next issue. It just doesn’t feel quite as new reader friendly as I hoped leaving me feeling like I missed a lot. It’s not so much a start as a continuation of… something. Still, it’s an interesting continuation with a lot of potential.

Story: Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing Art: Max Dunbar
Color: Sebastian Cheng Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus Comics