Matt Goes On His First Official Mission As Robin In Batman Beyond #20

by James Ferguson

Matt got his first taste of super heroics and that genie cannot go back in the bottle. Now Terry is faced with a tough choice. He can try to stifle his brother’s thirst for vigilantism which will inevitably lead to the kid doing it on his own, or he can take the boy under his wing and train him. Reluctantly, Terry takes Matt out on a call as there’s a hostage situation at the police station and Commissioner Barbara Gordon is under fire.

This dynamic is great to watch as for the first time ever, Batman and Robin are brothers by blood. Terry is in the mentor role and he hasn’t fully accepted that yet. He was one as excitable and stubborn as Matt is now. After all, Terry’s first outing as Batman came after he stole the suit from Wayne Manor. It’s not like he was asked to put on the cape and cowl. He took it and forced Bruce’s hand. Matt has done the same thing, albeit with more training and homework than Terry did before jumping into the role.

The conversation between Terry and Bruce is interesting. Writer Dan Jurgens fills this with intriguing dialogue that reveals much about the two characters and how they see the world in this future. Bruce has been using children as allies in his never-ending war on crime for ages so he has all the justifications that one would expect. If he had more of a sense of humor, he would probably be hiding a grin here and there, but Bruce handles this seriously, laying out the facts to Terry like he was a lawyer in court.

I think Terry is more mad that Bruce did this without asking him first. In Bruce’s defense, he didn’t jump to this decision and he made this call to save Terry’s life so it did all work out in the end, however now Matt is in the line of fire.

The design for the Robin suit is pretty awesome. It’s a smaller, more rounded version of the Batman suit which is fitting for Matt. Artist Marco Castiello captures the youthful energy that has come to define this character. Matt is almost always shone with a huge grin on his face. Wouldn’t you be smiling if you just got a super suit that could fly?

This again speaks to the dynamic between the two. Batman is stoic and dark while Robin is full of life. He brings the Caped Crusader out of the shadows. Colorist Wil Quintana nails this in a great full page spread as this new Dynamic Duo head out on a mission. Robin pops off the page in vibrant colors while Batman is nothing but black and red.

The scene at the police station gets serious very quickly, contrasting with Matt’s excitement earlier in the issue. This is real now. Bullets are flying and people are dying. Even the artwork takes on a more realistic look, especially with Scab, the member of the Jokerz that is shooting up the place. He seems on edge and erratic which makes him even more dangerous.

My only issue with this sequence, and the whole comic is that Barbara Gordon looks way too young. Unless they de-aged her after the New 52 or Rebirth, she was sporting grey hair and wrinkles in Batman Beyond. Here she looks like she’s maybe forty.

I have a guess as to where this storyline is going based on the final page. If it’s true, it will be cool to see this character in this futuristic setting. If I’m wrong, we’re still getting a great expansion of Batman Beyond, taking it to new places and really shaking things up in a good way. I was already a big fan of this world and this series has only cemented my love for these characters.

Batman Beyond #20 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.