False Face has already had some fun as Bruce Wayne. Now the villain has assumed the identity of Terry McGinnis and all the toys that come with being Batman. As Bruce and Terry’s brother Matt watch in horror, False Face tries to make a deal with Splitt and cash out. Fortunately, the former Dark Knight still has a few friends in high places.
This arc in Batman Beyond has been a little drawn out as we can tell where things are going. Fortunately, writer Dan Jurgens adds some excitement in this issue with a guest star I’ve been wondering about for some time. Remember, this is set decades in the future and we’ve seen some notable heroes pop up over the course of all the Batman Beyond series to date.
This appearance is a much needed shot in the arm after Splitt explains his / their entire origin story. This is a lot of exposition to sift through and it sucks all the momentum out of the comic. This is pretty ironic since Splitt is a speedster. We were in the middle of a heated battle then a tense conversation as False Face pulls some strings, only to be treated to a history lesson, even though the origin is pretty interesting.
Now that we’ve confirmed that Splitt is two people trapped in a single body, it makes letterer Travis Lanham’s work with the character all the more revealing. Splitt’s speech comes out in word balloons with a shadow of sorts. It’s like there’s an echo. This makes total sense as there are really two people speaking at once. This is a brilliant effect.
Colorist Chris Sotomayor shows off Splitt’s speedster powers with a faded look to the after-images the villain leaves behind. I like how they become more and more transparent the farther they get from the character.
I do like how artist Rick Leonardi differentiates False Face from Terry’s usual look. There’s a mischievous glint in his eye and his mouth is often contorted into a sly smirk. These are expressions that you never seen with the signature Batman cowl so you can tell that something’s up. There’s some added detail in this character that is lacking from most of Batman Beyond #35. People are often shown as amorphous blobs lacking any real form.
Melanie (aka Ten from the Royal Flush Gang) jumps into action to help out. I hope that we see her take on a different identity soon as she can’t keep running around in her old costume now that she’s reformed. She’s become part of the Bat Family and her relationship with Terry mirrors Bruce’s affair with Catwoman. It’s a nice touch that I hope to see explored further. Inker Ande Parks brings out the serious nature of Melanie’s decision to join the fray.
There are some interesting elements at work in this story arc, but it feels rather disjointed and drawn out. This is not the first time I’ve said this during this series. I have to wonder how this storyline would have played out if it was told in half the space. Hopefully the surprise appearance of a guest star at the end of this issue will speed things up a bit.