Batman Beyond #34 Exposes False Face’s Ruse, But Is It Too Late?

by James Ferguson

False Face has hit the jackpot during his jailbreak from Arkham Asylum. First he assumed Bruce Wayne’s identity and now he’s taken on Terry McGinnis’, donning the cape and cowl. Can a villain take on the role of a hero? Or will he use these newfound gadget and gizmos to a nefarious end? You can probably guess which one he chooses.

I’ve criticized this storyline for how drawn out it’s been and this issue gives us more of that style. It feels like we’re treading water with some very little movement. We’re a few steps ahead of Bruce and Terry since it’s easy to see where this is going. I’m hoping for some twists and turns to mix things up, but this seems to be on the rails a bit.

That being said, it takes Bruce a fraction of the time to figure out that Terry is not himself, but it’s still too long for someone once called “the world’s greatest detective.” I feel like Bruce should have contingency plans for everything, including this. He has first hand experience with having his identity stolen thanks to Hush.

As Bruce is figuring things out, he meets Terry’s careless nature with anger. Inker Ande Parks drives this point home with an intense look from the former Dark Knight. You can practically see the veins popping in his forehead as his brow is furrowed and his face contorts. He may be old, but he’s still tough as nails.

Letterer Travis Lanham emphasizes this as well as Bruce has to reinforce his rules to do no harm. The words are bolded showing how much he believes in this mantra. Of course, he has broken quite a few bones in his day, so he should probably work on the phrasing.

Artist Rick Leonardi gives False Face Terry a different look and style. His face contorts into wry expressions as he practically rolls his eyes when speaking with Bruce or Matt. I envision him as a snotty gangster at times in how he carries himself. This effect extends to Batman as well, with a slightly comedic look that contrasts against the usual dark nature of the costume.

While Leonardi excels at the close-ups and action sequences, the scenes with the regular non-heroes often look awkward. Characters are shown in awkward positions or with disproportionately sized limbs. This makes for an inconsistent reading experience.

Colorist Chris Sotomayor delivers a standout sequence when Terry taps into his infrared lens. This allows the would-be hero to see through a roof at Splitt committing a robbery below. It’s shown in bright purples, reds, and yellows with these small squares everywhere. This highlights the sci-fi nature of this Batman’s suit and all its bells and whistles.

While False Face presents a very real threat, Splitt is still around causing problems. We might finally see these two plot threads come together. Writer Dan Jurgens adds another challenge as the real Terry is wandering the streets of Neo-Gotham with no memory. This has immediately become the most pressing concern as we enter what appears to be the second half of this storyline. I’m hoping things move quicker as we wrap this up.

Batman Beyond #34 from DC Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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