Batman Beyond #32 Slowly Drops Some Tidbits

by James Ferguson

Terry has been taken down by the new villain (or villains), Splitt. Bruce Wayne is of no help as he’s not acting like himself, so Matt has to think fast to help out his brother. Terry is rather independent, but can he survive without the help of his mentor?

It’s pretty obvious what happened to Bruce Wayne after a visit to Arkham Asylum in the previous issue. This frustrates me a little as it’s being drawn out to such an extent. A similar approach occurred during the recent Scarecrow arc. We can all see where this is going and we’re taking the long way to get there. Obviously, writer Dan Jurgens knows what he’s doing in telling this story, however I have to wonder how it would flow if it was condensed into a shorter arc.

If anyone has even seen Bruce Wayne before, they would know that he’s not acting normal. He’s calling Matt “kid” and could not care less about Terry suffering in the field. I feel like the Alfred AI should have immediately quarantined him when he asked to go to a night club / casino. You’d think that Bruce would have safety protocols in effect to prevent his identity being stolen like this because it’s happened before.

Speaking of the AI, I love the style used for its dialogue. Letterer Travis Lanham has a cursive font that feels so very proper. It instantly brings to mind the dignified butler long after he’s gone.

In any case, the real story in Batman Beyond #32 is about Splitt. We still don’t know much about him / them but the little that we learn in this issue makes for an intriguing concept. From the looks of it, they were in some kind of accident that merged their bodies into one entity, not unlike Firestorm. Unlike the hero, they’re deteriorating and they’re stealing stuff to help fix this problem. Of course, if Terry learned about this, he’d probably try to help them, but the first rule of super hero team ups is that you have to fight before you can come together.

The design for Splitt is simple, yet effective. Colorist Chris Sotomayor shows how there’s a light side and a dark side to the duo in how they contrast with one another. They have separate color schemes that come together when they merged into one being.

Terry looks larger than life in costume. This goes against the design we’re used to with the character, which is a sleeker, more slender approach. Artist Rick Leonardi puts his own spin on the design, which makes the hero look far more intimidating and menacing. He’s more like the traditional Batman in this approach. Inker Ande Parks brings this out, highlighting the muscles that stand out through the suit.

While I can get behind the design in costume, Terry and the others look a little awkward in their street clothes. They’re often shown in unnatural positions or with features that are not fully formed. Their facial features are also rather bland, like they’re mannequins positioned in a display instead of having a serious conversation about the new villain terrorizing the city.

There are some pretty cool elements at work in this arc. We’re just taking a good amount of time to get there. I’m anxious to see how Bruce Wayne gets out of his conundrum and what’s next for Splitt. Terry’s independent attitude could come back to haunt him as he’s sidelined Matt and pushed Ten away, so I’m betting we’ll see him needing help soon. There are echoes of his mentor in his current state of mind.

Batman Beyond #32 from DC Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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