Batman Beyond Fixes the Biggest Problem With DC’s Legacy Heroes

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There have been a handful of second generation superheroes who truly make the part their own, and Terry McGinnis’ Batman is one of the few.

While the DC Universe is constantly playing with the status quo, Batman Beyond commits to its premise. There have been a handful of second generation superheroes who truly make the part their own, and Terry McGinnis is one of the few.

As DC Comics is setting the stage for a new wave of superheroes, fans can’t help but compare them to their predecessors. Although some readers might adjust quickly to Jon Kent’s Superman or have favor on Wally West’s Flash, it can take time before it feels like they have earned their titles. For a season, Dick Grayson AKA Nightwing took on the mantle of Batman in Battle for the Cowl, but it didn’t last as long as DC had hinted. The current next Batman, Tim Fox, might turn out to be similar. Comics have famously played with the status quo, only to revert back to what fans expect. Jon Kent and Damian Wayne might be older now, but it can seem like a matter of time until they are younger again. However, one title has shaken up canon to create an alternate DC Universe which it fully embraces.


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Expanding on the premise of the animated series, the comics’ Batman Beyond imagines a future Gotham City in which teenager Terry McGinnis is the new Dark Knight. As the comics went on for more than decade, only more changes to the DC Universe were incorporated, and none of them felt cheap or inauthentic to what had come before. As readers were used to the idea of Terry’s Batman, his characterization was just as familiar as the older version of Bruce Wayne. Eventually, Terry’s younger brother Matt broke into the Batcave, stole the Robin suit, and watched old recordings from when Bruce trained Damian. His inclusion as the new Boy Wonder similarly worked, and didn’t feel like a jarring turn of events.

The mainstream DC Universe can reimagine canon’s future from time to time with events like Future State, but Batman Beyond serves as an example for how it can be done well. Instead of playing with the same toys and adding a new coat of paint, the Beyond universe envisions a drastically different take on Gotham City. Stories might contain the occasional villain from the past, but Terry also takes on original antagonists such as Inque and Blight. When second generation heroes only continue to go up against villains who their predecessors fought, it becomes easier to compare them and feel like something’s missing.

As Terry McGinnis went onto join his own Justice League with a new roster of heroes, he continued to grow into his own. The animated Batman Beyond focused on Terry’s journey, knowing that it wouldn’t be a simple change for fans to accept. At this point, Terry McGinnis is just as much Batman as Bruce Wayne.

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