In the great Marvel/DC debate I had always come down on the side of DC Comics. This was always an unpopular opinion among my friends, but when it came down to it I always liked the characters more: Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Booster Gold, Martian Manhunter, the Batman Family. I could always name and tell the character histories of the DC Universe way more than Marvel, and I was happy that way. DC Comics were a part of my childhood, with the glorious animated universe produced in the 90s and early 2000s: Batman TAS, Static Shock, Justice League, and above all, Batman Beyond.
DC has not always been an easy company to love, however. Their editorial decisions, public policies and marketing decisions were always head-scratching, if not straight out offensive. And for the most part, I stood by quietly or tried to weakly defend bad decisions, constantly trying to showcase the best the company had to offer. I stood by during the New 52, during flipfloping and firing of talented writers for no understandable reason, even during that disdainful Harley Quinn contest that sexualized suicide. And mostly I did this because most of this crap didn’t touch in any way or form my favorite series, Batman Beyond. For years the Beyondverse was sort of the bastard child of the DCU. Wildly popular, but constantly told that Terry’s animated adventures would never become canon of the larger universe. In spite of this they begrudgingly released Hush Beyond, a 6 part mini series. Yes, it was awful with terrible art, annoyingly OOC moments and stupid off and onscreen deaths of Batman Beyond’s galley of rogues, but from this pile we got Industrial Revolution, which was a lot better, and finally Batman Beyond Unlimited and Batman Beyond Universe which were glorious in art and content. It was everything fans of the animated series wanted. The tone and characterization of the show but with the gravitas and seriousness we wanted in a more adult medium. It managed to avoid every horrible cliché and stereotype associated with comics: it had interesting, non-sexualized female characters, wonderful representation of POC and fun, fascinating stories that went beyond the grit and angst that defined DC Comics in recent years. So while the regular continuity was accused of being racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist and just plain stupid (no marriages, really DC?), Batman Beyond managed to live in a happy little bubble outside the bullshit with snowball fights, Kryptonian puppy boys and snuggly relationships.
Then Future’s End happened.
Future’s End was a mini series launched during Free Comic Book Day 2014 as DC started to wind down the New 52. It was also the first time in the New 52 that Terry McGinnis was introduced as a canon character in the DCU. Hopes were high. And dashed almost immediately. The story involved Terry going back in time to stop Brother EYE, a Skynet-esque AI bent on turning humans into meat puppet/robot hybrids like that really stupid Jamie Lee Curtis movie Virus. The story line essentially rips off The Terminator in virtually every way possible with Terry playing the role of John Connor, a Batman/Joker cyborg plays Arnold Schwartzeneager and then the DCU is systematically torn apart with characters being killed and depowered in the most insulting ways possible. The climax of this fiasco is when they decide to murder Terry Mcginnis (spoiler I guess, though I am pretty much doing everything in my power to tell you to not read this disaster) and have his suit given over to Tim Drake to finish the mission of destroying Brother EYE. After this came the Convergence story line which further compressed the universes and continuity of the DCU even further with several titles being relaunched, including Batman Beyond. DC also announced that Batman Beyond would now become an official, canon member of the universe, taking his place along such stars as the original Batman, Green Lantern and Superman. Of the disaster that was Future’s End, I was thrilled that they were fixing it by bringing the story back. It’s amazing just how wrong a person can be.
For you see, friends and fans, in this new Batman Beyond comic, Future’s End is still canon. Meaning, Terry is dead, and Tim Drake is Batman Beyond. That’s right, DC was only going to make the series official by murdering the main character. Instead of a dystopian cyberpunk future where a company has the power and Batman is a former delinquent wanting to stand up against a corrupt world, we have a depressing, miserable Terminator ripoff story line where the star is dead, and is instead replaced by a character whose own identity is stolen for this spit in the face of a series. They retconned Return of the Joker, killed off Big Barda and the rest of the Justice League and completely changed everything recognizable about the story. Matt, Terry’s little brother, Max, his best friend and Commissioner Gordon are all back and left the mourn a hopeless world were Terry is dead, much like his readers.
So my only response is this: Screw you, DC. I’m done. I can’t stand up for you anymore. I can’t defend or justify or ignore your decisions. You took my absolute favorite character, you took one of the few genuinely good series you had going for you, that was a genuine fan and financial success, and ruined it. There was nothing about Batman Beyond that was problematic or stale. The series had only been running for seven years, hell, you didn’t even have a chance to showcase most of his rogues for more than a cameo. For 75 years Bruce Wayne had been Batman with only a few issues changing this concrete fact, and you guys thought the only way to incorporate Batman Beyond was to murder the character and replace him with someone else? Even if you find some convoluted way to put things back, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. I seriously hope this series get canceled and I will tell anyone who has ever been a fan of Batman Beyond to avoid this series with a vengeance. Even if they never fix it at least a cancellation will mean a little dignity for the previous series that have already existed and we can pretend the other stuff doesn’t exist. In the meantime I’m not giving another dime to this company. If anyone needs me, I’ll be reading Squirrel Girl.