The Batman of The Future was introduced in 1999. How does the character still have a devoted following today?
Around the early 2000s, there was a local tv channel called “Studio 23.” The channel was famous for broadcasting American shows on local tv. One of the shows featured on Studio 23 was a show called Batman Beyond or Batman of The Future, as it was called in some cases.
Batman Beyond was about a teenager named Terry McGinnis who stumbled upon Bruce Wayne and the Batcave after partying too much. Long story short, Terry McGinnis accidentally joins the Bat Family by pure chance due to the Jokerz Gang attacking a party that Terry was in.
The show featured an elderly Bruce Wayne, now in his 80s, living by himself in what used to be the stately Wayne Manor. What makes the show stand out from the usual Batman material is that the crew was able to age Bruce Wayne up.
We always see Bruce Wayne as this guy in his 30s-40s being the Dark Knight of Gotham and protecting the city. But what happens when he gets too old for the job?
The rest of the Bat Family did not take over the role. Nightwing is nowhere to be seen, Tim Drake moved on, and Barbare Gordon is now the Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department.
And let’s face it. Gotham City went down the drain after Batman disappeared. The city experienced a rise in the number of gangs ruining the city with the Jokerz destroying everything.
A Chance Meeting
Some folks saw the Jokerz as mere cosplayers while others saw them as legitimate criminals. Terry McGinnis rebelled against his dad’s wishes when he was grounded and decided to party with his girlfriend, Dana, when a bunch of Jokerz attacked the club he was in.
The Jokerz attack led to a chase that ended with Terry standing outside Wayne Manor when an old, grumpy Bruce Wayne told the Jokerz to get off his property.
A fight ensues between the Jokerz and the duo of Bruce and Terry and the old man and McGinnis defeat the Joker cosplayers. However, the fight results in Bruce needing to take his medicine which is inside Wayne Manor.
After Terry gives Bruce his medicine, Bruce falls asleep and Terry starts to explore the house. Terry then stumbles upon the Batcave until Bruce finds him and kicks him out.
Terry tries to convince Bruce to wear the suit again but the kid’s optimism is overshadowed by Bruce’s cynicism over the whole idea of protecting Gotham in spandex.
I don’t want to spoil you anymore beyond this point but Terry becomes Batman later on and we get new adventures with a hybrid of Spider-Man and Batman and I loved it! Now let’s get to what made the show so good.
The Beyond Bat Suit
Personally, one of the reasons why Batman Beyond stood out was the minimalist design of the Batsuit.
Unlike previous versions of the Batsuit, Terry’s Batsuit was mainly Black and Red with a few hints of gray to show off the utility belt.
Think of Terry’s suit as the Iron Man armor but soft and elastic. You get the same technology but with more freedom of movement.
Let’s not forget about the different features of the suit. The old Batsuit required a grappling hook for Batman to move around but Terry’s suit has built-in rocket boots and retractable wings
There was no cap hanging around the back anymore! Not only that, the Batsuit had tons of other gadgets but there are too many to list.
The majority of Batman stories always featured Bruce Wayne in his prime as Batman and being the Dark Knight.
However, Batman Beyond decided to deviate from the formula and gave us a fresh idea. Most of the stories involving Batman featured a young and fit Bruce but Batman Beyond went the other direction and gave us a hybrid story.
Terry McGinnis is similar to Spider-Man because he’s still learning the ropes of being the new Dark Knight of Gotham but he has the guidance of Bruce to help him.
What makes the show worth watching even more is the fact that the storyline of the show is a continuation of Batman The Animated Series. That means the DC Animated Universe is already established and we have connections from those stories to blend with the Beyond stories.
Another reason why Batman Beyond did so well was that the character roster was not limited to old characters from the Bruce Wayne era of the cartoon.
Terry had his own supporting cast to make him stand out from Bruce’s world. Unlike Bruce and his rich friends, Terry had his mom and younger brother. He also has his girlfriend Dana and close friend Max among others.
McGinnis had the chance to still be a kid unlike Bruce who devoted his life to crimefighting. Speaking of crimefighting, the show does bring back a select number of characters from the previous series such as an elder Barbara Gordon who is now Commissioner of the GCPD. Some of the villains also make a comeback including an old Bane who was now incapacitated due to poisoning and of course, The Joker!
The slew of classic villains doesn’t mean that Terry does not get his own roster of enemies. He has villains such as Inque, Shriek, Curare, Blight and more.
I do want to place a special focus on Blight though. You see, Blight is Derek Powers. The man used to be the owner of Wayne-Powers: a conglomerate created from a buyout of Wayne Tech so Derek Powers had majority ownership of the company.
However, Powers started to invest in some shady dealings that resulted in the death of Terry’s father and his father’s coworker. If it wasn’t for Powers’ evil deeds, Terry may not have become Batman in the first place.
After mentioning the costume, the characters and the storyline, we need to talk about how Batman Beyond impacted the DC Comics catalog as well.
Batman Beyond found its own niche of fans who preferred a different Batman to Bruce. No matter what platform you are watching, Batman is probably Bruce Wayne.
However the Batman Beyond series is the one iteration of the Batman character where Bruce is no longer Batman.
Many DC Comics writers have tried to replace Batman for a while but the mantle always goes back to Bruce.
Terry has been the one consistent alternative Batman for over 20 years. Batman Beyond expanded into its own comic book series during the run of the origina cartoon and continued to form new stories in webcomics and finally the most recent Rebirth series.
Comic book writers still love the concept of Terry McGinnis and the Batman of the Future. And just like Batman looks into the future in Batman Beyond, the Batman character is just one of many characters under the historic Warner Brothers catalog.
Check out some of the many activities Warner has in store to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the studio here.
Steven is a copywriter by day and blogger by night. He loves to watch the Anaheim Ducks NHL team and LOVES Linkin Park. He even has all of the band’s studio albums. You can find his sporting rants @duckygraps on Twitter
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