Discarded by False-Face with yesterday’s trash, Terry McGinnis awakens with no memory, no identification, and no credits. With his mind now restored, and a brutal Batman Beyond impaling petty thugs with batarangs, will Bruce Wayne be able to deduce what happened to his protégé? Or is Terry destined to roam the streets of Gotham City under his new name: Slate?
“I should have realized it earlier Matt. That man is not Terry.”
One of the problems that I have had with this story-line has been the suspension of disbelief required to accept that these characters don’t recognize the obvious intruder. In the previous issues, it was easy to cut the other characters some slack. The team is not knowledgeable about False-Face’s abilities nor is False-Bruce’s behavior all that extreme. They immediately recognize that there is something wrong with Bruce and act once his erratic behavior becomes too much of a problem.
It is more challenging to cut Bruce slack throughout Batman Beyond #34 for a few reasons. Despite his recent encounter with False-Face, Bruce is still the World’s Greatest Detective. Although entering the manor through a window is a minor misstep for False-Face, brutally attacking one criminal and impaling another in the neck with a batarang is infinitely more egregious. One could argue that Bruce could still be recovering from his time in Arkham. However, Bruce spends time describing False-Face’s abilities to the rest of the team. Given False-Face’s brutal behavior and his knowledge of the villain’s abilities, Bruce should have deduced his identity long before the end of the issue.
Although it will be interesting to see what develops from False-Face’s new alliance, I find Terry’s new conflict more engaging. After befriending the criminal that False-Batman brutalized, Terry offers to help the man and take him to a diner. Once they arrive, the man attempts to rob the waitress. Always the hero, Terry tries to stop the criminal. Unfortunately, he is immediately knocked out by a backhanded pistol-whip. After returning to consciousness, Terry discovers he has been framed for the waitresses’ murder. It will be interesting to see how our hero will find a way to exonerate himself of this crime without the assistance of Bruce Wayne and the rest of his Bat-Family.
“Hey! Was that Batman? Schway.”
Rick Leonardi’s pencils shine in this issue as False-Batman brutalizes all the villains he encounters. One of the best aspects of his work with Batman Beyond #34 has been his use of facial expressions. False-Batman’s facial expressions are more sinister than Terry’s during battle. The villain takes great pleasure in doling out punishment. These expressions are a great visual cue indicating that the man under the mask is not Terry McGinnis.
Despite the required suspension of disbelief, Batman Beyond #34 is a good continuation of the “Divide, Conquer, and Kill” story-line. Terry’s new conflict is particularly interesting as he will have to find a solution without the rest of the Bat-Family. Additionally, Leonardi’s artwork does an excellent job of visually indicating that this is not the same person under the mask.