Review: Batman Beyond: Neo-Gothic #4

“Here There Be Monsters”
Writers: Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing
Artist: Max Dunbar
Color Artist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Review by Adam Ray

Batman Beyond Neo-Gothic #4 delivers a deep dive into the darkest parts of our heroes: inside their own hearts. The previous issue gave me an antagonist I love almost as much as The Joker, and this fungal Batman is assaulting Terry and Kyle with the most sinister attacks yet, all set to the nearly trippy colors of Beredo’s palette.

This issue just oozes intertextual references to stories past. The audacity of the fungal Batman to make a Watchmen reference within the first few pages made me jump out of my desk chair and check my copy to see if the exact wording was correct. There’s also something so wonderfully familiar about sinister plants transporting our heroes to dark chapters of their past. Whatever happened to Batman Beyond?

Callbacks to classic tales also feature in this issue’s stunning art. Scenes of the long-lost Dana amidst colorful dancers perfectly match the Batman Beyond TV show opening credits, and there’s something so bright and animated series-esque about the brief glimpse of characters swooping in to save Terry. These choices could be easily missed by some, while treasured by others. Their place is welcome in an issue as conceptual as this.

Conclusion

All these callbacks comfort us, but they could very easily feel saccharin-sweet or over the top. Thankfully, they actually pull double-duty in Batman Beyond Neo-Gothic #4. They give us that nostalgic reminder of many great moments that have led to issues like this, but they also show the other kind of struggle that heroes can go through in comic conflict. The past has been weaponized against our heroes and how they handle it could be their biggest test yet.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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