At a time when Batman Beyond got back on track, DC Comics has now suggested that Terry McGinnis might be getting his own Robin sidekick. It is such a turn of events that the critical comic fans consider to be a marketing gimmick, aimed to get the readers excited not just about the imagination of the storytellers, but, about the shock value caused by the announcement of a ‘Robin Beyond’ being a part of the DC Comics Universe. But, this time the suggested sidekick that is referred to the pages of Batman Beyond is definitely new and with a peculiar Batfamily feel.
Till now, “new” has been the marketing point of view for Batman Beyond’s part in DC’s Rebirth. Terry has a brand new Batsuit, has seen the legendary villain Joker come back from the dead and supported Bruce Wayne in restoring their mentor-protégé relationship after years of being assumed dead. After being uncertain about his future under the cowl in recent issues, Terry has finally come to a conclusion about accepting his reality and it is not as if he is the only character willing to commit his life to become a masked vigilante. In fact, he is not the only McGinnis.
If you are one of those who hasn’t read Beyond since Rebirth or have come to know the story via the animated TV show, the last one year has witnessed Bruce Wayne experience a lot of hardships (too much even for a younger person). Readers came to know that Bruce Wayne had retired from being Batman and even before his regaining good health after having been comatose for several years, his son Damian came back to cause a great deal of consternation to his well-being. As pointed out by Terry in issue #14, the physical exertions to Bruce’s aging body would cripple someone whose back wasn’t broken by Bane. That means Bruce needs the love and care of his dear ones and Terry is the one who voluntarily steps in accompanied by his younger brother Matt.
Rebirth showed Terry’s return, enabling Bruce to get his successor, Dana getting her long lost boyfriend back and Neo-Gotham has its hero. It also implies that Matt McGinnis witnessed his big brother comeback as a superhero and the long years of practice were evident. Matt and Terry’s friends decided to watch his back, and they turned out more capable than most others who would be entrusted with the responsibility of Bruce Wayne, and they saved Terry’s life more than once.
He has learned crime fighting under Bruce’s monitoring. Thus, it is not surprising that Matt would be interested in the various Robin costumes shown in Batcave. We must admit that it is confusing why any Robin would ever want to let go of such a fantastic occupation. However, when Matt asked if it was “good for them” to put on the costume of Robin and endanger their lives to fight alongside Batman, Bruce might not have heard the real implication of Matt’s question, but, the readers definitely did.
Matt’s question about the perks of playing Batman to Robin gets interrupted by Barbara Gordon, the daughter of the Police Commissioner of Neo-Gotham. When Jim Gordon’s daughter expressed her pleasure about Terry stopping the “stream of recruits” to the Batcave, pointing to Bruce’s habit of being the mentor to youngsters and then setting them loose on Gotham’s criminals. Barbara is right. However, Matt is not listening. He is on a quick excursion to the Batcave, checking out Robin’s motorcycle and logging into the Batcave’s surveillance records to watch Damian getting trained to become an ideal Robin.
This is a nice play for the fans of Terry as well as Matt McGinnis and the idea to capture Matt’s desire of playing sidekick and also the keenness to find out about father figures and not focusing on ‘being a superhero’ is a great indication. In case you are clueless about it, Terry and Matt had a childhood impacted by a divorce while Terry chose to live with his father and Matt going to live with his mother. It was purely coincidental that their father was murdered by Gotham criminals which set Terry on the path that Bruce has pursued. However, readers are confused why Matt didn’t get the same direction. However, now we feel that the writer Dan Jurgens has directly responded that point.
The focused gaze of Matt McGinnis at the visuals of Bruce training his biological son, Damian in self-defense is a clear message in itself. However, it is not easy to decipher the response of Bruce and Terry will understand Matt’s keenness to pursue the same path that his older brother has chosen. That’s a path he deserves as much as Terry if only he has the same willpower and dedication (both elements have been amply proven in Rebirth). However, it is another thing to choose being Robin as his goal and really becoming Robin are two different things.
However, if Bruce and Terry agree to Matt having the same right to commit his life to crime fighting, the Batman Beyond universe might witness the first time when a set of brothers take up the role of Batman and Robin. The story is probably too good even to hazard a guess at present. However, we will just say that in case Matt is looking for Terry getting sidelined, providing himself an opportunity to prove his worthiness, this issue is certainly spot on.
Batman Beyond #14 is available now.