When we think about “Older Bruce Wayne Batman” stories, I’m sure Frank Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (and perhaps its two sequels) comes to mind first for a lot of people.
I too think of Miller’s TDKR. I also think of Chris Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. But in addition to those two, BATMAN BEYOND is right up there with them.
Just to talk about and compare those three for a second, it’s cool that three different Batman mediums are represented: comics, live-action film, and animation for TV.
Also, while Bruce Wayne is older in all three, his age varies.
In TDKR, he’s 55ish. In RISES, he’s 40ish. And in BEYOND, he’s in his 80s.
What all three have in common besides Bruce Wayne being older, he “quit” being Batman in each — though he rises and returns (see what I did there?) in some form or another in each.
In TDKR, he hangs it up due to Jason Todd being murdered by The Joker. In RISES, they — Batman and Gordon — “won,” and The Batman was no longer needed. (What many people get wrong about RISES is why Batman “quit” and the fact that Bruce always intended for Batman to be a finite endeavor.) And in BEYOND, Bruce hangs of the cape and cowl after almost turning to a gun — and using it — to take down a criminal.
Anyway, enough with the comparisons, and let’s focus on BEYOND the rest of the way.
When I first of heard BEYOND‘s premise — particularly there being a “new Batman” who is a teenager — it didn’t pique my interest. I think there were some comparisons to Spider-Man which made me go “meh.”
And then I started watching it…thanks to my two oldest kids.
With my 2 oldest children being 2 and 4 when BEYOND began airing in 1999, we watched cartoons on Saturday mornings. Since BEYOND aired on Saturday mornings, well, we started watching it.
And I started…really…liking it.
RELATED: The History of BATMAN BEYOND
The think about BEYOND that made it work for me is that even though Terry McGinnis wears the suit and is “Batman,” Bruce Wayne is still calling all the shots. In other words, he’s still Batmanning without actually being Batman.
BEYOND was rather successful and ended up lasting 3 seasons (excluding reruns). It also spawned one of the best animated Batman films in RETURN OF THE JOKER, as well as eventually making its way into DC Comics proper.
And heck, maybe one day we’ll even get a BEYOND live-action Batman film.
If I had to rank it amongst all the animated Batman TV shows, I’d say it’s probably #3 on my list of favorites right behind BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD and BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.
What’s your take and/or memories of BATMAN BEYOND? Post ’em in the comments section below! – Bill “Jett” Ramey