Batman Beyond 26 Heralds Return of the Joker

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Batman Beyond 26

I’ve gotta say, the Joker of the future is looking pretty spry for a (very) white guy.

The Clown Prince of Crime has been hinted to still be alive during the time of the BATMAN BEYOND comic book series, which has this reviewer questioning whether or not the animated movie BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER has any bearing on the comic book canon, which seems to be an anchor-point in actual DC Comics future history. At the end of the previous issue, he brought down a high-rise owned by Bruce Wayne, although nobody as yet knows he’s responsible. He only took credit for it when he confronted Barbara Gordon, surprising her in her office and narrowly missing her with a bullet.

Meanwhile, Batman has a new partner — a new Robin — much to the distress of retired Robin/Nightwing Dick Grayson. And while this Dynamic Duo are out trying to enact damage control and save lives, Robin is caught on camera. This, of course, is then seen by Joker, who decides that the green-and-yellow clad figure is as good a target as any, and plans to reenact one of his more classic moments with Batman — the murder of Jason Todd.

Okay, that’s perhaps a bit predictable, especially for a wild card like the Joker. What’s more, Mister J has been investing in the best rejuvenation creams and elixirs, because he doesn’t look like he’s aged all that much. In fact, you could take any one of Brett Booth’s panels featuring the Joker and put them up against any current-year images of the same character, and other than a less wavier coif, no one would be able to say that one was twice the age of the other.

I do like the idea of the Joker being reintroduced into the Batman Beyond universe, but I’m hoping that Dan Jurgens has more tricks up his sleeve than just homicidal nostalgia. How has the Joker adapted to the new technology of Neo-Gotham such that he can stay on the loose? Why is he still such a physical threat, capable of leaping from windows onto passing vehicles without breaking a hip? And did he or did he not infect Tim Drake with a computer virus way back in the day?

These are the questions I’d like to see addressed as this story progresses, and I’ll come back to see if they are.

4.0 / 5.0