SpartanNerd Review…The New DC Universe “Batman Beyond #1”

As I wrote before The Convergence…Future’s End had a terribly flat ending.  The cliffhanger led me to believe that Batman (Beyond) would be featured in a new title…or something…after the convergence.  Looks like I was correct.  Looks like I was also correct in skipping The Convergence.  A meaningless crossover.


The cover art is just not very good.  It reminds me of some of the covers and artwork from “Ultimate Spiderman…”  One reason I never read that title was the art was so off-putting.  But DC has surpised me before…sometimes bad art can be overcome by good storytelling…at least for the SpartanNerd.  (Arkham Manor comes to mind.)

Looks like the front cover is also showing us other characters from “the Beyond” story.  Justice League characters The Flash and Superman are evident.  Not sure that I can name the other guys.

My experience with Batman Beyond is pretty limited.  I am seventeen years older than my youngest brother, and he would watch the cartoon every now and then.  A couple of years ago, I snatched up “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.”  I had a hard time getting past some jarring things about it…one of them being the language.  At the time I felt my children weren’t old enough to watch that, so I watched it on my own later.  I picked up a few things about Terry McGinnis’ universe.  And people use the word “slag” alot.   It bothered me that Tim Drake was made into Joker and Harley’s adopted and brainwashed son.

And besides Future’s End, that’s it…So I can’t say too much to die-hard Batman Beyond fans.

What I do like is that this is a “new” Batman Beyond, with Tim Drake in the suit.

The art inside wasn’t as bad.


I have picked up that Terry’s future had a super-gang of Joker copycats.  So right away, we are given a taste of something familiar from the Batman Beyond universe.

But something is inconsistent with the Future’s End universe…Terry came 30 years into the past from a time when all of humanity was destroyed and assimilated into “bugs”.  This panel indicates that Gotham at least isn’t made of all bugs.  But as the story goes on, this seems to be something changed in all of the time jumping that Terry did.


To assist people like me, who have minimal experience with the characters, DC did the right thing and had the Tim Drake Batman visit Terry’s home.  These other characters are bound to be important, soon.  And it seems Terry’s little brother is pretty jealous.  We know this is going to lead somewhere…


The Statue of Liberty always seems to be a favorite thing to smash in Sci-Fi….Writers do this for us super-patriotic comics fans.  It definitely gets our attention.  But it’s a little cliche.


Not going to give the ending away…but looks like Superman is a bug.  Who was that guy on the cover?

SpartanNerd Rating of DC Comics New Universe Batman Beyond #1 is 4/5.  The art on the cover led to me taking a point off.  But I think I will definitely read this for awhile…at least to mitigate the bad taste that Future’s End left for me.

I would like my readers who know about Batman Beyond to send me some cool information that I need to know….

SpartanNerd…The End of an Era (Convergence)

Back in 2011, I was getting interested in comics again.  I had discovered “Comixology,” and was reading Conan the Barbarian and other titles lightly.  This was new to me…I had never read this stuff before.  But I thought it a good alternative to Marvel, who’s take on Spider-Man had pushed me away, and from DC whose universe seemed so large and old that I was intimidated by it.

When the news that DC was going to relaunch it’s whole lineup and re-number to #1s came down, I thought, “now is the time.” I began getting the digital copies, and enjoyed it really too much, probably.  So I subscribed to the physical copies of the titles I liked best, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, Batman, Justice League, Action Comics, and Aquaman.

Eventually I pared this down to only the Batman titles, and Masters of the Universe, of course.  And Batman has been a part of my life for several years.  I didn’t mind that his universe wasn’t completely re-booted.  I figured they would have alienated a ton of fans if they did.  I had little trouble getting into his universe…most of his enemies and allies did receive new treatment.  The only thing that jarred me at first was Damien, and I think he grew to be my favorite Robin, though.  I really felt wronged though, when they killed him off in the only title I wasn’t reading, “Batman Inc.”  And I wrote about that here on extensively.  (I also think they gave haven’t written Tim Drake correctly.)

Still, this wasn’t enough to make me stop reading.  And I have enjoyed “Forever Evil” “Gothtopia”and all of the other “events” that involved Batman.  Also, Batman snd Superman has been a really good title, tying back to the beginning of the New 52 with connections to the Justice League story.  I wouldn’t know as much about Wonder Woman, Supergirl (Power Girl) or Huntress.

Finally, I thought the resurrection of Damien was really good.  And am happy, even ecstatic that he is back, and that he has super powers now as a new twist.

But DC Comics is voicing dissatisfaction with the New 52 universe.  I don’t know why…I guess just re-naming it wouldn’t be enough.  I heard things like they are out of ideas.  Or there are continuity errors.  The idea thing is a croc.  But there is no denying there are continuity errors.  Batman Eternal is busting with background noise from the Robin Rises story…for instance, this past week Raj Al Ghul referring to Batman’s leaving him in a frozen ravine…and in the same issue Batman looking longingly at one of the future Batmen and saying “Damien…”  Other continuity errors have come up as a result of writers leaving and other problems.  Geoff Johns just needed to keep a tighter reign on everyone.

And maybe that is what’s going to happen.  I have been lightly reading “Multiversity.”  I actually have the first issue and the guidebook.  What “Convergence” is supposed to do is do away with the Multiverse, and leave only the continuity established by the DC New 52.  They will use this event to correct some inconsistencies.

I am OK with this, but I feel a little bit of loss.  With the end of the Multiverse, that will take those Earth 3 “Heroes” out of the picture.  And what about the “Obama Superman.”  He will be gone.  No more Earth 2.  I never even read Earth 1.  The Multiversity guidebook presents a lot of cool characters.  Are these all going to be gone?  DC never has explained how Masters of the Universe fits into the New 52 universe.  He-Man “killed” Superman for crying out loud!

I think it will be cool to see the Flashpoint universe characters again.  I think it might be cool to see the old universe characters again.  The Convergence is supposed to bring these popular ideas back.  (I read the Flashpoint Batman stories after getting into the New 52…creepy!)

But I think I might just step off after the Convergence.  Maybe cherry pick the stories that interest me rather than subscribe.  Already I am forking over to get to the end of Batman Eternal and Future’s End.  I have a ton of comics now.  And I will have a complete collection of New 52 Batman books.  I hear that Marvel is doing something similar, and if they give us a clean starting point with Spider-Man, I will be back to reading that again.

DC Universe vs. Masters of the Universe final breakdown




Way Way Way back in the day I was soooo excited about DC vs MOTU.

Eventually I came to think about this story as second rate to the other Masters stories we are getting.  DC seems to be pandering to the fans of MOTU, but want to put forth the New 52 heroes in the minds of those fans as well.  As far as I know, the only official way to get these books was to go to a bricks and mortar store…(you couldn’t subscribe to them from DC.)


I hear a lot of fans talking about the art being inconsistent.  I noticed a few things myself.  Teela’s armor is different.  Sometimes it looks like her “battleground Teela” skimpy clothes.  Sometimes it looks more like Man-At-Arms armor, femaled up.  Roboto is another one that is inconsistent.

The covers list a barrage of artists.  This is one reason for the inconsistency.

I like how there are a few splash pages in every issue.  Some are very powerful, like the one where He-Man kills Superman.  (I am especially fond of the red-eyed image of Skeletor in the clouds, looking on the action with pleasure.)

Whatever criticism can be leveled at the art, it has been far more consistent than the other Masters of the Universe comics put out recently.  (The mini-series, annuals, and ongoing)


The jawless, hulking version of Skeletor.

Queen Marlena is back on Earth!

The fusion of Orko and Horde Prime

The sword of power won’t serve the unworthy…sounds like Mjolnir!  (Superman is worthy.  Action figure time!)

He-Man can activate the power of Grayskull in the sword as a remote weapon!  (He uses it this way to destroy the Skull of Power.)  As far as I know, this is the first time that has ever been done!  (I think I will ask James Eatock about this.  If anyone knows, it’s him!)***

The age old question, answered.  “If He-Man and Superman were to get into a fight, who would win?”  Apparently He-Man.


How come The Death of Superman wasn’t more pronounced in the larger DC Universe?  Why no books spent on a funeral or mourning the loss of Earth’s greatest hero?  Why no replacement clones or cyborgs?  If DC were serious about He-Man having killed Superman…even if it only seemed to be so, wouldn’t they have created more hype?

Batman lets just about anyone into the Batcave, doesn’t he?

And the House of Mysteries?  That’s pretty easy to find too, apparently.

Does this story ignore Forever Evil?  In fact, the last line of Issue 1 says “Crisis on Whatever Earth This Turns Out to Be.”  So is it Prime-Earth?

Cyborg looks like his old self?

Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) quit the Justice League, didn’t he?  Back in Justice League #12?  (The famous issue where Superman and Wonder Woman hook up.)

The Joker appears in the last panel of issue 5.  Yes mesmerized.  But still.  His face is stapled on his head…???

Skeletor uses mind control magic on the Justice League in issue 2.  Then in issues 5 and 6, Dark Orko uses mind control on them.  They seem to have a susceptibility here…shouldn’t they do something about that?  Counldn’t Constantine shield them permanently or something?

As early as issue 4 Skeletor seems ready to do a 180-degree turn on Dark Orko…at the prodding of Black Alice.  Why was he so attracted to Black Alice anyway?  Aren’t there more powerful mages on Earth?

When Dark Orko calls all of those meta-humans, Orion is one of those, as well as Wonder Woman.  We have seen what happens when these two get together.  Shouldn’t the level of catastrophe been higher?

Dark Orko deconstructs Skeletor again, before they are transported away “FOREVER.”  (We know they’ll be back.)  So what happens to Skeletor now?  He seemed to think he could grab Horde Prime’s power somehow from Dark Orko.  Was he successful?

Apparently Constantine, or at least one of the Justice League Dark can leave earth and go to Eternia at any time.

SpartanNerd’s rating   3/5.  Not an outstanding Justice League or Masters of the Universe story.  (An outstanding Justice League story…try Forever Evil..  An outstanding Masters story, try “The Origin of Hordak.)  It has inconsistent, but generally good art.  Loose connections to the larger DC New 52 continuity.  I’m sure it was a challenge to represent all three factions of the Justice League AND the Masters of the Universe.  But the characters should be truer to themselves.  Wonder Woman should have been ready to kill everyone, for instance, after Superman was “murdered”.

On the other hand, we find the beloved character of Marlena alive and well.  Eternia is a part of the New 52 universe, and we are introduced to Dark Orko, who isn’t as bad as people made him out to be considering.  I mean, at least he can probably be brought back to his regular form.  The character is salvageable now.  And that is a good thing.

***James Eatock answered my question!  Here is his answer, cut and pasted from FaceBook Messenger!  Many thanks to James, and I am sooooo honored!

In the episode “Orko’s Missing Magic” he calls upon the power of Grayskull whilst another being is holding the sword – Whilst not a remote detonation, the power explodes from the sword, causing the villain to drop it – I hope that makes sense!” Fan Poll…The Current DC Comics

You can find the poll I reference throughout this post on until Sunday, February 16th, 2014 at 11:00 PM EST.

The poll asks our opinions about the current comics.  I am one of those (quiet?) people who actually enjoy the new comics, while all around the web people are bad mouthing them.

Here is how I answered the poll questions.  (Everything is a scale of 1-10, 1 being worst opinion, 10 being the best.)

Overall, how do you rate the story in the current on-going DC MOTU comic?

I gave this one a 7.  I appreciate the “secret identity less” continuity they have established.  The Dark Orko thing doesn’t bother me, and I feel it shouldn’t bother so many others.  The idea of “the buffoon” being the big-bad isn’t new, but MOTU fans don’t seem to be aware of this.  They are treating Dark Orko with the dreadful criticism deserved for Scrappy Doo in the Scooby Doo movie.
GO BACK AND READ YOUR ASIMOV, People!  (OK, I’ll lead you there, since you seem blind without me.  Check out “The Mule.”

What I don’t like is that they started the whole thing in an altered reality.  That isn’t a strong place to start.  I also don’t like the way they write Teela.  Hordak is OK, but far too many people have been killed off.  

They’ve beaten the Good Guys down over and over it seems.  There hasn’t hardly been any victory.  And I like my good guys to win in Masters of the Universe.

I almost feel like this whole current main story arc is heading towards a big reset button where the comics will transform into a more comfortable, filmation-esque story.  Everything and everyone reverted back to normal.  Or maybe a part of me wishes that would happen.

Overall, how do you rate the art in the current on-going DC MOTU comic?

II rated this one at 8.  Largely the art has been pleasant.  Some of it has been sort of Avant Garde, even.  (The Origin of He-Man in particular)

The art in this book is very high level.
And I think the hottest Sorceress design appears in this book too!

I don’t like all of the art.  There was one recent issue that I really hated…The one where they enter Subternia.  Nope.  Not my style.  Way too scribbly.

Here’s an example.  And it seemed to decay even more as the issue neared the end.

Overall, how do you rate the story in the current DCU vs MOTU comic?

Remember this post, oh Hub City Geeks?  I was so excited…You’d think I’d give it a 10.  But I give it an 8 instead.

Well…there are a couple of things that are unclear.  Is this story really in the New 52 continuity? It is billed as it is.

What has been happening in the main continuity of the DC Universe is never referenced, hardly ever anyway.  No news of Forever Evil.  And it seems Green Lantern is with the League.  Frustrating.  Didn’t he fly away after the whole mess with David Graves?

A couple of more weak things…Evil Lynn is not so good at deception.  Anyone can see a double cross coming.  Also, why wasn’t Wonder Woman more angry that He-Man killed Superman?  Everyone remember this, from the Old 52?

Shouldn’t more have been made of the Man of Steel’s demise?
As far as I know, this is the first time Superman was killed in the New 52.  I know, I know.  It was an impostor.  Still.  It is notable.

And this has been more of a Justice League Dark story, than a Justice League (regular) story.

Gripe. Gripe.  Gripe.

What do I like?  I like that this story comes right after the Horde invasion, but before the events of Masters of the Universe #7.  It is wedged in there.  I like that Skeletor’s story continues here, and that Dark Orko is revealed here.

(Shouldn’t I have separated my vote from the first question?  I guess I didn’t know they were distinguishing between the two titles.)

I like that Skeletor is gathering lackeys on Earth as well.  At least Black Alice.  And she has been entertaining.

You know what would be great?  In Forever Evil the Crime Syndicate keeps talking about “a being that destroyed our planet.”  What if that being turns out to be…Dark Orko.

I expect Darkseid.  Or someone like that.  But Dark Orko would rectify some of the seeming inconsistencies.  Wouldn’t t be cool if Dark Orko was from the Earth 3 Universe…That would be sick!  I guess we’ll find out when that this month’s issue ships!

(That is totally not going to happen.  DC wouldn’t base their universe on Mattel’s property.  Still, one could dream!)

I guess I should also mention the Unnamed One here.  There seems to be a coincidence.  The Unnamed One is Dark Orko.  And Dark Orko’s origin issue ships at the same time as the Nameless One.  Sorry for any spoilers…But you probably already knew anyways.

Overall, how do you rate the art in the current DCU vs MOTU comic?

The art here is on par with all of the other DC New 52 titles.  I am fairly pleased.  I rated it 9. (It still isn’t Todd McFarlane.)

How are the costume designs for the MOTU characters in the DC comics?

Now here is one I can be 100% behind.  I love the new designs!  It bothers me a little bit about Skeletor not having a bottom jaw, but in the same way the Joker doesn’t have a face, so….

I gave this one a 10.  I hope they make figures of the Masters with these designs as well.  Maybe even a mini-subscription, like they did a couple of times before.

Do you agree with my opinions?  Let me know!  I will have to follow up and compare my votes with the final results.

SpartanNerd Scoop….Detective Comics #27 review

Why is this a scoop…Almost nobody has reviewed this yet!  I Googled to read other peoples reviews, and they were quite scant.

Variant Cover #2.  This was the cover most often seen in ads.

So I scooped all of Nerd-dom this time!  (Probably not really)

Detective Comics #27 in 1939 was the first time Batman appeared anywhere.  Not long after, Detective Comics was completely about Batman.  And that is all the information I could regurgitate that I most likely learned from Wikipedia at some point!

Fast forward to the New 52.  The current DC Comics universe.  New readers might not know, The New 52 was a massive relaunch of DC Comics two Septembers ago.  The SpartanNerd began reading them then, being intimidated by the vast history of DC Comics before the relaunch.  I felt it would be a good jumping-on point.  And I was correct!  This relaunch included a re-numbering, each issue became #1.  And so now, we are back at #27, and to celebrate the milestone of the original Detective Comics #27, DC has printed a MASSIVE tribute issue!

There are six variant covers…I picked up variant cover #2 in the comic book store last night.  Cover #1 will likely come to me in the mail with my subscription.  Other covers include a Frank Miller Catwoman cover.  (And then there are 3 more, oh math scholars!)

Cover #2, by Christ Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn is kind of cartoony…featuring Batman very large, with Batwoman, Batwing, the Talon, and someone else….???  (I almost thought it was the Talon, but then saw him in the air….)

There is an ad, right behind the cover, but it is just about the only ad in the whole thing.  There is an ad for the Kubert school somewhere in it, but besides the back cover, that’s about it.  (A quick flip reminded me of a Scribblenauts ad.)

The first real page is a table of contents\credits page.  We get seven different stories in this issue!  I am going to go down them all, and put forth my review!  There will likely be SPOILERS….READ NO FURTHER IF YOU WANT UNTAINTED EARS!

The table of contents\credits page.


Hope you heeded my warning!  This first story is meant to be a classic Batman story.*  The art is the average of what we have seen since the late 1980’s   We see Bruce Wayne talking to himself, and talking to himself.  Which was sort of off-putting to me at first.  But I have been reading these things long enough to know that something was going on.  In the end, we were seeing snips from “The Journal of the Bat-Man.”  I like that Batman says one time “I’m still too new at this!”  The end of this story has someone falling into an acid vat, and the last panel of course shows their hand climbing out.

Now, I am certain that this isn’t supposed to be a canonical story.  The New 52 story of the Joker has been hashed out several times.  We saw the Red Hood fall into a vat in the Zero Year Batman story.  Not to mention the Joker reinforcing this origin story in “Death of the Family,” and even making Harley go through the experience.

No, this isn’t a mainline story.  It sets the stage for the vignettes we are going to be getting throughout the rest of the book.

I LIKE THE ART, I LIKE THE STORY, RATING 5/5.  I like the pulpy nature of it!
*This is a re-telling of the original Detective Comics #27.  Oddly, I didn’t remember it panning out the way this did


This story begins with a cover, letting you know what it coming!

The “cover art” of “Old School”

Basically, you begin with old-style comics material, with Batman and Robin in their original looks.  As the story progresses, Batman’s costume evolves, and the artwork does as well, until it looks like Detective Comics artwork looks now, as different villains do ridiculous things to him.  How is this vignette justified?  Batman has fallen asleep in a comic books store, and people are dressed in costumes all around him for Batman’s 75th Anniversary party.  The last panel, he picks up a copy of “Detective Comics #27”  (The original.)



Probably a non-cannonical story also.  This one shows Batman as old as he would be for real, with Alfred in a wheelchair.  We see Dick Grayson and Damien Wayne also.  Dick is still night wing, and Damien is currently Batman.  And Barbara Gordon is the commissioner.  They are celebrating his birthday, and an alarm goes off.  So the younger heroes go off to work!  But Bruce decides to suit up and beat them to the crime scene!  They come back, the work already done, wondering how it was possible….

I like how we get to see Damien alive…But other than that, I think it is weak story.  And I don’t care for all the cursing…it seems there is some four letter bomb on every page.  I don’t like the lines either.  It says Bertram is the artist, who is that?  It looks like …. something you would see in I don’t know.  Something I wouldn’t read.



Oddly, this story is labeled “Hero” in the Table of Contents, it is called “Rain” on its first page.  The art is far superior to the previous vignette.  And it says Five Years Ago.  This is to tell the regular readers that this happened at about the time the Justice League came on the scene in the New 52 Story arc.  It is the shortest story, and the most puzzling.  I like it…but…

Basically, Batman comes in from the Batmobile, swoops down and saves a woman and her child, who then says “Thank you for saving me…again..”  Before Batman can question him about what he said, BOOM, an explosion happens and Batman saves the kid.  The kid is called “Junior” by his mom.  What I can make of this is the kid must be James Gordon, Jr.  But maybe not…He looks like it with those glasses and the way that hair is parted.  But if this is five years ago, it seems the kid couldn’t be James Gordon, Jr.  He looks to be early 20’s?  This kid looks like he’s 11 at the oldest…



I am all about sacrificial characters.  So right away, I am pulled into this story.  The first thing we see is The Phantom Stranger, a character fairly new to me, with the whole Pandora/Trinity War/Forever Evil story arc.  Anyways, the Phantom Stranger shows Batman what life would be like if he got his wish…If his parents had lived through their murder.  (If his father was only wounded).

Batman sees several things.  His parents live on and shelter him.  Dick Grayson winds up on Death Row, he is married to Natalya Trusevich (recently killed by the Mad Hatter in The Dark Knight #20, a Russian pianist.  She was tragically dropped onto the Bat-Signal.)  They have a child as well.  And Ras Al Ghul is taking over Europe.

As pleasant as the thought is to Bruce of not losing his parents, he sees that the world lost something more without the Batman.  And in order for Batman to exist, his parents had to be killed.  Such irony.

I like that they brought Natalya back.  All around, not much has been said about Bruce’s grief over the loss of his lover.  It was all around the same time that Damian was killed, so that overshadowed this story.  (That and the fact that the Mad Hatter thing was a little weak).



“And all is right in the world”…Catwoman gets to be Batman’s lover,
Batman has a permanent understudy.

Now for the real deal.  This is what would have been printed in Detective Comics #27 if it wasn’t a big extravaganza.  And there has been tons of hype!  And…the final panel of the last Detective Comics story arc featured “Catbird,” the new “Robin,”  not really putting the question of who the next Robin will be to rest, however.  Catbird is Catwoman in a Robin-esque costume.

All the previews prepared us for this.  Gotham is now the safest city in America, bighter and more akin to Metropolis.  And it is a “Utopia” because of Batman and his fellow heroes.  It is furthermore a Utopia because people have what they desire.  The Roman Sionis is Commissioner.  Catwoman is Batman’s lover, and fully knows his identity.  (They are seen together in the bat cave unmasked.)  The Oswald Cobblepot is the mayor.  All of the heroes seem to be brighter.  “Blue Belle and Brightbat” are apparently Batwoman and Bat-Girl.  (Maybe.)  Batwing is now “Flying Fox”.  The Talon is “the Gothamite.”  Birds of Prey are now “Wings of Truth.”

And Batman is redesigned.  He has a lighter colored costume.  It almost looks white!  Really a bright grey.  As the story progresses, we’re not really sure what is happening.  Batman appears to be more of a policeman in this comic, not really fighting crime so much as helping people with tragedy.  And he is unable to explain or save people who are committing suicide, (there is a higher suicide rate than usual.)  Apparently Bruce catches wind that something has changed about him, and Selina and the other Heroes want to stop him from uncovering the truth.  Batman winds up in the asylum with his enemies at the end.

Questions…Should I be buying all relevant issues to “get” this story?  It says I should follow the Gothtopia storyline in Batwing 27, Batgirl 27, Catwoman 27, and Birds of Prey 28.  I haven’t read any of these titles before.  Should I have picked up Batwing last night?  I guess we’ll see.  I haven’t read a single Batwing story.  It does say “next: INSTITUTIONALIZED.”



The final vignette, a future reality.  Batman has clones of himself working as Batman.  He sees an older version of himself tutoring his new clone.  It is apparently 200 years in the future, and Batman is still at work.  We get to see lots of different future Batmen and Robins, and future villains and threats.


SpartanNerds overall review of Detective Comics #27…It was all I hoped it would be!  5/5!