Adding a fresh coat of storytelling to a popular character and set in Neo-Gotham one year after Joker Night, "Batman Beyond 2.0" #1 opens with the mayor of Neo-Gotham taking a tour of the new Arkham Institute. Kyle Higgins and Thony Silas open up the new adventures of tomorrow's Batman with the first of eight installments in the DC's latest addition to the Digital First line of comics. This $0.99 sample is a fine slice of what "Batman Beyond" is all about, but Terry McGinnis is more seasoned as a crimefighter and a young man.
Enrolled in his freshman year at Neo-Gotham University, McGinnis balances a life of scholarly pursuits with pursuing criminals and still receives audible advice from a would-be benefactor. Higgins makes the story feel comfortable all the way around, for long-time, deep-rooted "Batman Beyond" fans and new readers alike. Higgins brings in familiar faces like Terry's girlfriend, Dana. Plus, Commissioner Barbara Gordon, makes an appearance to investigate the death of a high-ranking Neo-Gotham official. He also delivers polished up Gotham City mainstays, like a new take on Man-Bats to blend the new and old together to the enjoyment of the reader.
The timeline in this installment gets a little bit slippery as Batman's fight with the Man-Bats appears to be occurring coincidentally with the events at the Arkham Institute, but the latter half of "Batman Beyond 2.0" #1 makes it appear as though the news is either slow to leak or the timing is, quite simply, off. I'm certain future installments will clear this up, but it's the type of hiccup in a story that has the ability to throw caution to action and engagement.
Thony Silas' art borders on minimalist drawing, with much of the finer details coming in from colorist Andrew Elder. Reminiscent of Norm Breyfogle's work with the caped crusader, Silas' art works well for the story and the characters involved. Man-Bat and the McGinnis iteration of Batman are both fine characters when presented this way and Silas effectively communicates the story through his more gestural characters.
"Batman Beyond 2.0" isn't a complete reboot. More like a second season with a new creative team, there's still plenty here for "Batman Beyond" fans to enjoy. Modern-day DC fans will find quite a few winks, nods and surprises to enjoy as well as Kyle Higgins and Thon Silas continue their construction of Neo-Gotham.