On Saturday, November 1st, Newsarama can exclusively announce, the final chapter of Batman Beyond 2.0 will hit DC Digital. The final print issue will be on shelves later that month. The series launched with the characters a year ahead of the final chapter of the first digital-first Beyond series, and spawned its own spin-off with Justice League Beyond. The primary reason for its cancelation - or what may just be its hiatus, as DC Comics isn't ruling out a return, is the loaded digital-first schedule. For the time being, DC wants only one new digital series out per day of the week.
But until then, writers Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel have more stories to tell, and a few more surprises in store. Along with an exclusive preview of Chapter 33, the writers bring along news of what's coming in the last arc, including a triumphant moment of unity for the new Bat-family.
Newsarama: Kyle, Alec, this is… a sad announcement to make. What made now the right time to close this chapter of Batman Beyond off and step away for awhile?
Kyle Higgins: You know, it’s really a combination of things. Alex (Antone) and I set out a year and a half ago with a pretty specific story we wanted to tell for this era of Terry. The Mark of the Phantasm was a huge part of it, as was the story of Davis Dusk. Getting into the Phantasm and revealing what happened between Dick, Barbara, and Bruce—as well as what happened between Terry and Bruce—was always kind of the beginning of the end for us and this iteration of the character. Add to that DC Digital’s upcoming slate of new projects, which made Beyond 2.0 a challenging series to keep going, and the timing kind of worked out in such a way that we’re wrapping up when we are.
The great thing though is that we planned this very far in advance, which means we’ve been able to hit everything we’ve wanted to hit. It was really important to Hank (Kanalz) and Alex that we tell our whole story, which we’ve been able to do.
Nrama: Some may have seen the Phantasm story, which filled in a lot of blanks and revealed that missing time, as the perfect ending point. What stories are coming up in the last two months of the series that made it important to carry on for a bit longer?
Alec Siegel: The Phantasm arc explained what happened during that missing year—why Terry stopped working with Bruce in favor of working with Dick Grayson and why Bruce and Dick don’t really interact all that much anymore. We could have left it there, but we wanted to deal with the aftermath—even though it’s a year later. The Justice Lords arc Kyle and Christos Gage wrote sets up where we’re headed thematically at the end of the run.
Higgins: Right. And like I said, there’s a bit more to explore with Davis Dusk—Rewire—who was the first villain we launched the series with.
Nrama: Looking at Phantasm a little closer, it was just one revelation after another. How much of that was already in the plans, and what, if anything, came up while writing it (I’m thinking of Waller’s involvement as a huge point, in particular!)?
Higgins: The one thing that comes to mind is the identity of the Phantasm—at one point, we were thinking that Andrea would be “mission control” for a new Phantasm (her daughter), in a similar way that Bruce has been mission control for Terry. But as we got into the story, it complicated things way too much.
Nrama: Ultimately, what do you hope your larger stamp on Batman Beyond and Terry’s story was?
Higgins: That’s a good question. To be honest, I’m not really sure. I came onto this book looking to bring back some of the intrigue that made the cartoon so appealing to me, while also progressing Terry into the next stage of his life. I wanted to see him grow up a little bit… which I think he has.
Siegel: Since I came onto the book with Chapter 25, the stories have really been about Terry dealing with what it means to belong to the Bat family. As we know now, things didn’t end all that well between Bruce, Dick, and Barbara. Terry sees his decision to stop working with Bruce Wayne as a way to gain a little more control over how being Batman affects the rest of his life. At the same time, few people know what it’s like to put on the costume and deal with the things that Batman has to deal with. Like it or not, it makes Terry, Bruce, Dick, and Barbara a sort of family. So at the end of the day I hope we’re really solidifying what the Beyond family can and will be from this point out.
Nrama: And what has it been like being able to put your stamp on this character, timeline, and series?
Siegel: Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond were some of my favorite shows growing up, so to be writing in this world is a dream come true. At the same time, there have been so many fantastic stories in the shows and the books that followed that there’s a certain amount of pressure to make sure what we’re doing now is just as good—that we’re living up to the legacy of the shows.
Higgins: Yeah, I’ll echo that, for sure. This character, the cartoon, and the DC Animated Universe in general, have been huge influences on me and my writing. There’s no way Alec and I would be writing a book like C.O.W.L. right now if it weren’t for the DC Animated Universe. As for our stamp, again… I’m not really sure that’s for us to decide. I will say though, that I’m incredibly proud of the series and the stories I’ve written. I think my love of the character and the universe definitely shines through, and Alex was incredible about allowing me the freedom to explore and push things forward. This book came at a very interesting time in my life, and in a lot of ways… was a creative godsend.
Nrama: What have you learned about the characters in Batman Beyond, especially something that surprised you when you started writing them?
Siegel: The biggest thing for me is keeping all the history in mind. By that I mean it’s been 50 years since the Animated Series. The characters have been through a lot and even if we haven’t seen it on screen, as a writer you have to think about everything that might have happened and use it to inform the scene at hand. I’m thinking more of Bruce, Dick, and Barbara here. But the way they relate and interact with one another affects Terry and how he functions as Batman.
Nrama: Looking to the future; if there are about 8 chapters left, then going by how you’ve done this so far, there is still room for about 30 more surprises. What can you tease coming up – maybe any new shocks for characters other than Terry in particular?
Higgins: Actually, the arc we’re in right now was a blast to write—Melanie, Inque, Ghoul… there are some fun, surprising new dynamics coming up between all of them.
Nrama: Now I have to ask, when things wrap up in November, are they going to be in a bow or are there still going to be openings for the Batman Beyond crew?
Siegel: It’ll be a solid end to this run, but there are always openings for new stories.
Higgins: Yeah, exactly. I mean…Terry’s still got three (or four) years of undergrad left!
Nrama: While the digital schedule is too heavy to support Batman Beyond right now, if and when it comes back, are you open to coming back, or do you think you’ve told your story here?
Siegel: Oh, I’m definitely open to returning if the book comes back.
Higgins: One hundred percent.
Nrama: Any final tease – maybe a specific moment that you’re excited for readers to get to in these final months?
Siegel: There’s a moment at near the end where the whole gang has to work together. After what everyone has been through in our run…it’s a really nice scene.