Dan Jurgens might have moved Tim Drake into the role of Batman Beyond forwhen the series launches in June, but this future will not only tie into a key point in DC's present-day era, but also will explore the potential and possibilities of the Multiverse.
And that might even include a world where Terry McGinnis is still Batman Beyond.
The Batman Beyond character was first introduced in an animated TV series (and Jurgens said readers will see some characters and concepts familiar to fans of the show). In 2014, the character was introduced to the New 52 comics universe in the weekly series The New 52: Futures End. The series, which just finished in April, ended with the former Batman Beyond, Terry McGinnis, being killed. But Tim Drake, who was once Robin, put on the Batman Beyond suit to try to save the world in Terry's place.
Tim eventually ended up being thrust into the future while wearing the suit, and that's where the new Batman Beyond series will take place, starring Tim as a future version of Batman. But according to Jurgens, Batman Beyond #1 will kick off with a new story that doesn't require knowing anything from the weekly Futures End or any earlier Batman Beyond stories.
Batman Beyond, which is being drawn by Bernard Chang, is one of the 24 new titles launching in June, a month when DC's regular comics line returns after the publisher's two-month break for the Convergence event. At that time, only half of DC's comics will be part of the "core line" that adheres to current continuity, while the other half will have what DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee calls the ability "shake things up a bit."
But Jurgens has clarified that although Batman Beyond takes place 35 years in the future of the DCU, it is the definitive future of the current-day timeline.
Newsarama talked to Jurgens to find out more about his plans for the series, why Tim makes sense in the role, and whether this means Terry McGinnis will ever be seen again.
Newsarama: Now that we know the identity of the character who'll be starring in June's Batman Beyond title, can you describe the genesis of this idea, and why the The New 52: Futures End version of Tim made sense in the Beyond suit?
Dan Jurgens: Just to hit on Futures End a bit first...
Some stories are all about the destination, which means they're usually tailored to a particular, climatic ending.
Futures End was more about the journey of the characters, rather than the destination. It was built on a very wide variety of individuals and circumstances by which their personal stories would intersect. We brought a lot of new characters on stage, reintroduced old ones and refashioned others.
A lot of this centered on Tim Drake, who once held a more prominent position in the DCU.
When we decided to weave the Batman Beyond future into the DCU's, we realized we'd need key elements and characters of both universes.
That's what compelled us to have Tim Drake become the future Batman. Tim is an extremely strong character in his own right, and he'll find himself thrown into the world some 35 years from now. This future will be a combination of things taken from the Batman Beyond tapestry as well as fairly established elements of DC's long-established future.
Nrama: You briefly introduced the premise of the new comic at the end of Futures End, but can readers jump on board with Batman Beyond #1 in June without having read the weekly?
Jurgens: Absolutely. In addition to that, we'll have an eight-page short story that will be seen in one of May's Convergence titles that will also introduce the basic setup to readers.
Nrama: OK, so can you describe the basic set-up of the comic a little?
Jurgens: Tim Drake, now wearing the Batman Beyond costume, finds himself thrown into a future that exists several decades from now. Gotham City is now known as Neo-Gotham. While some of the world has been ravaged by the destructive effects of Brother Eye, the technological achievements of the Wayne-Powers Corporation have safeguarded Gotham and kept it intact.
Nrama: Is Brother Eye the only challenge they're facing in the comic? Or is there more to this future world?
Jurgens: Brother Eye is far from the only challenge. Just as we see the world around us becoming more frayed, the world of the future will be even more fractured. Very different societies and countries will have emerged. It's a more disparate world, as would happen if greed, corruption and apathy really took over, combined with the effects of climate change and global conflict.
Nrama: You told Newsarama that this was the "definitive" future of the DCU. Does that mean it will tie into current events at all?
Jurgens: We have a very particular notion of a key point in DC's present that will tie into the Batman Beyond series. When readers see it, I think their reaction will be, "Hell, yeah!" Or something close to that.
Nrama: What can you tell us about Tim's supporting cast? In the Futures End finale, it appeared that this group is being led by Ray Palmer, right? But who are the other characters?
Jurgens: Tim's supporting cast will actually focus first on introducing familiar names from the Batman Beyond universe. This is the nexus of both universes and both deserve equal attention.
Nrama: You've already got some romance brewing in the comic, although there's quite an age difference between Tim and Madison. How much will that play a part in the story?
Jurgens: When the series opens, readers will find out that Tim has been in the future for a couple of months. He's off on his own at this point, exploring what the world has become. We'll get back to Madison at a later point.
Nrama: Assuming you've seen some of Bernard Chang's art for the issues, what kind of look can we expect for the comic?
Jurgens: I've told Bernard many times — so many that he's probably tired of hearing me say it — that he was born to draw this book.
Bernard has a stylistic feature to his work that makes it perfect for this world of the future. On top of that, his background as an architectural student makes him the perfect guy to interpret and design Neo-Gotham. He's really doing brilliant stuff here.
This is also his first Batman work of any kind. It's remarkably strong stuff.
Nrama: OK, now for the really important question. Is Tim keeping the beard?
Jurgens: Tim is all about the seven-day scruff.
Nrama: And just to be clear, there's still a world in the Multiverse where Terry is Batman Beyond, right? Because we had a few fans freak out when they thought Terry stories could never be told again...
Jurgens: The potential and possibilities of the Multiverse will become more clear over the next couple of months. Stay tuned.
Nrama: Is there anything else you want to tell fans about Batman Beyond?
Jurgens: Check us out. I think we have a very strong combination of characters and story events to serve up that will make this a compelling series to read.