Batman Beyond is making a brand new start in the DCU as part of "Rebirth," returning Terry McGinnis to the lead role as the future Batman while also establishing strong connections to the current over-arching story threads from DC Universe: Rebirth #1 and beyond.
In fact, according to series writer Dan Jurgens, who just finished up his "New 52" version of Batman Beyond, the end of that former series had a direct tie-in to events in the current-day DCU. In the final issue, then-Batman Beyond lead character Tim Drake mysteriously disappeared. And Jurgens confirmed to Newsarama that his removal from the future is tied to his imprisonment by Mr. Oz in current-day continuity (from Detective Comics #940).
The new Batman Beyond title is based on a concept that originated in the '90s animated series by the same name. The idea is that an aged Bruce Wayne serves as a mentor to the young, new Batman, Terry McGinnis.
This week's Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1 kicks off the new monthly series, and Jurgens spoke with Newsarama about the new volume, whether Bruce Wayne is returning (after having been killed in the last series), and how writing Terry is a little different from Tim Drake.
Newsarama: Dan, with Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1, are you picking up the story in the world of the previous Batman Beyond series, or is this a new start?
Dan Jurgens: We’re in the same world, but we jump ahead a couple of months so we see a Gotham that’s in better shape.
The approach and attitude of the series is to be quite new, however, focusing on some of the classic elements of Batman Beyond, while also mixing in some new elements as well. Not to mention some sneaky aspects of the wider DCU.
Nrama: At DC, the word "Rebirth" has been associated with getting characters back to their "core." How would you describe the "core" of Batman Beyond, and is it applicable to this series (and this kick-off Rebirth issue)?
Jurgens: “Core” can reflect any number of things, be it general mood and tone of a series and/or identifying and emphasizing particular aspects of core characters.
In this case, it’s no secret that we’re bringing Terry McGinnis back as Batman.
Nrama: So what's the status of the world that Terry inhabits when you start the Rebirth issue, and what's his role in that world?
Jurgens: For Terry, the world is a bit new - as we now know that he has been subjugated and controlled by Spellbinder. He’s emerged from that situation and is now making a new life in a Gotham City that’s been through quite a lot.
Nrama: Where's Bruce Wayne in all this? And who else is in Terry's supporting cast?
Jurgens: As with the previous series, Bruce died in the attack of Brother Eye.
His cast is rounded out, however, with his younger brother Matt, Max Gibson and the return of Dana Tan.
Nrama: What's the threat as you kick off the series? Sounds like a very familiar one to Batman fans…
Jurgens: Batman’s greatest foe is generally regarded to be the Joker.
By that time, the Joker has been thought long dead.
Until someone tries to bring him back to life, that is.
Nrama: Of course someone does! Let's talk about the continuity of Batman Beyond in "Rebirth." The last run on this series was connected to Futures End, which was a "possible" future of the DCU. Is the "Rebirth" version of Batman Beyond in a "possible" future of the DCU as well, or is it directly connected to present-day DC? You said you had some "sneaky" connection to the greater DCU…
Jurgens: My approach to the previous series is that it was connected to Futures End as well as the current DCU.
Our plan for this series is to make the connection to the current DCU even stronger, and I think we have some very fun ways of making that happen.
Nrama: Is there going to be an explanation for where Tim Drake went at the end of the previous volume's #16?
Jurgens: Of course!
Though, as with many fun story elements, it might take awhile.
Nrama: Where will we see that explanation? In Batman Beyond? Or elsewhere?
Jurgens: Stay tuned!
Nrama: Wait, is future Tim Drake's disappearance in Batman Beyond connected to the imprisonment of present-day Tim Drake by Mr. Oz in the last issue of Detective Comics?
Nrama: Oh, you are sneaky. Tim Drake seems very important to all of this. Do you miss him being in your series?
Jurgens: I’ve always liked Tim. Of all the Robins, I found him quite interesting because, unlike the others, he didn’t fall into the role. He basically showed up on Bruce’s doorstep, said, “I know you’re Batman,” and carved it out for himself.
Nrama: That said, Terry McGinnis is much beloved in the role of Batman in Batman Beyond. What's it like to write the character? Good to get your hands on him?
Jurgens: You’re right. Terry is a widely loved character and we’ve always known that.
He’s fun to work with. He has a little more color, a little more bounce and humor to him than Tim. He adds a different dimension to Batman as a result.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell DC readers about Batman Beyond: Rebirth?
Jurgens: Only that the first issue has tremendous art by Ryan Sook and we follow that up with Bernard Chang coming back with some incredible stuff. I think folks are in for quite a treat!