This year marks the 75th anniversary of everyone’s favorite traumatized-youth-turned-costume-wearing-vigilante, Batman. While we don’t normally cover much in the way of comic books here—unless they have an overtly science fiction bend—there is one part of the Dark Knight universe that is right up our alley: Batman Beyond. Just the other day we saw the first clip from Darwyn Cooke’s new short that he whipped up for the occasion. The film debuted at WonderCon this weekend, and has already made its way onto the Internet for your enjoyment.
Set in a dystopian future Gotham City of 2039, Batman Beyond introduces viewers to an aged Bruce Wayne, who, though he still gets around pretty well for an old guy, has seen better days. Lucky for him there he’s found a sidekick, and kindred spirit, in the form of troubled 17-year-old Terry McGinnis. The show ran for 52 episodes—over three seasons—from 1999 through 2001, but was cancelled to make way for Justice League.
When we talk about this being a short, we mean very short. This video clocks in at just over a minute, and though there isn’t much in the way of story, you get a lot of that futuristic Batman action you’ve been craving. Bruce is under attack by, well, Batman, and when Terry jumps into the fray he finds that his enemy is not exactly what he expected. Instead of a man in a suit, this new Caped Crusader is in fact a robot. The best part of this short is that, at the end, when Terry and Bruce are about to face off against the other seven mech-Batmen. Each one shows a different interpretation of the Dark Knight, including the much-maligned Adam West television version, Tim Burton’s 1989 imagining, and others aficionados will recognize.
While this video is a fun little distraction for a moment, there’s not too much going on. The fact that the new dynamic duo doesn’t know who sent the robots after them makes this feel like the beginning of something larger, like this is the intro to an entire episode that will see the crime fighters track down the real culprit. Alas, that is not the case, because such an adventure could have been a blast.
An artist and writer, Cooke worked on Batman: The Animated Series, and had successful runs on a number of comic book titles. He teamed up with Ed Brubaker on Catwoman, and also took a shot at The Spirit, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter, and many others. This is the second anniversary short, and there will most likely be more to come over the course of the year.