Batman’s DCAU Adventures Tease Batman Beyond’s Hi-Tech Beginnings
As Batman: The Adventures Continue keeps the DC Animated Universe alive, it hints at the high-tech origins of the beloved sequel, Batman Beyond.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman: The Adventures Continue Season II #4, on sale now from DC Comics.
The future of the Dark Knight of Batman Beyond has become one of the most popular interpretations of the character. Even now, Terry McGinnis’ Batman just returned for a touching story in Batman: Urban Legends #7, which is set to launch a new Batman Beyond series next year. Hints of Neo-Gotham’s Caped Crusader have appeared often in the main Batman comics and even more so in the comics that tie directly into the beloved DC Animated Universe.
That’s the case once more in Batman: The Adventures Continue Season II #4 by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Jordan Gibson, Monica Kubina and Josh Reed. This latest issue sees Batman go up against a particularly tough foe named the Muscle. Having gained a reputation for giving Batman-level service to Gotham’s criminal elite, he proves it in this issue where he targets detective Renee Montoya. As both Batman and Bruce Wayne, the Dark Knight faces Muscle and comes away with a particularly bad injury in his billionaire playboy persona.
Muscle ambushed Bruce’s limousine after he offered to take Renee home, hoping to offer her protection should the mercenary attack. Although that’s exactly what happened, things didn’t go as he might have hoped. Montoya was safe but Muscle had shot him in the shoulder, leaving him severely injured and unable to operate effectively as Batman.
Despite his physical limitations though, Batman never backs down. When Montoya is forced into a corner by Muscle, Batman must follow her. His solution is one straight out of his Batman Beyond future – a power brace. Similar to the device Batman uses on his knee in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, this powered shoulder brace allows him to continue fighting crime despite being told by his doctor to remain in bed.
This is quite the upgrade, enhancing Batman’s physical strength and dexterity despite the limitations of his body. That was essentially the reason he first built the Batman Beyond suit. As he grew older, he was unable to perform to the standard he had come to expect in the earlier years of his career. This put himself and others at risk. In response, he built the high-tech suit from the classic animated series to go beyond his physical limitations. Beneath the surface, that future suit is more or less made up of the same tech as the power brace seen here but applied to his entire body, not just his shoulder.
Although this is a step towards the future of the DCAU, Batman isn’t in Neo-Gotham just yet. Alfred points out that, even whilst wearing the power brace, the Dark Knight can barely lift his arm. Even with the latest technology, there’s still a long way to go before Batman’s tech can make up for a damaged body. The injury is still so bad that Alfred has to drive the Batmobile for the final confrontation with the Muscle. Then when it comes time to fight, he must rely on his wits to win, unable to defeat the villain in a direct confrontation.
This isn’t the first time this comic continuation of the original animated series has hinted at its sequel series. The second issue of Batman: The Adventures Continue‘s first season saw another hint at Batman Beyond‘s future when the Dark Knight went up against Superman villain Lex Luthor. In that story he donned a suit that looked like his Dark Knight Returns armor but with the added ability of flight. This is yet another ability implemented in his future Beyond suit, though with added wings then.
Altogether, these examples show how the DCAU’s Dark Knight is inching ever closer to his Batman Beyond future. Whilst the technology is nowhere close to what it will be when he dons the advanced suit of Neo-Gotham, the fact that Batman is using this tech already shows his increasing reliance on it to get the job done.
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