The origin story of Terry McGinnis, the Batman at the center of Batman Beyond, got a fairly significant tweak in this week's issue of the comic. The character, originally created for TV and appearing in a near-future DC Universe that didn't have dozens or hundreds of masked adventurers on duty, now has a modern-day DC superhero (or two) to thank for the events of his origin, even if he doesn't know it. It's the kind of quiet tweak to the mythology that writer Dan Jurgens used to slip into his run on Booster Gold all the time...which makes perfect sense.
After all, it was Booster -- in cooperation with the Bruce Wayne of the future -- who was responsible for the change. In a story that saw Booster and his robot pal Skeets team up with both Batmen, history was reshaped -- or is it just shaped?
Spoilers ahead for Batman Beyond #49, in stores now.
In the previous issue, Batman (Terry McGinnis) was attacked by his version of Bruce Wayne, and Booster Gold appeared in the Batcave to whisk him away to the past. Bruce had already killed Terry's younger brother, Booster warned, but it can still be stopped -- by going back in time and preventing it.
Not just going back ten minutes and getting Terry and Matt out of the Batcave. Instead, Booster said, Bruce Wayne had been implanted with a psychic suggestion back in 2020, during a battle with a villain named Blanque. While trying to intercede, Terry found himself rescuing a young boy who turned out to be his own father.
That leads us to this week's issue, which recaps Batman Beyond's origin story. After stopping members of the Jokerz gang from attacking an older Bruce Wayne, Terry McGinnis took on the mantle of Batman. He got home that day, though, and learned that his father had been killed by those same Jokerz.
Later, after an investigation, Terry found out that they weren't actually retaliating against him, but that the Jokerz had been sent after his father when his dad alerted the authorities to laws being broken by the company he worked for.
After his death, Bruce Wayne apparently found some old journals belonging to Warren McGinnis, including one with an entry that suggested he had been rescued by Batman when Blanque attacked in 2020. The twist? The Batman described in the journal entry had Terry's costume -- one that hadn't even been designed yet in 2020. Assuming time-travel had been involved, Bruce reached out to Booster Gold to make sure history played out the way it was supposed to.
Sometimes, Booster has the unpleasant task of making sure bad things happen. If Terry hadn't gone back in time and saved his father, it's possible that his father may have died then and there. Even if he didn't, that journal entry indicated that some of the moral compass that led him to blow the whistle on corrupt business practices came as a result of a pep talk he received from Terry-as-Batman when he was a kid. Without meeting Terry, it's possible that he could have survived but never made the decisions he did, and that Terry would never have become Batman.
These revelations came from Bruce Wayne and an older, cloaked version of Booster Gold, who met with Bruce in the Batcave after the McGinnis boys left. Bruce never really went crazy, they revealed, and Matt was never in any danger. Instead, it was all a show to get Terry to travel back to 2020.
Comments made by Bruce, helping Booster wrestle with the decision to do something they knew would ultimately get Warren killed, may be a nod to a pair of stories that happened back in 2018, when Booster appeared in both Action Comics alongside Superman and in the monthly Batman title.
In the Superman story (written by Jurgens), Booster and Skeets had to prevent Superman from traveling back to witness the destruction of Krypton. The Man of Steel thought that it might clarify claims made by a supervillain who said he was Jor-El, and that he had escaped Krypton's destruction, but Booster worried that even just being there could damage the timestream, since Superman may not be able to resist trying to save a planet full of innocent people, including his parents, being destroyed.
Those concerns weren't entirely unfounded; in the Jurgens-written Time Masters: Vanishing Point, Superman had been tempted to help people suffering from the Bubonic Plague, but Booster and Rip Hunter told Superman that doing so could compromise the timeline, and that those people's deaths were necessary to keep time intact.
(There also may be something to be said for this Batman Beyond story in which it turns out Warren was inspired to greatness by his son, without ever knowing it, since that is exactly the relationship that Booster Gold has with his mentor Rip Hunter, whom the younger Booster doesn't realize is his own son.)0comments
The 2018 Batman story, written by Tom King, saw Booster travel back in time to save Bruce Wayne's parents from being murdered, in order to give Batman a wedding present he would never forget. Before the timeline could be reset to make sure they died and Bruce became Batman, the Bruce Wayne of the altered timeline attacked Booster, leading to a story in which the Waynes survived but villains were able to overrun Gotham. At the time, Booster Gold fans argued that his actions didn't make sense given his character and his role as a Time Master, and although Jurgens never directly addressed that story, it's possible to read into some of Bruce's comments an implicit commentary on the Batman/Booster team up.
Batman Beyond #49 is now available at comic shops and to purchase digitally through ComiXology, Google Play, and other ebook storefronts. The fiftieth and final issue of the series will be in stores in December.