"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
We turn our attention now to Batman. Terry McGinnis, the Batman from Batman Beyond has been folded into the Nu52DCU as the future trainee of Bruce Wayne in a world ruled by Brother Eye. Traveling to the past to prevent this future, McGinnis has proven utterly and completely ineffectual at this task. To put it bluntly: he’s shit. Welcome to “Batman Beyond Year One.”
Mr. Terrific equates creating technology with being a superhero. He surrounds himself with flunkies, yesmen, and grunts to do the dirty work. He is doomed to destroy humanity. He is the bad guy. He is the overwhelming force of the Gotham mob and police force rolled into one. Except, there is no one looking to bring down his ‘corruption.’ The closest we get to dissent from Mr. Terrific is the Justice League, which seems to resent him not think him a bad person, and some criminals that want to steal his latest invention. As corrupt as Gotham City once was, it at least had something outside itself to measure its corruption; the ‘outside world’ that shines a light on the corruption of Terrifitech doesn’t exist yet.
Terry McGinnis is a Batman that is truly alone. Literally all that he has is his training, his cybernetic butler program, some bits of technology, and the knowledge that he must stop the future from happening. Without the resources of Bruce Wayne and against an even more overwhelming enemy force, it’s no wonder that he looks a little shit. Ever since arriving in this time, he’s been living on the streets, had one failed attempt at breaking into Terrifitech, and has been at a loss for how to proceed.
Of all the characters in Futures End, he is the only one with a clear mission and, yet, he’s been the biggest failure. Part of it is the circumstances that I have outlined; part of it is that there is no clear solution. Brother Eye already exists, albeit in a dormant state. McGinnis’s real goal is to prevent the artificial intelligence from becoming functional again. Even if he were to take out Mr. Terrific, that wouldn’t guarantee a victory. He’s been waiting and observing, because he doesn’t know what to do. Like many heroes, he’s in a post-war environment (a different war) and doesn’t know what to do without a war to fight. The image of him as a homeless man is not an accidental one.
I know it’s not true, but I want to attribute his discovery by Mr. Terrific and the Brother Eye cyborg future Plastique falling into Terrific’s hands to McGinnis’s strategy. Subterfuge and covert moves have not worked. Perhaps, only by raising the stakes, by changing the rules of engagement, can he finally have an enemy that he can defeat. He can’t hit a dormant satellite. But, something more active, not as advanced as the Brother Eye he knew? Use Mr. Terrific’s reckless abandon to embrace technology against him… Kill the future by embracing it… That seems too clever for the kid, but I hold out hope…
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