The DC Rebirth initiative is finally reaching the far-off year of Batman Beyond, and in its first shake-up, it looks like Matt McGinnis will be claiming the position of his brother’s Robin.
Batman Beyond is a somewhat odd concept which originated in the DC Animated Universe TV series. Basically, in a cyberpunk “Neo-Gotham” about forty or so years in the future, an old and retired Bruce Wayne passes on his title to a young man named Terry McGinnis, whose own father was just murdered as part of a corporate cover-up. Terry’s Batsuit is made of advanced fibers with a variety of features, and many of his foes are new versions of Bruce’s, such as a local gang called the Jokerz.
The series (which ran from 1999 to 2001) was popular enough that a modified version of these events and characters have been declared as official in the mainstream DC Universe, with its ongoing beginning in 2011. March will see issue #18 coming out, with a cover image already released: Terry’s little brother Matt in the Batcave, smashing into the display case with former Robin Damian Wayne’s suit, apparently planning to do it himself and help out in a deadly situation.
In the show, Matt was depicted as being very young and knew nothing of about his brother’s exploits; indeed, he loved Batman but thought Terry, who was often off “working” for old Mr. Wayne, was something of a bore. In the comics, however, he has grown up several years and knows the truth, and has been seen carefully studying old videos of Damian Wayne training and trying to imitate them himself. In that regard, donning the costume himself is the obvious next step in his character arc.
Terry has never been depicted with a Robin, either in the show or comics, so this will give him another aspect of the Batman identity to learn and struggle with. It will also be a different take on the Dynamic Duo; while fans have previously had a brotherly team with Dick as Batman and Damian as Robin, their dynamic was largely one of becoming brothers as Damian grew to accept his father’s old protege as a worthy mentor. Terry and Matt are more typical siblings, with all of the love and hatred already built into their relationship. That has the potential to be even more dysfunctional.