“Rebirth, Part 2” Wraps Up the Neo-Batman Origin Perfectly

An image of Bruce Wayne contemplating helping Terry

Supers looks at series that focus on superheroic beings, from Spawn to The Tick.

“Rebirth, Part 2” obviously continues from where the previous episode left off. Bruce has Terry down to the Batcave and they investigate the data which Terry found in his departed father’s briefcase. The disk holds information on some sort of flesh-eating virus that Powers has been developing in hopes of selling it to foreign terrorists. This is supposed to be a kids show, right? But hey, maybe kids need to know about the evils of the world too.

Wayne is furious that Powers is using Wayne-Powers Industries to bankroll this biological weapon but seems intent on letting the police handle the situation. Eventually Terry, who wants to take matters into his own hands, sneaks back into the Batcave and steals the most recent Batsuit. With the writers putting Bruce into a more passive role–after all, he must have really been effected by his eventual ineffectiveness to put his faith in the Gotham police–Terry steps up to the role of the vigilante. Much like Bruce in his younger days, Terry realizes that he must take justice into his own hands due to the corrupt system in which he lives, and is thus the ultimate neo-Batman.

The rest of the episode plays largely to this theme, with Terry going after Powers on his own, rogue if you will. He gets in some quippy dialogue here and there and has several scenes where he’s learning the suit as he goes, thus informing the audience of its capabilities. In some of these scene, I’m reminded that Terry McGinnis is sort of a mix between Bruce Wayne (lost his father, somewhat dark) and Peter Parker (is kind of a smart ass, is much more of a novice than Batman). Take for instance a scene where Terry is standing on a ledge, far off the ground and eaves dropping on one of Powers’ conversations. Before long security guards find Terry and corner him, asking if his costume is for Halloween. Terry replies, “I was thinking more for Fall.” and then falls backwards off the building, using Batwings to glide down. This sort of repertoire was hardly the kind of dialogue issued by Batman in Batman: TAS. I think at the end of the day, Batman Beyond needs a lighter hero, since its setting is arguably darker than it’s sibling series.

Back to the story, in the midst of fighting his way into Powers’ bioweapon processing center, Terry hear’s the voice of Bruce Wayne telling him that he (Terry) needs to return the Batsuit. Terry refuses and Bruce goes so far as to disable the suit–leading Terry to be practically paralyzed and come within an inch of his life–before letting Terry carry out his plans, albeit begrudgingly. When Bruce starts helping Terry, getting him to safe passages and teaching him how to use the suit, we hit upon one of the coolest features of the show; the relationship between Terry and Bruce, with Bruce playing mentor and Terry playing the surrogate child that Bruce never had, well besides Robin, Nightwing and Batgirl.

The plot plays out as expected, with Terry eventually coming up against Powers’ right-hand man who calls Terry a Batman imposter. Terry gets off the iconic line, “I am Batman”, sealing the deal that’s been building over the last two episodes. Terry has ascended to the role of Batman. He belongs there even, as we’ve seen in his character up until now.

The episode ends with a non-alias alliance being formed in the day light between Bruce and Terry–Terry is to “work” for Mr. Wayne as a “gofer”–and a haunting scene reminiscent of the Joker’s origins in Batman (1988) but with Powers. Not only is Terry Batman, but a new villain, directly linked to him, has emerged as well.

All in all, “Rebirth Parts 1 and 2”, serve as an enthralling origin story for Terry’s Batman Beyond, even if we’re prepped for some of the paces.

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