WW: Music, Hugs, and Batman Beyond

This week’s Wednesday Whittling
combines comics with one of my other loves: music.

I wanted to write a post about a book
that drops today. I’m picking up Blue Beetle #2 and Batman Beyond #1. Blue
has been interesting through its Rebirth and #1 issues but I can tell
things are still very much developing there. Meanwhile, Batman Beyond has a fair
amount of background built up, as it had a 16 issue run by Dan Jurgens before
DC rebooted the universe.

Jurgens is still at the helm of the
Rebirth plotline, which centers on the return of Terry McGinnis as Batman of
Neo Gotham. McGinnis was long thought to be dead – collateral damage as he
sacrificed himself for another member of the Bat family, Red Robin. But it
turns out he never even left town.


After a long time spent hypnotized
Terry is re-acclimating to the world he’s always known. But at nature’s mercy
it’s also a world that kept moving without him, and even though he’s doing what
he can to feel “normal,” we can tell he’s not. And this is where the music
comes in.

One of my favorite records ever is The
’59 Sound
 by the Gaslight Anthem. It’s an introspective burst where
every song tells a story that comes out because it cannot be suppressed any
longer. One of my favorite songs on the album is “Meet Me By The River’s Edge”
because of lines like “and I’m not sure if I belong here, if I ever really
left, or if I can go home.” Right now, that’s Terry’s waking life. Every moment
spends itself asking him, “what are you doing here? Don’t you know?”

Now, we’ve all been there and know the
answer is maddening. And that lyric isn’t the only commonality between ’59
 and Batman Beyond. The album’s conceit regards
knowing you need to do something and then doing it, even though
you know you don’t know how.  


I was actually lamenting the end of
the pre-Rebirth storyline and the return of Terry because it seemed primed to
go chalk and provide the most convenient narrative that appealed to the most fans.
It didn’t – not off the bat, at least – and I’m putting my trust in Jurgens to keep it that way.

There was a time when ’59 Sound was a shoebox bet to be playing
in my car or on my computer. That time has passed but it’s still essential to
me. A large part of my heart has been built with it, and though I’ve gone and
put drywall over the framework and am lining the halls with pictures, it was
nice to be reminded what’s underneath by Batman
Especially after the book already had 16 issues…its Rebirth started with a hug instead of a “nice to see you.”

P.S. DC, could you not spoil your own
damn title? The Rebirth ads for
Beyond told us Terry was returning months before Tim Drake’s
story was done! Come on! I don’t want to play poker with people who show me
their cards.


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