With all the Joker King business behind us, it’s time to finally give full attention to what Max is doing. But before that, BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #15 sees the man of steel embroiled in a war he helped start years before. Can Superman mend the division between the Trillians and the Mangals? What sort of task must Max do that would motivate the mysterious Rebel One to not only capture her, but reveal the true nature of their organization? And can the future Justice League save Green Lantern Kai-Ro from the clutches of the Brain Trust?
First is the Superman Beyond storyline already in progress. The Man of Steel as a younger hero traveled the universe righting wrongs where he found them. One planet of Trillia contained an advanced civilization, built on the backs of a race called the Mangals. Superman saw the oppression, and freed them from captivity. But years later, he finds that the world didn’t simply fall into peace. The Mangals, young and angry at their former captors, raised terrible weapons and struck against the Trillians in acts of terrorism.
The Trillians saw Superman as a demon who turned their loyal Mangals against them, and sent scientists to capture him for punishment. But as they tortured Superman, the Mangals broke into the prison and rescued him. But to Superman’s surprise, the Mangals were no longer the diminutive halfling beasts he knew, but large, muscular men. The Mangals had grown up, and not even they knew it happen.
The previous installments established the Trillians in a sympathetic light. They were and are people, a society with its own values and needs. Most individuals would have oppressed the Mangals little, and now live in fear. But most individuals are, as it turns out according to BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #15, also ignorant of just how horrid their own system was. And it comes down to one simple thing: the Mangals are sentient beings who would be slaves…except the Trillians treated them less as slaves and more as domesticated animals. And when a creature in their service becomes as huge and dominating as the Mangals do in adulthood, steps would need to be taken to ensure the power structure is not upset.
To the shared horror of both Superman and the reader, the Mangals never knew they were capable of such size and strength because no working Mangal under the Trillians was allowed to live past adolescence. And let’s not even talk about what the Trillain slave masters did to replenish the stock.
Oh, and then the Trillains launch their attack. Superman, unable to condemn either group, has to decide what, if anything, he should do. And even if he does intervene and try to stop an all out war, he’s only one super man.
Oh hey almost spoilers! Let’s move on, shall we?
Concerning the future Justice League, future Green Lantern got kidnapped off panel! And it looks like the Brain Trust is responsible, brainwashing him into their service.
Okay, backing up. Last issue the Brain Trust was referred to very briefly, as an organization allied with the villain of that issue. I know very little of them except what I’ve gathered here, but the Brain Trust is apparently a group dedicated to using superpowered children to foster their own esoteric form of fascistic world domination. Of course. To that end, several such metahuman youths have gone missing through the country, and Kai-Ro, resident Green Lantern and member of the future Justice League, is now one of them.
Fortunately, the Guardians of the Universe in the DC animated universe never went full supervillain – unlike their counterparts in the main universe continuity – and kindly revealed the secret to tracking green lantern rings. As such, the League tracked the last known location: a quaint little small town with an old-fashioned aesthetic called Fawcett City. Obviously a reference to the home city of DC’s Captain Marvel.
Come to think of it, if he or his successor shows up in later issues, will they still call him Captain Marvel? Or will they call him Shazam, like they do in the main universe comic?
And finally there’s the main future Batman feature, starring supporting character Max Gibson. And it’s a mark of how little she’s been in the comic so far that I had to look her last name up. During the whole mass attack of Gotham City by Jokerz, members of a hacker collective called the Undercloud kidnapped Max. She woke up in the presence of their leader, the enigmatic Rebel One. This despite the fact that the Uindercloud, as far as any individual member is concerned, has no central authority. In reality it’s all directed by this guy/girl. We don’t know, because Rebel One dresses in a baggy costume with a mask and goggles, and uses voice modulation to hide their identity.
BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #15 has Rebel reveal their plan: level the city using a robot and force it to be rebuilt with everyone on equal footing. Because Rebel has a huge anti-classist agenda and hates the fat cats. So basically it’s Bane’s cover agenda from The Dark Knight Rises, except presumably we’re meant to take Rebel at goggle-mask value.
But what really got me was the nature of the robot. The comic never outright states it by name, but the robot itself is constructed of various metals and will be activated by the use of the salvaged Responsometers of Doctor William Magnus. Oh yes, the comic is going there. It’s the Metal Men.
I could go into the ins and outs of who the Metal Men are, but I’ve got a busy week, so just look it up yourselves. Maybe I’ll give a detailed overview next month.