Many fans were unhappy when Batman: The Animated Series ended in 1999, blaming the futuristic Batman Beyond for "killing" their show. Because fanboys hate change. But once they gave the new show a chance, they found a lot to like. Terry McGinnis made for a good Batman, and the series did a lot to honor what had gone before in the DCAU. Despite that, the show's place in continuity has always been a bit unclear - until recently. Justice League Unlimited firmly established Batman Beyond's spot in the canon, and the world appeared on the printed page as the final arc of Jeph Loeb's Superman/Batman run, "With a Vengeance."
In the future, Bruce Wayne has recruited another Batman to replace him in his old age. With high-tech equipment and youthful exuberance, Tim Drake, the sleek successor for the Mantle of the Bat, has learned from the best just how to strike fear into criminals' hearts.
In "With a Vengeance" (or just "Vengeance," as the tpb and this toyline call it) there was a whole lot of reality-jumping, as the heroes went from one Elseworld to the next, one of which gave us a Batman wearing the Beyond costume. Sure, the dialogue referred to him as "Tim" rather than "Terry," but Loeb has said that was a mistake - like so many before him, Batman Beyond made the jump from the cartoon to the comics.
The figures in "Superman/Batman Series 4: Vengeance Series 1"
are once again based on the artwork of Ed McGuinness, proving that even DCD recognized how awful those Michael Turner-styled "The Supergirl From Krypton" figures were. Since E. McG. has such a cartoony style, his rendition of Batman Beyond looks entirely natural. He's based on the same generic body as most of the other McGuinness figures, so he's a bit bulkier than the cartoon, but not terribly so. In the cartoon, Terry was a teenager, so he was still kind of skinny - this figure just looks like an adult. Like in the JLU Season 1 episode "Epilogue."
All the previous McGuinness figures were sculpted by Tim Bruckner, working on a "blank" body that then has the appropriate details added to it. The packaging credits Shoop Sculptural Designs for Batman Beyond, but the style is consistent. Of course, the Batsuit Beyond is a very sleek number, with even less detail than the current version. It's a smooth black suit with no details save for the spikes under his forearms. The silver utility belt is more like individual capsules than a true belt, and his angular red bat symbol is a raised element.
Ed McGuinness typically draws his heroes with big square jaws, but the Beyonder here gets something different. In order to more closely resemble his animated counterpart, the figure has a noticably pointy chin. His eyes and mouth are simple white slits, just as in the show. Overall, the figure looks very simple in both paint and sculpt, but that really works for him. The ears are a little longer than the standard Batman, interestingly.
Batman Beyond is a bit light on articulation, of course. The fact that the head isn't a balljoint still shows remarkably poor judgement on DCD's part - a swivel just doesn't cut it. His shoulders are balljointed, and he has hinged elbows, but no wrists, sadly. No waist, of course, but he does move at the hips and knees plus, surprisingly, swivel joints in his shins. What? Why those instead of wrists or a waist? It's really odd.
There's just something neat about getting a non-animated figure of a purely animated character. Even if it's in a slightly cartoony style, it's still unique. The only things missing are his red glider wings - they would have made for great accessories. Batman Beyond isn't the greatest toy of the year, but he is darn cool.