2014 is the year of the Bat. Batman, that is. Bruce Timm’s got things rolling as he celebrated Batman’s 75th in style with Batman: Strange Days a black-and-white short inspired by film noir. Inspired by this, our very own Chris Bennet went on the offensive campaigning to bring back Batman: The Animated Series (#BringBackTAS) and I for one couldn’t agree more. I mean, let’s face it, the series was fan freaking-tastic! But 2014 is far from over, which means that the celebration is set to continue for quite some time. And up next, Darwyn Cooke – a seasoned veteran of the DC Animation camp – has a brand new Batman Beyond short in the pipelines, set to premier at WonderCon 2014.
Cooke originally worked on Batman Beyond as well as Justice League: The New Frontier and Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics. The Batman Beyond series is set 40 years after Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series in a futuristic Gotham influenced by cyberpunk and sci-fi. An elderly Bruce Wayne has retired from the cape and cowl, and we are introduced to Terry McGinnis, a troubled teenager who adopts the mantle Batman in this Neo Gotham.
Batman Beyond not only continued the Batman legacy, but also incorporated the larger DC animated universe including (but not limited to) Static Shock, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. It also managed to keep the Batman: The Animated Series continuity in canon. Timm revealed in an interview with Comic Alliance that Kevin Conroy did a voice recording for another short that same day he did Strange Days, but couldn’t comment on the project. Could this be it? After all, Conroy provided the voice for Bruce Wayne during Batman Beyond’s three season run.
The teaser video released (see above) features Terry in the suit fighting another Batman dressed the more traditional costume seen in The New Adventures of Batman. Personally ,I think it means HARDAC is back. HARDAC (or (Holographic Analytical Reciprocating Digital Android Computer) is a supercomputer built by Dr. Karl Rossum; and it had the ability to create life like androids. Copies so lifelike they believed they were the originals. In the case of “His Silicon Soul”, the Bat-Duplicate believed it was the real Bruce Wayne/Batman. And by the end of the episode we see Batman with half of a robotic face in a very Terminator-esque moment.
Stories about Dr. Rossum’s research – or even a program like HARDAC becoming self-aware – are shoo-ins for the Batman Beyond universe since the emphasis in the series has always been on technological and scientific progress. For more on HARDAC, check out “Heart of Steel” parts 1 and 2 and “His Silicon Soul” . They’re great episodes, and I’ll happily take every chance I get to talk about Batman: The Animated Series – especially the villains: HARDAC, Mr. Freeze, and Clayface.
WonderCon 2014 is this weekend, so hopefully the short will find it way to the net. It’s fitting we should get a Batman Beyond short since it coincides with his debut into The New 52 universe this May during Free Comic Book Day as a part of Brian Azzarello’s Futures End.