I can not adequately express how annoyed I continue to be with the way that trade paperback graphic novels fail to label their books. Even though Batman Beyond 2.0: Justice Lords Beyond (graphic novel 166 pages) was another great addition to the Batman Beyond storyline, I still feel as though I am obviously missing key portions of the plot for this series, which is not increasing my feelings of endearment towards DC Comics.
“The Justice Lords hail from an alternate universe where the Justice League decided to enforce law and order through any means necessary … and then took it too far, becoming despots. Years ago the Justice League defeated them, and Wonder Woman returned to their world with them to make sure they stayed in check. But something went wrong. Now, Wonder Woman is back in the world of Batman Beyond, and Superman and Bruce Wayne sense that she’s hiding something. As Terry McGinnis takes a dangerous trip to the Justice Lords’ world to find out Wonder Woman’s secrets – and encounters a version of himself whose life took a very different path – the Justice Lords return to our Earth in search of Wonder Woman. Can the Justice League of the future hope to defeat versions of themselves that are just as powerful but more ruthless? Or will the world of the future become another conquest for Lord Superman?”
I think it’s interesting how many of the stories I am reading or watching these days deal with the issue of people who start out as heroes and then become the villains of their stories. I guess it’s mostly interesting because of where I’m at in my own life right now, where it feels a bit like no matter how much I try to do the right thing, things tend to go worse and worse. This graphic novel is another example of how heroes often walk a slippery slope between keeping your people safe and denying your people every sense of freedom. All of the Justice Lords start out on the side of good and justice and then it gets harder and harder to protect the people in their lives and so they enact stricter and stricter rules, all designed to keep the people safe. These rules designed to keep the people safe eventually become such that no one is really free. This is one of those really philosophical topics that continues to be a point of concern and debate through every aspect of humanity. Would you rather live in a place that is safe, but where any mistake you make will be met with the most severe punishment imaginable, or would you rather live someplace less safe where you are free? I think this is one of those questions that will continue to provide conflicts for humanity for all the rest of our days.
Meanwhile, here’s a rant about how annoyed I am with my inability to find all of the story in one place: Would it really be so hard for trade paperback graphic novels to have a book listing, just like any other, normal book series? Most books on a shelf will have a list, in order, in the beginning of the book, for the previous books in the series. Some books even have the book number listed on the cover, such as “Book Three of the Awesome Book Series.” So I think that graphic novels, especially ones like this from a collection of comic books, should have a listing of the original comics so that you can tell if you missed any and also what the next trade paperback volume collection you should look for if you want to continue the storyline. I just checked and all of my Marvel Comics trade paperbacks show the front cover of each comic book included in the collection, so if nothing else, you could see when the original came out and what issue number it was, which seems like a reasonable way to include the necessary information for purchasing purposes.
Overall, I thought this graphic novel was a wonderful addition to the Batman Beyond storyline and I would enjoy it a lot more if I didn’t keep buying these in a wonky order and reading them while I am obviously missing massive chunks of important plot development. That’s why this is only going to rate as a high two on my rating scale. If the comic book industry did a better job of organizing their trade paperback graphic novels, I would buy more of their products.