01 March 2008

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Terry McGinnis

Terry McGinnis is Batman. Well, the Batman of the future at least. He was created in 1999 for the animated series Batman Beyond, and has also appeared in Justice League Unlimited, and even more recently has been seen in the comic continuity. He also has a pretty nice costume. At one point, a live-action Batman Beyond film was in consideration, but it got shelved for our beloved Batman Begins.

Terry was born in Gotham City on August 18, 2023, to Warren and Mary McGinnis. By his own admission, he was once a "bad kid." A member of a street gang run by youthful racketeer Charlie "Big Time" Bigelow, Terry has his fair share of run-ins with the Gotham City Police while in his early teens, even serving a three-month stint in juvenile hall. Years after Batman is last seen, he finds himself on the run from another street gang, the Jokerz, who model themselves after the deceased Clown Prince of Crime. Terry flees onto the grounds of Wayne Manor, where an aged Bruce Wayne comes to his defense. The strain of the fight places substantial stress on Bruce's heart, and he collapses. Terry helps Bruce into the mansion and gets him his medication; Bruce proceeds to fall asleep afterwards. Before leaving, Terry notices a bat stuck inside a grandfather clock. As he tries to free it he stumbles upon the entrance to the Batcave.

After Bruce kicks him out, Terry returns home to find his father murdered, and later discovers that Derek Powers --- who has assumed leadership of a merged Wayne-Powers — is responsible. He seeks Bruce's assistance in bringing Powers down, but despite Terry's insistence, Bruce, still shaken from an ordeal years earlier of having relied on a gun for self-defense, maintains that he has given up the cowl. Terry takes matters into his own hands and steals the latest incarnation of the Batsuit. Bruce admonishes him through the suit's communicator, and even shuts down the suit, leaving Terry paralyzed in a fight. Terry, however, is able to convince Bruce to help him confront Powers, who ordered Warren's death after the latter discovered Powers' plan to mass-produce biological weapons. In the end, Powers, who has been exposed to his own hazardous chemicals, experiences the onset of his mutation into Blight.

Convinced that there is still a need for a Batman, Bruce hires Terry as his "personal assistant" and begins secretly training him for his new role as Batman. In addition, Bruce assists Terry in the field primarily by keeping in continual contact with the boy at the Batcave.

After Powers' criminal identity is revealed to the public and he finally brings retribution to his father's killers, Terry decides to continue his role as Batman to make up for his past sins, in hope that his heroic role is his chance at redemption. As a student, he aspires of being a doctor, but his past always comes into his mind. Even though Bruce decides to fight crime after his parents were murdered, Terry has a different reason to continue; before Warren was murdered, Terry always felt guilty about letting his family and friends down because of his past as a juvenile delinquent. Because of this, he always tries to find a way to make up for what he's done – trying his best at school, joining athletic teams, and helping others, in the hope that someday people will see him differently. Terry originally assumed the role of Batman for his father, but eventually sees it as a chance to help people and to look like a worthwhile human being again, in his own eyes if in no one else's.

The Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue" reveals that Terry is Bruce's biological son due to Amanda Waller's "Batman Beyond" project. The project caused Terry's father to have his reproductive DNA overwritten and made Bruce's reproductive DNA dominant when Warren McGinnis took a fake flu shot. This makes Bruce the biological father of both Terry and his brother Matt, even if Warren McGinnis raised them.

The Dark Knight returns in 139 days!

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