July 23rd is Batman Day, and I can think of no better way to celebrate 75 years of Batman stories than by looking at Justice League Unlimited‘s second season finale “Epilogue”—a Batman-centric episode that honors the character’s legacy, and one that I’m still not over.
Cartoon Network had yet to renew Justice League Unlimited for a third season when “Epilogue” was written, suggesting it was intended to bring the entire DC Animated Universe—which began in 1992 with the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series—to a close. The writers decided to end the DCAU where it all started. “Epilogue” finds a way to give the Batman character an ending that feels earned, and it reminds us of what made Batman so formidable and focuses on a side of him that often goes unnoticed.
Set 65 years in the future in the Gotham City of Batman Beyond, “Epilogue” drops a huge story bombshell: Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle)—the Batman of the future now that Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) has retired—discovers he is Bruce Wayne’s biological son, the result of a genetic experiment that involved overwriting his father’s DNA with Bruce’s DNA. The sole purpose of this experiment: to create a new Batman. When Terry finds out, he assumes that Bruce has masterminded the plan out of his arrogant belief that the world couldn’t go on without him. Having witnessed Bruce’s life in his old age, Terry becomes afraid at the the new revelation; he fears being as alone, cold, and miserable as Bruce is. READ FULL STORY