This issue picks up right after the Free Comic Book Day zero issue. Starting thirty-five years from now, we see the future has gone to hell. It's pretty bad for the heroes and villains in the DCU and there's only one hope, to go back in time and prevent certain things from happening. The problem is, that plan doesn't go as intended. Terry McGinnis goes back but ends up in the wrong time, five years from now and seven years too late. This future is more similar to what we're familiar with but there are already signs of the dark times coming.
It's not just about Batman Beyond as we see other areas of the New 52. Given the 'five years from now' timeline, the writers are free to go all out and shake up or blow up what they please. This adds to the gravity of the situation and keeps readers on edge. Especially when you see the last page.
The fact that we don't have a focus on the A-listers is pretty cool. As a fan of Grifter, it's interesting to see him here in action and you have to wonder what role he'll play in all of this. We don't have to have Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc always at the front of big comic book events in the DCU.
Those that didn't or weren't able to pick up the zero issue will be missing out. Without seeing the dark future or why it was Terry that came into the past will be lost upon them. As a first issue, it's not overly new reader friendly. There is a lot going on and being set up here but without that anchor of what is at stake, it might be hard to connect or fully get invested in a weekly series.
I mentioned that I dig the lack of the A-listers That could be a deterrent for some. In this issue we have Grifter, Stormwatch, Mr. Terrific, and Firestorm. If you think about it, all of them had their own series and all have been canceled (STORMWATCH's final issue was last month).
If you haven't picked up the Free Comic Book Day zero issue, hopefully you can still track one down. While you can still dive into this story, set five years from now, having an idea what the New 52 universe thirty-five years from now looks like and why Batman Beyond time traveled back would help appreciate this issue. As a first issue, those that missed out might find themselves scratching their heads. This can definitely be a fun ride as a weekly series but there's a little too much going on in this issue. Having the cast of the issue consist of different characters whose books have all been canceled is an interesting decision. We shouldn't always see the big guns in comic book events but the reality of it is, that might be more appealing to readers not fully invested in the fate of the entire New 52 Universe. There is a pretty crazy cliffhanger and that alone will make you want to return next week for the second issue. But try to find a copy of the FCBD one.