- “If Batman's not around--”
- ―Bruce Wayne
- “I've got it covered. Always.”
- ―Terry McGinnis
During the Justice League's both hostile and friendly encounters, Amanda Waller developed a great admiration for Batman and came to believe that someone like the Dark Knight would always be needed. While watching Batman age, Waller realized he wouldn't be around forever and the Dark Knight would have to retire or someone would finally kill him. Drawing on her old Cadmus contacts, Waller devised a scheme to give Batman a genetic "son" who would likewise be compelled to take up a life as his successor. After obtaining a sample of Batman's DNA, a young couple was later found that were almost identical psychological matches to Batman's father and mother: Warren and Mary McGinnis. During an apparent routine flu inoculation, Warren was administered a nanotech solution that over-wrote his reproductive DNA with Batman's. A year later, Terry McGinnis was born as a genetic son of Mary and Batman.
Knowing that genetics were not the only factor in creating Batman, Waller later hired an assassin to murder Terry's parents at the same age and under very similar circumstances as his predecessor to try to recreate these conditions. The hired assassin, former romance Andrea Beaumont, recognized what the murders had done to Bruce and realized that she would be dishonoring everything he stood for, refused to subject another child to the same horrors. When Waller realized she had crossed a line, the project was scrapped.
Sometime after his brother was born and his parents divorced, Terry McGinnis turned to being a member of a street gang run by Charlie "Big Time" Bigelow, and had his fair share of run-ins with the Gotham Police Department in his early teens, even serving a three-month stint in juvenile hall.
As he returned to high school, however, he shed some of his worst habits and acquired Dana Tan as a girlfriend. Terry still had trouble relating to his father Warren McGinnis accusing him of being irresponsible. On what proved to be the last night of Warren's life, Terry stormed out of the house after an argument.
While defending Dana from another street gang, Terry found himself being chased by them to the outskirts of Gotham City. He fled onto the grounds of Wayne Manor, where an aged Bruce Wayne appeared and assisted him in defeating the Jokerz. The strain of the fight placed substantial stress on Bruce's heart, and he collapsed. Terry helped Bruce into the mansion and then stumbled upon the entrance to the Batcave.
Bruce kicked Terry out, but Terry returned home to find it covered in Jokerz graffiti, and discovered his father had been murdered. Grief-stricken, Terry looked through his father's belongings and found a disk that Warren had taken from his employer Derek Powers, the new head of Wayne-Powers. Realizing there was more to his father's death than first appeared, Terry rushed back to Wayne Manor and demanded to be let in.
As Bruce examined the disk in the Batcave, Terry noticed the latest-generation Batsuit Wayne had used before retiring. The disk revealed that Powers was making a deadly nerve gas to sell to the government of Kaznia, but Bruce refused to get involved and ordered Terry to go to the police. On the way, Terry encountered Powers himself who knew the disk had to be somewhere and it was taken. Terry managed to escape from him, however, and ran off.
Returning to Wayne Manor, he tied up Ace and stole the Batsuit. When Bruce discovered the theft, he admonished Terry through the suit's communicator, but Terry was adamant on confronting Powers. Bruce retaliated by shutting the suit down, in the middle of a confrontation with Powers's security guards. Terry pleaded with Bruce for a chance to prove himself, and persuaded Wayne to re-activate the suit and let him carry on as Batman for the time being. Bruce's decision resulted in Terry sabotaging Powers's operation; the stores of the chemical weapon were lost in the Gotham River, along with Mr. Fixx (Powers's henchman and Warren's murderer) while Powers himself was inadvertently exposed to his own weapon.
Convinced that there was still a need for a Batman, Bruce visited Terry early one morning at their home and under the pretext of paying back a previous act of kindness hired Terry as his personal assistant. Terry would run various errands and took care of various tasks for Bruce in his civilian identity. In part, this was a cover for secretly training him as Gotham's new Dark Knight. Terry's job also allowed him to earn much needed money to help support his family since his father's death.
Terry McGinnis quickly found himself walking in the footsteps of his mentor in many ways. Like his predecessor, Batman amassed his own rogue's gallery of villains, including Blight (Derek Powers's mutated form after radiation therapy), the shape-changing Inque, the telekinetic high school nerd Willie Watt, former psychologist Spellbinder, sound engineer Shriek, the assassin Curaré, and the Royal Flush Gang. At one time, Terry also found himself taking after his mentor in getting entangled without meaning to with a woman who was in reality a criminal — Melanie Walker. After this encounter, Bruce related by telling Terry of his own complicated relationship with Selina Kyle.
Terry also gained a collection of allies. These included Barbara Gordon, the Commissioner of the Gotham Police Department. Terry's most valuable ally by far was school friend Maxine "Max" Gibson stumbling on his secret identity when they were both threatened by a rogue student, and turned her considerable brains and energy to his aid. Max had first-class skills with research, data retrieval, and computer hacking. More than that, she helped Terry maintain his "normal" life as a high-school student, and was always there with a sympathetic ear (as Terry jokingly called her his "Alfred" after she ordered him never to address her as Robin).
But Terry was different from Bruce in many ways. Unlike his mentor, he had a childhood (of sorts), and also faced the demands of a normal youth his age: a school career, his girlfriend Dana Tan, and the responsibilities of an eldest son in a family which included his mother Mary McGinnis and his kid brother Matt McGinnis. Although it was often a greater strain for him to maintain his secret life with Mary, Matt and Dana, Terry was able find a source of solace with Bruce, Barbara, Max and Ace.
Batman occasionally faced some of his predecessor's old enemies, including Mr. Freeze now in new body and a suit equipped with freeze gun gauntlets; a group of super-strong teenagers using steroids made from Bane's venom; the longevous Ra's al Ghul; and the Joker himself as undoubtedly the greatest challenge. Having cheated death by transferring his consciousness into a microchip implanted in Tim Drake, Joker returned to menace the new Batman by combining all his old cunning and dangerous unpredictability with a much-stronger genetically engineered body, Tim's wealth of technical knowledge and martial training as Robin. At first, the young Dark Knight and the old Clown Prince of Crime both made the mistake of underestimating each other; Batman dismissed the "clown" as an ineffective prankster, while Joker dismissed the "Bat-Fake" as a "rank amateur" dependent on advice from his elderly predecessor. Both were proven incorrect, but Batman turned the former into a truism to win the day, putting a final end to Joker; this earned him the heartfelt respect not only of Bruce, but also of Barbara and Tim.
Although he came to prefer operating alone like his predecessor, Batman was once offered membership in the Justice League Unlimited by Superman. Though he may have been more tempted than his predecessor was at the time, Batman eventually declined, put off by the other Leaguers' willingness to endanger his life. In the process, however, Batman almost single-handedly saved Superman, and in turn the world, from an alien invasion, likewise earning the respect of the JLU.
He continued to don the cowl for the next fifteen years after finishing high school. Bruce eventually trusted him enough to continue Batman's crusade against crime on his own. To preserve their relationship, Dana was also let in on his secret. He also became a prominent member of the JLU, seemingly becoming their leader in Superman's absence.
When he was 31 years old, Terry discovered a shocking truth. When Bruce's failing health required a tissue donor so kidneys could be cloned for transplant, Terry was checked for compatibility and told he was a perfect match. This led Terry to investigate, discovering that he was Batman's genetic son all along. Disillusioned, he believed that his whole life had been a lie, that Bruce had planned everything from the beginning and "trapped" him into becoming Batman. He even imagined leaving Bruce for good, breaking up with Dana, and eventually resigning as Batman. However, Amanda Waller told him the truth about Project Batman Beyond.
Waller would go on to tell Terry that his life was still his to choose, but he was worthy of being Batman. Waller emphasized he was not a clone, but Batman's son. Maybe Terry was not as smart as his predecessor, but he was every bit as compassionate and devoted to justice. She also enforced upon him that his predecessor's way wasn't always the best way, and Terry should take care to keep his friends and family close.
Armed with this advice, Terry reconciled with his biological father, prepared to propose to Dana, and returned to the role of Batman with renewed purpose and perspective.
Batman's secret identity
- Main article: List of people who know Batman's secret identity
While Batman kept his identity a closely guarded secret, there were a number of individuals to whom he had either revealed his identity or had discovered it. Among the most prominent ones were Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake, Max Gibson and The Joker.
Though he did not possess anything close to Bruce Wayne's years of training in martial arts and the science of detection, Terry McGinnis was an able street fighter and an agile gymnast before taking up the Batman mantle.
Initially the Batsuit gave him several advantages in battle, including flight, enhanced strength, and protection from attack. However, he engaged in regular and rigorous training to ensure he did not become completely dependent on it, and soon developed an Olympic-level physique and lightning-quick reflexes. Terry was also somewhat less dependent on the formal fighting styles Bruce had employed in his day, and quite willing to use dirty tricks whenever necessary (a fact mentioned by the Joker after being hit below the belt).
Terry received further training from Kairi Tanaga, who commented that one of his weaknesses was a tendency to lower his guard on the left side.
Terry also extensively studied Bruce's old files to develop his skills at medicine, mechanics, and investigation. Though he was not formally trained as a detective, he had above-average intelligence and often made intuitive leaps that surprised his mentor. Terry was also very street-smart, which enabled him to go undercover in many situations and often talk his way out of a tight fix.
Probably his most important strength was the realization that he did not have to be just like the old Batman, but had talents the other didn't possess. The most shining example of this was shown during his confrontation with the Joker, when Terry unsettled the villain through mind games instead of physical combat, taunting the Joker with biting wit and finally laughing at the Joker — something that was beyond the old Batman.
Equipment and vehicles
- Main article: Batsuit
Terry McGinnis donned the last Batsuit ever built. Initially developed presumably to compensate for Bruce Wayne's advancing age, Terry inherited the suit when he assumed the mantle of the Dark Knight. The suit incorporated most of the features and gadgets of previous costumes, such as batarangs, grappling guns, bolas, smoke pellets, tracers, and retractable claws, among other things. It also had new features such as a cloaking device and flight capability. But for long range flights, Terry generally used a severely upgraded version of the Batmobile.
Will Friedle developed two distinct voices to use between Terry McGinnis and Batman much like Kevin Conroy does with Bruce Wayne and Batman. Whereas Conroy depicts Batman as the normal voice while raising the pitch for Bruce, Friedle did the opposite with Terry being the real voice while Batman speaks with a more gruff tone (likely due to being Batman after his voice had already matured).
According to Dwayne McDuffie (the writer of the episode "Epilogue"), Bruce Wayne (the world's greatest detective) became aware that the McGinnis boys (Terry and Matt) were his genetic offspring at some point after Terry assumed the role of Batman. But Bruce chose not to tell Terry as he wanted Terry to be his own man and out of respect for the man who had raised him from birth.
Terry's version of Batman has recently made a few jumps into the mainstream DC Comics universe. The first time, during a Batman/Superman series, a character resembling Terry fights off Bizarro. Originally, this character was identified as "Tim", but this was changed to "Terry" in the trade paperback. The second time was during the Final Crisis series, where the Batman of Earth-12 was Terry. Later appearances of this universe establish it as wholly different from the Beyond era of the DCAU.
In Superman/Batman Annual #4, Paul Levitz created a story that built heavily on Batman Beyond, but ignored most of the other DCAU shows. It is set after the episode "The Call". Batman discovers Superman has, over the years, teleported all criminals he apprehended to the Phantom Zone, and Lex Luthor has returned to try to get revenge one last time.
In Batman #700, in an alternate future detailing Damian Wayne's days as Batman, he saves a baby identified as the son of Warren and Mary McGinnis. In the next chapter, Terry is seen as Batman mentored by an older Damian, fighting Dee Dee, Ghoul, Chucko and the Joker. This version of Terry was mentioned again in Superman/Batman #75.
A new 6-issue miniseries debuted in June 2010, specifically meant to bring the Batman Beyond-franchise into the mainstream universe. In the story, Terry McGinnis has to deal with Hush killing several of Batman's enemies, old and new ones alike. Hush is later revealed to be a Cadmus clone of Dick Grayson. The series features many people from the series, including the McGinnis family, Dana, Max, the JLU, Shriek, Stalker and Spellbinder.
An ongoing series was released in January 2011. It continues on from the 6-issue miniseries.
DC Animated Universe
Before Terry had become the new Batman, he was in a relationship with his long-time girlfriend; Dana Tan. However, their relationship started to become strain as becoming the new Batman took up a lot of Terry's time which led to him having to cancel plans at the last minute, spend less time together and sometimes not even arrive for a planned date, which led to them breaking up more than once. Dana had a short patience for Terry's job, despite knowing that it was also a way for Terry to help his family since his father's death. Dana has sometimes even felt that Terry seems to care more about his job than their relationship. However, Terry and Dana would always work out their issues and get back together. Eventually, Dana came to accept this as she believed that Terry has now started to see Bruce Wayne as a father figure as his own had passed away.
Terry and Dana are shown to care a great deal for each other as Terry became greatly worried when Dana was kidnapped by a disfigured Rat boy and when the Jokerz had attacked them at a night club. Terry is shown to care such a great deal about Dana that he even admitted to her that while his job is important, he reveals that she is more important to him, which leads to the two to share a sweet-tender moment together. Dana is also shown to worry for Terry in return, as when she first dropped him off near Wayne Manner alone and when Terry was absent from school after spending time with him the previous night. She's also been shown to worry for Terry's well-being as when Charlie Bigelow had returned.
The two continued to date for fifteen years after finishing high school and eventually Dana had discovered Terry's secret as Batman. However, when Terry had discovered that he was actually Bruce's biological son, Terry started to believe that his whole life had been a lie and imagined himself breaking up with Dana due to him being cursed to live the life of his predecessor. Eventually after a talk with Amanda Waller and learning the truth, Terry had gained a new perspective and took Waller's advice to look after the people he loved and cared for. He thus planned to propose to Dana during the next date they had previously arranged.
Shortly after one of his and Dana's many breakups, Terry soon met Melanie Walker at a night club. Terry and Melanie soon started to bond as they both expressed their problems in life. Melanie and Terry then promised to meet the next night at the same spot, before shortly leaving. However, like Terry, Melanie also had a criminal secret identity as she and her entire family were the new Royal Flush Gang.
Due to one of the gang's next attacks, both Terry and Melanie were one hour late meeting each other at the spot they promised. However they shortly met each other and spent the whole night together becoming even more closer. Later, Melanie had sadly informed Terry that her parents were planning on "moving" again. Wanting to spend as much time together as they could, both promised to meet again the next night. However, while Terry had showed up, Melanie was persuaded by her family to stay with them and leave Terry. She called, telling him she couldn't see him anymore. Figuring something was wrong, Batman went to investigate and had shockingly discovered the truth about Melanie and her family. The next morning, Terry watched as Melanie and her family were arrested, leaving him heartbroken.
Since then, Terry was deeply hurt from Melanie's betrayal and wouldn't face her again until she had returned to Gotham as she had plans to rob a Derby in order to rescue her kidnapped family. Before the heist, Melanie had seeked out Terry, where the two had briefly reconnected as despite what happened in the past, both Melanie and Terry proved to still have deep feelings for each other. Later, while Batman and Ten attempted to rescue her family, Ten gave Batman a letter to Terry and asked him to deliver it to him once this was over. However, Terry had decided to move on from Melanie and continued his relationship with Dana, without ever reading the letter Melanie gave to Batman.