I remember catching a brief glimpse of Batwing on the cover of Batman Incorporated #6 (Batwing made his first appearance in issue #5), thinking, “What a nifty and rather practical costume this Batperson has!” and nothing else, until I was going through the covers for the #1’s of the DC Reboot…and saw that same nifty costume on the cover of the oddly named new series, Batwing.
I didn’t quite understand why anyone would choose the moniker “Batwing” in the first place, but having a Batman-type superhero in Africa seemed like a promising new series.
Batwing #1 was a great introduction to David Zavimbe, head officer of the police precinct, and Batwing himself. I really like how even outside of his Batwing persona, David himself is also trying to uphold justice. The main villain, for at least this particular arc, is Massacre, one of the most appropriately/bluntly named villains I have come across in a while! What kind of face does this dastardly man have behind the mask? By the end of the issue do I even want to know?
And speaking of the end, I know that the intent was supposed to be dramatic, and cliff-hanger like, but all I was feeling was, “Really? After your first issue?” In the ending’s defense, I did want to know what was going to happen, and I did indeed come back for more. Judd Winick does a great job of painting a brief picture of David’s world and providing a voice for him. Massacre’s actions are written very well, with Winick having him live up to his name. Ben Oliver’s pencils fit the tone of the book very well. I’m usually not a fan of pencils like these in terms of how civilians are drawn, but here, Oliver’s pencils, coupled with Brian Reber’s colors, look quite awesome, especially Batwing and Massacre. I don’t have much else to say about this first issue (mainly because I’ve misplaced it and can’t reread it right now), except that it was a really good first start to this brand new series.
Spoilers for issues 2 &3
Now, Batwing #2 solidified the Batwing series as one of the New 52 titles that I would add to my pull at the comic book store. David was absolutely amazing this issue. Massacre described him as having a “lion’s heart.” I believe that we readers would more poetically describe David as being a badass, especially when we come to the last page of the issue. Now, David doesn’t actually do too much action-wise this issue (He was stabbed through the chest with a machete, what do you expect?), but the fact that he’s alive, knocks out his friend/caretaker with a tranquilizer to save some school children, and punch Massacre in the face while “bleeding a river” inside his suite is enough to gain the status of badass.
I’m excited to see if Winick will introduce other heroes/former heroes like Mr. Bello, aka, Thunder Fall of the Kingdom. The battle between him and Massacre was pretty awesome, thanks to Oliver’s pencils and Reber’s colors. Oliver really excels at drawing characters getting hit or in cool battle poses, but my favorite page is definitely the last page where Batwing points threateningly at Massacre/the readers. The sunlight in the background makes all the more cooler.
Batwing #3 starts of 11 years ago, where we learn that David and his younger brother, Isaac, are the best in their ambush team, the Dragonflies, in terms of fighting skills and morals. This quick little peek into David’s past is great insight into the man that is Batwing today. The introduction of David’s younger brother makes me eager to find out more of David’s backstory and the overall story of the war that they were fighting in. Batwing looks stunning in this issue, especially on the page that flashes back to today. Oliver’s and Reber’s pencils and colors stay consistent. We get a good look into David’s character through Winick’s choice of having his thought bubbles make an appearance on nearly every page.
When it comes to Massacre, I have to ask if he is some sort of super human because the man will not stay down! I could, though, ask the same question about David. Both of these men seem to have “lion’s hearts” in the sense that there is practically no stopping them. Thunder Fall, who single handedly (Literally) knocks out Massacre, makes up the last member of this battle of endurance. Batwing being saved by one of the former heroes of the Kingdom made Massacre’s temporary defeat all the more awesome. The end of the issue raises so many more questions than I was prepared for: What did the Kingdom do? What happened to David’s brother? Why is someone as vile as Massacre disgusted by the deeds that the Kingdom did? Next issue promises to tell us how it all started, so I recommend y’all pick up the next issue because Batwing is not only looking to be a great new series in the DCU, but Batwing promises to be a great new superhero.
P.S. I still find “Batwing” to be somewhat of an odd name.