Review Shooter: Batwing 1

Writer: Judd Winick
Art: Ben Oliver

 Batwing starts with a nice little fight between Batwing, David Zavimbe, and a villain named Massacre. Once Batwing has promptly kicked his ass, we cut to a panel discussing his adjustment to the role. It’s interesting how Batwing is surprised that he can instill fear in criminals. Soon, we get to blood on the walls and dismembered bodies. After Batwing hashes some things out with Batman, we get taken back to his precinct where everyone has been murdered. Also, there are heads on desks. The issue ends with David being stabbed through the chest by Massacre.

First, I’d like to say the art just works here. It isn’t clean, but it is smooth. The use of shadows is excellent. It lets you know that the place we are dealing with is dark. It is a place much like Gotham that needs a Batwing.

The writing is rather minimal compared to other titles, and I am a big fan of that. I love reading comics, but find that being overly worded can make a book tedious to read. I find that there was much more of an emphasis on what was going on visually, so much of the story was told without words. You begin to understand, through the environment, why Batwing is there.

I like that David is learning. He isn’t sure about what it means to be Batwing. He, with the help of Bruce, is honing his own detective skills. We have a novice who is doing the best job he can, and it seems to be a damn good one at that. I’d like to see where the series goes with his lack of experience. How will it trip him up? How will it help him? How will his knowledge as a police officer aid him in fighting crime? It could possibly give him an edge that Bruce never had, considering he wasn’t involved with law enforcement prior to becoming Batman.

This issue is good, but I hope they won’t get into the ‘Africa as a country’ idea, the notion that Africa is this giant place where everyone everywhere is dark-skinned and they are all in the middle of rebellions. I want to see some geographical variance in Batwing’s adventures. I want to see him in Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, etc.

Also, even though Batwing =/= Batman, to have a Black man as a ‘Bat’ is important, especially considering he’s going to cover an entire continent. It’s nice to see that the image of a ‘Bat’ is not limited to a White, wealthy male. An African police officer who’s trying his best to turn things around for his nation and continent is a good candidate, too. I’d love to see the intersection of some important social issues here, but that may not happen. At any rate, I’m sticking with David/Batwing to see how things turn out.

 Survival Rating: Live — Batwing really does have what it takes. It is a story of a man who is adjusting to being a new Batman and who is learning his own detective skills. No, he’s not Bruce, but he doesn’t have to be. Batwing brings something very nice to the table.

Recommendation: Buy It — I’m going to touch on race because it’s important here: We have a Black Batman. Enough said. But really, the story moves at a great pace and introduces us to a new character who has an awesome resolve and idealism that drives him to want to help an entire fucking continent. And, let me tell you, there are some parts of Africa that have some fucked up problems.

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