Batwing needs a hit in a bad way. The series, unless I somehow missed something, is the worst selling DC Comics series to be spared from the chopping block. It's hard for me to imagine DC's desire to be racially diverse will keep Batwing afloat for long, so it seems the only hope is for the writing to be so great that new readers will somehow find and embrace this series, yet that is so much easier said that done. Palimotti (former inker for Jonah Hex and writer for Power Girl and current writer for Batwing, All-Star Western, and What If? AVX) and Gray (former writer for Jonah Hex and Power Girl and current writer for Batwing and All-Star Western) have done a good job delivering satisfying stories, but without new readers ready to give this series a chance, it's all for naught.
Focusing on the comic itself, we've got a lot on the table. Batwing and Batman are working together in an attempt to rescue Luke's father, and forces are continuing to mount against our newbie hero. The assassin Lady Vic is set to make an appearance as well, and I suspect she will be more than happy to insert her Katar into Luke's heart and send him to an early retirement. We are still getting to know Luke and his world; let's hope Batwing lives long enough for us to see where this all leads.
Is Batwing's triumphant first adventure also his tragic end or does Batwing still have a little fuel in his thrusters?
Feel Good Action
I just realized as I finished this issue that it has more or less filled a whole in my reading that was left gaping when James Tynion IV (current writer of Talon, Red Hood and the Outlaws and Batman) took over Red Hood and the Outlaws and turned it into Mind Wiped and the Drama Queens. RHATO used to be good, plain fun, and that pretty well encapsulates this book with Luke Fox as the main character.
Luke Fox finishes his current round of fighting the Marabunta in this issue, but without much downtime, he's embroiled in a new conflict. There is a little bit of romantic and family drama thrown into the mix, and at some point, Batwing will need to take on some more serious aspects to his characterization, but for the moment, I'm pretty well satisfied at seeing Luke's personal life develop slowly as we see one cool battle transition into the next.
Oddly enough, the standout moments of this issue happen not with Batwing but with Lady Vic. (Spoilers for Rest of Section) Lady Vic is an assassin for hire with no apparent superpowers, yet she gives Batwing a memorable takedown and manages to hold her own against other threats as well. Normally in superhero comics, we find ourselves rooting for the underdog, but here, Lady Vic is the underdog facing the impossible obstacle of Batwing's tech. Despite the fact that Luke is our hero, I still find it very amusing to watch Lady Vic take Luke apart piece by piece.
Though this series is definitely pushing the action, there is still development happening with Luke in this issue. He clearly has not come to terms with the sacrifices he has to make if he is going to keep his super heroing a secret, so that is one lesson he will have to learn. He seems to be handling the breakup with Zena mostly maturely. Keeping with the action in the forefront approach, it seems his greatest lesson this issue was learning that he relied too much on tech. It will be interesting to see how Palmiotti and Gray address this since Batwing is essentially Bat-Iron Man. Could it be we will see Batwing actually back off the tech? Time will tell.
1. Stealth mode on Luke's suit looks awesome. Most of the time when people turn partially invisible in comics, artists render it by making them simply absent from the panel or by just drawing a vague outline of the character. Here, the artist, Eduardo Pansica, (former penciler for Wonder Woman and current penciler for
Batwing) actually drew the scene without Luke and then drew Luke and layered him partially into the picture. It makes for an awesome effect as you feel as if you are truly seeing someone using a cloaking device.
2. I would have enjoyed learning a bit more about Mr. Conehead.
3. When Batwing returns to the fight against the giant Marabunta mech, Batman is shown kicking the robot to death...which is pretty silly. I guess you could say he planted something on it which disabled it and then kicked it over, but it's should have been shown.
4. Luke's experience with his family seemed very reminiscent of Peter Parker or classic Clark Kent antics. I don't want to see a lot of this, but a little bit is fun.
5. As I already said, I think Lady Vic makes a powerful first impression in this issue though regarding her assassination I do think it would be difficult to fade away into the crowd as a white woman dressed like a movie star in India. Couldn't she get a spray on tan going?
6. I'm going to shove in all my remaining observation to one point for the sake of time. Xena's still sucks as a girlfriend but is good as a foil, Wayne tower has been blown up all too often, Lady Vic's costume in Gotham is ridiculous and Lady Vic draws her sawed off double barreled shotgun with the wrong hand.
It's a fun issue with lots of bang for your buck. Luke's personal development is being eked out slowly, but as long as it keeps coming and the pages are filled with nice action scenes, I'm on board.