This issue opens with a disturbing flashback to David Zavimbe’s childhood where it is revealed that he and his brother Isaac, known as the Dragonflies, had a pretty dark, violent upbringing, which paved the way for his becoming the one honorable police officer in Tanasha. The book then cuts back to the present, depicting David, now Batwing, battling his foe, the gruesome serial killer Massacre, in an effort to save retired super hero Thunderfall, formerly a member of Africa’s premier super team, The Kingdom. Thunderfall was already gravely wounded in ‘Batwing’ #2, but Batwing’s timely arrival spared him for the moment. Batwing himself, suffered some pretty brutal wounds from Massacre’s machete as well. He went after Massacre without giving himself adequate time to heal, so he isn’t fairing very well in the duel.
In fact, both men must muster all of their strength to take down Massacre, but by the end, they are too injured and weak to do anything about him. So they leave him and barely make it to the nearest hospital, where doctors scramble to aid them, but it may be too late!
I admit, I trashed Judd Winick’s writing on Catwoman #1 and #2, and I stand by those assessments. It’s hard to believe the same person responsible for those two clunky, awkward issues is also writing this book, which has a real sophistication to it. He’s really bringing his A Game to ‘Batwing.’ I’m getting used to the constant use of flashbacks. It’s not how I’d do it, but since he does it consistently in every issue, I’m growing accustomed to it. Like with a lot of other series I’m reading, many of which I also review, I’m getting a little impatient and want some revelations. This issue hints at some dark past for The Kingdom, but I’m dying to find out exactly what happened to them. The story really is intriguing, I just want it to pick up the pace and get on with it.
One other minor quibble I have is that David Zavimbe hasn’t been developed much, other than being honest and seeking justice. He’s still a bit of a cypher, so I’m looking forward to more character development.
The art continues to shine! It’s so lush and beautiful to behold. It’s rich and painterly. The muted color palette fits the African setting. The facial expressions really stood out for me, in this issue. Just fantastic, like looking at photographs! Thunderfall’s lightning powers (right) are particularly cool looking!
There’s been a lot of charges against DC for the rampant brutal violence in it’s new comics, particularly the number of dismemberments, with ‘Batwing’ typically being singled out. I can’t argue with that. In the first issue, Massacre dismembered over twenty people! Stack that on top of similar occurrences in ‘Wonder Woman’ and other titles, yes, it can be overwhelming. But honestly, these books need to be judged on their own merits, not in the context of whatever other comics you’re reading. I will argue that, while quite graphic, the violence in this book works in the same way it does on an HBO or Showtime drama series, like ‘The Sopranos’ or ‘Dexter.’ As with ‘Catwoman,’ maybe that means the rating on this book needs to be changed from ‘Teen’ to ‘Mature.’ But I feel that the violence works in this book, because it serves the story and isn’t gratuitous. But maybe that’s my opinion.
Written by Judd Winick
Art & Cover by Ben Oliver