Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Batwing 19 and 20, originally released April 3rd and May 1st, 2013.
Patrick: We’ve seen a lot of creatives shifts in the DC line-up in the last couple of months — and there are a few more up-coming — but none have been quite so bold as Batwing to explicitly toss out the old version of the character for a new one. Not only does the Batwing costume change, but the man behind the costume changes, and there’s nothing to connect one Batwing to the next. And that’s the real problem: the concept of Batwing is one that require justification and understanding. Through this transition, new series writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray do nothing to explore that for either the venerable David Zavimbe or the newbie Luke Fox. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Tricia Aung are discussing Batwing 0, originally released September 5, 2012. Batwing 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Patrick: I always thought it was weird that the African arm of Batman, Incorporated would spend his time the same way regular Batman does. The real world problems of the continent are catastrophic to the point that fighting supervillains seems like a waste of time for someone with David Zavimbe’s abilities and assets. What Batwing 0 does is patiently remind me that there’s more to this character than simply his unique setting. Prior to this issue, I might have disagreed with that assessment.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batwing 10, originally released June 6th, 2012.
Drew: Art is repetitive. Analysts like Joseph Campbell and Heinrich Schenker acknowledge that, if you zoom out far enough, most works of art resemble each other. This is true of most narratives, and especially true of superhero comics, where the beats of secret identities, costumes, fighting crime, etc. are near-universal. What makes them interesting are the details around those universals, the details that make Superman different from Batman or the Flash. What drew us to Batwing in the first place was it’s potential for interesting details — as a new title, it had yet to establish just what those details might be. Ten months in, I’ve yet to see those details effectively explored. In fact, this issue turns the focus so sharply from those details that I’m starting to think they just aren’t coming.
Drew: Last month, we took Batwing to task for its bat-family cameos; when the hero is still winning over an audience, placing him alongside one of comicbookdom’s biggest draws will necessarily divert our interest. As I looked ahead to reading this issue, I wondered how removing Batman from the equation would work. Batwing is still in Batman’s city, and is now fighting one of Batman’s villains, but without Batman’s presence, would the issue feel lacking? Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Batwing 8, originally released April 4th, 2012.
Patrick: At its outset, Batwing was something incredibly new for the DC Universe. David Zavimbe is the first to open a Batman Inc. franchise and his is the first series to take place in Africa. The early issues explored dark dark dark themes, toeing the line of exploitation, but this gave these early issues a relevant, almost dangerous feel to them. With two whole issues in Gotham and in the presence of Batman, Nightwing, Robin and Batgirl, Batwing loses its identity, becoming a bland, by-the-numbers comic book adventure. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batwing 7, originally released March 7th, 2012.
Drew: At the end of issue 6, I had mixed feelings about this title. I liked the stylized art, particularly Brian Reber’s atmospheric, almost dusty colors, and I appreciated the idea of distilling the idea of Batman down to it’s essence and seeing how it plays in different cultures. At the same time, I wasn’t sure I actually liked the approach writer Judd Winick had applied to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I complained that the title was exploitative, but it really isn’t guilty of doing anything any frank (or, more importantly, action-focused) depiction of subsaharan Africa wouldn’t do. I’m still not convinced that this title isn’t exploitative, but this month’s issue comes a long way in making me more comfortable with the world David Zavimbe inhabits. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Batwing 1-6, originally released September 7th, 2011, October 5th, 2011, November 2nd, 2011, December 7th, 2011, January 4th, 2012, and February 1st, 2012.
Patrick: David and Isaac Zavimbe were orphaned when their parents died of AIDS. They were kidnapped from the orphanage by Warlord Keita, who transformed them both into monstrous child-soldiers. As the Zavimbe brothers were impossibly good at killing in the name of the warlord, Keita took them on as his own sons – calling them his Dragonflies. The more atrocities they committed for Keita, the more he trusted them. When Isaac defied and order and refused to murder children, Warlord Keita gutted him with a machete in front of his brother. By way of revenge, David left Keita defenseless in an enemy village and vowed to never kill again. David grows up to become a police officer in the Republic of Congo by day and superhero Batwing by night. This is canvas upon which the Batwing saga is painted.