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
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
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.