Africa, a land of beauty – and of great horror. A land of creation and conflict. It is in desperate need of a defender, and from the ranks of Batman Incorporated comes a soldier to carry on the legacy of The Dark Knight in the most tumultuous region on Earth. Meet Batwing, the Batman of Africa!
In Africa Batwing battles Massacre who says something that jogs a recent memory. He remembers an outing with Batman where he handed a drug lord over to the authorities only to have his compatriots get slaughtered and beheaded. Among the corpses is Dede Yeboah who was once the greatest superhero in the African Superteam “The Kingdom”. His right-hand man Matu Ba helps him with the investigation. He can’t piece together the mystery of why he died in this manner. Upon returning to his precinct he finds he fellow officers slaughtered and beheaded before he can catch his bearing he’s run through with a machete by Massacre.
Dynamic Duo-Seeing David mentored and taught by Batman made me think of Tim and Dick and the close relationship and training he put each through. His presence also made Batwing‘s use of the “Bat Symbol” bear some weight. It also solidifies his place on Batman Inc since he has such close ties with Batman himself.
Action- The action scenes punctuated the story in just the right doses making the issue wholly accessible to every kind of reader.
Batwing– I loved this issue as it dealt with David trying to make for himself the kind of identity and persona that Batman has in Gotham City. I also liked the parallels one could draw between David and Dick….both Police officers making a name for themselves outside the jurisdiction of the Batman. David also tries to tackle crime from both sides as a vigilante and a police officer…another parallel he has with the Nightwing of old.
Art- The photo-realistic style used by Ben Oliver along with Brian Reber’s delicate colors give the issue a macabre painted feel which is distinct and beautiful. The plethora of body parts and the level of gritty realism is sure to evoke thoughts of the Unknown soldier for those who have read it.
Costume– Thank god they changed the colors of Batwing‘s armor from that pink and blue metro-sexual crap to this streamlined metallic blue. It’s super sexy!
Villain- I like Massacre not just because I like over-the-top violence and detail but because I like the general tone of the villain….without any word bubbles you get the feeling this psycho really likes what he’s doing……he’s a sick twisted puppy who evokes a kind of “Jokery” glee about what he does though clearly not as over the top……
Finale page– C’mon you call this a cliffhanger when the issue was all a flashback? Please!
Batman of “Africa?”- Batwing’s title really rubs me the wrong way….it’s utterly frustrating to hear “Batman of Africa.” It makes me wonder how smart the people writing the book are. Africa is the second largest continent in the world! It’s almost 12 MILLION square miles……That’s roughly twice the size of South America and 3 times the size of Europe. There are (at current count) 54 different recognized sovereign nations, each with different cultures, legal systems, languages, and dialects therein. The idea that one person would police ALL that area with the conflicting interests of the 1 billion + people living in all the varying tribes, sects, and groups that have historically had a conflict with each other based on their tribes’, sects’, and groups’ access to limited resources… IS F#@!ing crazy!
For comparative reasons another Batman Inc operative: Nightrunner, the Batman of France, has a territory is about 2.25% the size of Batwing’s.
It just reminds me of this West Wing clip
Nice setup, interesting villain, and loads of potential 4/5