The past looms large as Batwing’s early days as a crime fighter come to light, gaining the attention of Batman. In the present, the adventure comes full circle as Batwing faces off against Massacre in the shadows of the Pyramids of Egypt. The mystery of Massacre begins unfolding as the truth of Africa’s greatest Super Hero team, The Kingdom, unravels.
In the past a frustrated David Zavimbe complains to Matu Ba of the corruption in the police force and what can be done about it. He becomes a costumed vigilante in hopes of cleaning up the city and catches the attention of Batman who recruits him as his agent in Africa.
In the present Massacre is about to kill the retired superhero Steelback of Africa’s first superhero team ‘The Kingdom’. Luckily he is saved by Batwing, he engages Massacre and comes to a starling realization that his identity is none other than the man who he served as a child soldier, his twisted father figure who he left for dead ‘General Oya Keita’ (See Batwing #3 and Batwing #4 for details). He lights the man on fire but this doesn’t stop him. He manages to save Steelback but Massacre escapes. From Steelback, Batwing and Batman learn the location of two members of the Kingdom…Gotham City!!
Action- The many fights throughout the issue are wonderfully rendered and choreographed well. The frequency of the fights are guaranteed to keep “action heads” happy.
Art- Ben Oliver continues to deliver some of the best art currently in any comic book currently on stands! This issue in particular is the very best yet! Keep up the stellar work Ben, I dig it!
Cover- Gorgeous depiction of Batwing attacking an unseen foe, presumably Massacre
Reality– I’ve heard some chide the portrayal of Africa in this series and even complain about comments from writer ‘Judd Winick in a recent interview’ about the state of Africa but I’m sorry I find the portrayal of rural African life vivid and real. It may be hard for anyone from a first world country to understand the realities of Squalor and disease that infests a third world country but I’ve lived in such a third world country for over twenty years so I find the reality of it, on point. I also like that Winick has not used any real African nation as the basis for this story it allows him to use realities of rural African life from all over the country in a singular location without liberals screaming “OMG he said Kenya was this or that”. Stereotypes are a double edged sword, sometimes they are wrong but sometimes they are also right.
Villain- Since Batwing #1 I’ve been enamored by Massacre. Each passing issue the mystery of his identity has intrigued me and now that we know who he is….oh lord am I not excited! The father son dynamic that this opens up is boundless + in this issue we see Batwing clearly “lose it” when he realized who Massacre was , that hasn’t happened before. Like Joker is to Batman so is Massacre to Batwing, a dark force of nature he can do next to nothing to stop.
Batfamily-It’s official Batwing is a part of the inner circle of Bruce Wayne the same as Barbara Gordon/Oracle, Tim Drake/Red Robin and Nightwing/Dick Grayson. Trained, recruited and financially backed by the man himself and heading to Gotham to fight side by side with them? Yes Thank you! I miss Azrael but Batwing is a fine addition to the house of the bat!
Some panels were sparse and the landscape of Africa which is quite diverse hasn’t been explored enough. Batwing has traveled all over but the world and terrain around him remains a mystery.
My favorite title of the New 52 continues to impress six issue in with so much more room to grow! 4/5