I want to preface everything I’m about to say in this review with a simple statement: I always have and always will love Batman. Okay, lets get to it. Batman is easily DC Comics’ Wolverine. Both have been criminally over used to the point that they have become a comic book meme. The biggest and most unfortunate result from this is that a lot of the Batman content starts to become “samey.” This is fine for some people, but I personally can only stomach the same story so many times before I require something new. Most of the “Bat” books coming from the DC relaunch barely registered on my radar and my interest waned even more the further we got from Batman himself. Needless to say, Batwing wasn’t on my pull list and I didn’t even purchase it initially. It wasn’t until I read a tweet from Blair Butler that the book caught my eye. Lucky for me, Blair was right… as usual…
Batwing follows the story of David Zamvimbi who was first introduced in Grant Morrison’s Batman Incorporated. By day Zamvimbi is a desk officer in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s police force, but by night he is the high tech pupil of Batman. The move to Africa is an interesting one. While there is corruption in countries like the United States and England, some African countries strive to take it to a whole new level and it is reflected in this title. Amazing acts of violence and crime take place everywhere, even in the very home of law and order. Judd Winick seems to have a taste for telling stories in foreign lands and luckily for the reader he usually excels at them. So far Batwing is no exception.
From just the one issue I feel that Winick is writing a very complex, yet still likable, character in Zamvimbi. There’s no one liners and no wasted motion, just a driven man trying to make a difference in a very dark and unforgiving world. The story has plenty of action, some gore and even a few surprises.
The art in the book is just amazing. Ben Oliver(pencils) and Brian Reber(colors) combine for a near Alex Ross level of beauty. Every panel is soft and fluid, which is a jarring juxtaposition next to the violence and gore of the book. There’s just something about the eyes are depicted by the two men. They’re alive and haunting. It’s just gorgeous and makes for a nice change of pace from most of the other comics released in the New 52 to this point.
Overall Batwing is quickly showing that he is deserving of a stand alone book. While Batgirl is stealing the show this week, I think its possible that we may look back in a few years and say that Batwing was the definitive book to come out of the DC relaunch. It may be a little too soon to tell, but Batwing really has the potential to be one of those comics that really hold up over the years and define the genre. Only time will tell if the series lives up to the potential that this first issue displays. If you didn’t pick this title up on Wednesday, I would advise you to reserve a second printing at your local comic shop or purchase it from ComiXology as soon as possible.