It’s Month 2 of DC Comics’ The New 52! It’s do-or-die this month for the books I bashed last month, and time to see if the titles I loved last month are as good as I thought! I’ll be reviewing all 52 #2 issues released this month, and you can find all of the reviews on the Comic Book Reviews index page. This week we get 13 #2 issues, including Batwing #2! I heaped tons of praise on the Batman of Africa in my Batwing #1 review, and even named the issue one of my Top 5 New 52 #1 Issues in my New 52 1st Month Review Round-Up & Report Card. Was that just a fluke, or does the second issue maintain the same high standard of quality?
This review will contain spoilers.
Batwing is a tough book to review, because it’s all-around rock-solid. No single facet of the book excels beyond the others or is anything earth-shatteringly amazing, but the pieces of this book are all very good. Pretty much everything I raved about in Batwing #1 is still excellent in Batwing #2.
Massacre continues to be one of the best and most fascinating newly-created villains in the new DC Universe. The sheer brutality of the villain’s murders, mixed with his attitude of the justice of what he’s doing, make for a complicated and interesting villain.
The art in this book remains some of the most lifelike and unique within The New 52, and really brings the story to life as something more gritty and realistic than we’re used to with Batman in Gotham. Africa is a darker and more corrupt place than even Gotham, and the artwork perfectly conveys this dark atmosphere.
Batman himself still appears sparingly within this book, and yet his few words leave an indelible mark on Batwing that we see throughout the story. This is different from Batman training a kid to be his sidekick in Gotham–this is Batman training a man to protect an entire country by himself. That Batman has that kind of faith in David imparts a great deal of credibility and intrigue to the Batwing character.
I don’t know if I like that we’re being forced to learn to like Batwing as a super hero before we start to get any insight into his past and who he is as a person. Is “David ” a mask that Batwing wears in the manner that Batman wears the “Bruce Wayne” mask, or is David a very different person from Batman? What aspect of his character made Batman select David to become the Batman of Africa? This is the sort of thing that it’s essential we learn about Batwing in order to become really invested in him as a person as well as a superhero. I’m confident that we’re going to get these details eventually, but it’s frustrating and ever so slightly hurts the book that we’re being totally left in the dark still. I’m not certain that new comic book readers are going to have the patience to wait for a proper origin story for this character.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
The obvious place to buy new comic books is your local comic book store, but if you don’t have one or can’t get to it, I highly recommend giving Things from Another World (TFAW.com) a try! They stock a crazy huge number of comic books, and the prices on new releases and graphic novels are always 10-30% below cover price. I’ve been buying from TFAW for close to a decade now and never had a bad experience, so I have total confidence in their speed, value and quality. Click here if you wanna take a look at buying comics from Things from Another World.
Overall: Batwing #1 was no fluke–this is a great book. Although it’s an ancillary Batman family title, this is unquestionably the Batman book that I’m enjoying the most out of The New 52. It comes out in a tough week, surrounded by stellar books of their own right like Animal Man and Swamp Thing, but Batwing has a consistent strength and flavor all its own that’s going to keep me (and hopefully other readers) buying it.