BATWING #1

Review by: keith7198

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Avg Rating: 3.6
 
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Written by JUDD WINICK
Art and cover by BEN OLIVER

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

The entire concept of “Batwing” #1 immediately grabbed me. A branch of Batman Incorporated located in an African country plagued by drug runners and violent warlords is something totally new with huge potential. In this first issue, writer Judd Winick tells the story of David Zavimbe, part time police officer for the African city of Tinasha and part time superhero known as Batwing. Winick paints a brutally violent picture of a worn torn and corrupt country and puts Zavimbe right in the middle of it. This isn’t a book that’s aimed at children. There’s several graphic depictions of violence in the forms of decapitated bodies and impalings. But what’s important is that none of these scenes come across as gratuitous. In fact, I felt drawn into a world that I’ve known very little about.

Winick starts the issue off with the introduction of his first villain appropriately named Massacre. There’s a brief present day action sequence but it quickly jumps back six weeks to give us the “this is how we got here” story. Winick picks a strange time to flash back resulting in a transition that’s not the smoothest. But his flashback story doesn’t take long to get going and soon it takes on a detective story feel much in the same vein as some of Batman’s books.

Ben Oliver handles the art and in some regards it’s incredible. The gritty, washed out look works well with Winick’s story and the characters are well captured. The action sequences don’t have the most fluid flow to them but some of the action panels do look amazing. My biggest gripe with the art is the near absence of any background detail. Throughout the book there is hardly any attention given to the environments. Instead we get panel after panel of bland grays and oranges serving as backgrounds. Oliver really misses a great opportunity to create a vived and more immersive setting.

Overall this is a New 52 title that I’ll be sticking with. Even though Oliver’s art falls short in bringing this violent world to life, his characters look fantastic and he manages to capture the brutality of the region well. Winick has been a hit and miss writer but he seems to have good things in store for these characters. He introduces us to the players, set’s up an intriguing story, and gives us a cliffhanger ending that certainly builds up the next issue. While not perfect, this was a very satisfying experience.

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 3 - Good

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