Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: Batman, Batwing, BenOliver, DCNew52, JuddWinick
Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na BAT…er..Wing? The second of this week’s Bat-book brings us the adventures of David Zamvimbi, the African Batman. A bit of a strange choice for DC’s re-launch, but it does broaden it’s diversities by having their first black Batman and setting a title outside of the good ol’ US of A. But is it any good?
As with all other Bat-books, it’s a prerequisite that I’ll get this and read it week on week, even when some of them end up being pretty poor. This one has yet to impress me, mainly because I can’t understand why DC chose this as a 52’er. They’ve not devised a completely new character, instead he’s plucked straight out of the world of Batman Incorporated, created by the fantastic Grant Morrison. But from what I remember of the short series, David Zamvimbi only appeared in one issue, and I don’t think it was even the whole issue. There’s plenty of Bat-men to pick from in Morrison’s series that takes place round the globe, however what worked best about it was the fact it wasn’t the same character each week. We got enough of an idea of what an African/Mexican/Indian Batman would be like, but when it’s all said and done, we really do just want to see what Bruce is up to jetting round the globe. It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg – which came first? Someone with an urge to write/draw a Batwing comic, or the need to fill a gap in the mammoth list of 52 comics? I’m inclined to go with the latter, and for that reason, I suspect it won’t last very long.
So what’s up with issue 1? Well it’s not all bad – there are a couple of things I do like, including the fact that Batwing is actually a Tinasha Police Officer by day. Where Bruce has to go head to head with the GCPD each day, David is able to weave his dual lives together to his advantage. We get a glimpse of this in issue 1 where he leaves evidence for his colleague to pick up, allowing him to continue the case during his 9-5 job. The overall plot does show some potential – a mystery surrounding a retired African superhero and a big baddie, subtly named Massacre, who likes to chop up bus loads of school children (and more!).
The artwork however is not to my taste – I’m not a huge fan when it comes to photo realistic art in comics, and although this isn’t quite as close as others, I still struggle to get enjoyment out of it. This is total personal preference, I’m all for having different art styles in comics (my favourite so far has been Animal Man – the artwork there is stunning!) and in Batwing the art is done well, with well thought out use of panels throughout. I’m not totally sold on the costume though. Granted this would have been designed as part of Batman Inc. but there’s something that doesn’t gel well with having a tech’d up Bat-suit in the middle of the African wilderness.
I wonder though if there was any cheating in class though between Ben Oliver (the artist of this book) and Tony S. Daniel (who did Detective Comics) because the first few pages have a very similar feel to them – some close in unusually shaped panels on page 1, followed by a big double splash on the following 2 pages? I’ll leave this down to coincidence, or just generally how comics “are done” since a majority of the 13 issues out this week appear to end on a “shock reveal” of a character(s) on the last page (and more often than not, we don’t know who/what they are).
Like I said at the start, I’ll end up buying this each month anyway – what might have been nicer would have been to highlight different Batman Incorporated characters every few issues, because I don’t know how long this one will stand up.
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