When we last saw Batwing he was tracing a call made by one of Massacre’s henchman. Alfred-of-Africa, Matu, declared that the call was made in Giza, Egypt and the book closed with a shot of Massacre walking toward a cliché postcard-like image of Giza—The Sphinx.
In issue #6 we discover that Massacre is at the Giza Plateau to murder Steelback, a former member of The Kingdom, who is now a businessman giving a tour to prospective clients of all the sights of Giza. But before Massacre can take a machete to Steelback’s not so steel back, Batwing arrives wearing a cool looking exo-armor complete with helmet (a helmet he removes…). The inner monologue caption explains that the suit isn’t for battle and is only good for flight and he has to take it off. He needed the suit in order to arrive in Giza in less than 6 hours.
At the end of the last issue we already saw that Massacre was at the pyramid, machete in hand, ready to assassinate his target while Batwing was still in Tinasha. You mean it’s taken around 6 hours for Massacre to finally kill the guy? Does that mean he camped out at the pyramids all day and waited for Steelback to show up? That would’ve made more sense had the imagery shown him arrive at night and the execution scene was day or vice versa, but it didn’t. Egypt, like all other scenery in the Batwing series appears to be in a state of limbo where it’s a constant shade of reddish orange with maybe a pyramid as a background prop from time to time. Tinasha is yellow, white, or grey. The Africa of the DC universe is a vacuous land with no sense of time or space. But let’s get back to the confrontation between Batwing & Massacre:
It took 6 hours for Massacre to make a move and now he has been interrupted by Batwing. So…how did Batwing find him? Did the traced call pinpoint the exact location of Massacre? He hardly seems like the kind of guy to pack around an iPhone. This book makes it seem like Giza is nothing but a desert with a few ancient monuments, but it’s the THIRD LARGEST CITY IN EGYPT, the 2nd largest suburban area in the world with over 2.6 million people, and it’s so close to three other major cities that the four combine to form the Greater Cairo metropolitan area, the 3rd largest urban area in the Islamic world with over 20 million people. Yet Batwing heard that the call was traced to Giza and luckily he checked out the major landmarks first and spotted Massacre causing a ruckus on the ground below. (A landmark that’s one of the 7 wonders of the world visited by millions each year, yet today only a single bus has come for the grand tour) Whatever. You can suspend your disbelief here by just assuming that the call was traced to a cell phone that was at the great pyramid and Massacre listens to iTunes while waiting 6 hours for his assassination target to arrive by bus.
So what do you actually get out of Batwing #6? Well you don’t get a conclusion, but you maybe learn who Massacre is. You also get to see Oliver’s amazing artwork on this story’s players, but you won’t get any backgrounds or imagery that makes this book look any different from the other 5 issues of Batwing. Every issue looks the same. You won’t get any answers about The Kingdom, either, but there’s a lengthy fight scene that showcases some gadgets we’ve never seen Batwing use before. And lastly, you’ll get a glimpse at what Ben Oliver’s Robin and Nightwing look like. Funnily enough, in that shot he actually included some ominous buildings in the background and instantly created a location with more personality than Tinasha has ever had.
My biggest gripe about Batwing #6 is that this should’ve wrapped everything up. I’m fine with a story that takes its time, but this thing is dragging and should’ve ended by now. This is most evident when Batwing just (get ready for spoilers) lets Massacre go! Massacre’s back is on fire and he seems to be limping away toward the pyramid…GO GET HIM! Batwing rushes Steelback and his clients away from the bus and then the story cuts to the batcave—ack! Sorry, “The Haven”, where everyone is chatting about that crafty Massacre and how they’re going to find him. What?! He was right there. You lit him on fire and he was walking away and, sure, you were kind of busy getting people to walk away from a burning, bus but it’s not like you’re going to lose track of Massacre out in the middle of the desert. Your suit flies. You have an extra suit that REALLY flies..and…then there’s the whole tracking the cell phone thing…and you’re out in nothing, there’s not even a tree for him to hide in the shade of—he’s on fire for Christ’s sake! He’s a walking beacon and Batwing left for no other reason than to stretch this story out. But I’m not just mad at Batwing for letting Massacre go. No, no, let’s talk about Massacre—where the hell is he going? Why is he going? He’s beaten Batwing before, the bus is blown up, his target has no place to run, and I know he’s on fire, but he seems to be okay. He hasn’t even bothered to stop-drop-and-roll. There’s no reason for him to flee the scene when he’s this close to achieving his goal.
I liked the first issue of Batwing, heck I even liked parts 3 and 4 okay, but I’m getting bored with how much it repeats the same action again and again and how bland the backgrounds are. Next month will see Batwing visiting Gotham. Hopefully that breathes some energy into this series, even if it is just a gimmick to get more new readers to take notice of this title.