Style over substance. That’s what you’ll find in Batwing #2 which does very little to progress the story, but features great artwork.
I liked Batwing #1. I fully expected to hate it, but it was a solid issue that began with a brutal fight between Batwing and his nemesis “Massacre”. The story then flashed back to David Zamvimbi’s tutelage under Batman and how he came to meet Massacre in the first place. By the end of the issue David, as a civilian, is stabbed through the chest by Massacre who had killed almost all of the police department. It was a shocking end to a solid first issue. But at the end of issue #2 we still aren’t caught up to the events of page one of Batwing #1.
This comic starts off with an unnecessary flashback (8 months back this time) to Batman telling Batwing that he’s more than just a high tech suit. It serves little purpose other than to hook new readers with the promise that Batman is going to be in this story too. He’s not.
David spends the majority of #2 in bed. He argues that he’s well enough to track down Massacre, but African-Alfred “Matu” repeatedly states the obvious: you need to recuperate. Just like Batman, Batwing doesn’t listen. He knows that it’s his responsibility. He knows that he has the insight and the tools to find and bring down Massacre before anyone else gets hurt and he sets out as Batwing anyway. Heroic stuff right. Bruce has told Alfred to shove it countless times, too. But David shoots Matu with a tranquilizer dart and leaves. Kind of a jerk, huh? The guy’s been helping you rehabilitate for over 2 weeks and instead of reasoning with him, or I don’t know…just agreeing to disagree…you shot him with a dart gun. I don’t see any reason for Matu to keep working for this guy. Bruce is like a son to Alfred so it’s understandable why he would put up with his BS…then again, even Alfred would probably be angry if he got dart-gunned.
The villain, Massacre, is a force to be reckoned with and he’s after all the retired superheroes of Africa for some reason. Why he attacked the police department first… I don’t remember. It might have been mentioned in issue #1 but issue #2 was weak enough to prevent me from caring enough to fact-check.
Should you buy Batwing #2? Nope. Flip through it at the comic shop. What’s dragging down Batwing is that opening shot from Batwing #1. There’s no drama in stabbing the hero at the end of issue #1 if we already knew from the first page that he would survive and come back to fight Massacre in a few weeks. There’s no drama when the cops show up to shoot Massacre when we know he is going to be fighting Batwing in a few weeks. Judd Winick should’ve either A)Flashback aspect of the narrative in book #1 or B) Cranked up the pacing of this book. It’s a beautifully drawn, predictable chapter in the life of a hero who nobody has a reason to be interested in, yet. Step it up, DC.