It’s a good day and a potentially bad day for Batwing and his fans. The good news is that issue #8 is well worth picking up. You won’t be surprised, but you’ll be thoroughly entertained. The bad news is Batwing is joining the cast of “Justice League International” as well as having his own book. Why’s that bad? Because it likely isn’t so much an honor of having 2 titles as much as it is a sign that Batwing will be canceled sometime soon. DC has said that they will keep all of their characters from canceled books around in some way or another and beginning the transition from “Batwing” to “JLI” now as a fail-safe is exactly what this feels like to me. “Batwing” has not been selling too well and can’t seem to crack the top 100. I flipped through “Justice League International” at my local comic shop and considered giving it a review since Batman and Batwing both would be in it, but I flipped through and saw Batwing battling a giant parallax/energy monster thing and decided to put it back on the shelf. Seeing Batman characters battle magical or alien forces has always been a turn-off for me. But anyway, there you have it. Am I being paranoid about Batwing joining the JLI or do you think that the end is coming?

Review

It used to be you could read “Batwing” and find a setting outside of Gotham. Now, he’s in Gotham, but you’re getting something else that many bat-titles and most comics in general don’t show enough of: heart.

Yeah, the surprise twist ending isn’t going to shock too many people. Most saw this coming a mile away, but between the final reveal and a nice moment between David and his mentor, Batman, “Batwing” comes with plenty of emotion and memorable moments that will greatly define this character. It also comes with a great deal of action served up not only by Batwing and Massacre’s final battle, but you’ll get to see Batman, Nightwing, and Robin fight a giant robot as well!

If you’ve been following “Batwing” all along, then it’s going to be pretty satisfying to see the Kingdom murder mystery solved. However, if you’re a new reader, I suggest you wait until next month’s “Night of the Owls” tie-in and then after that you’ll see Batwing fight pirates in issue #10. Both should be good jumping-on points. Issue #8, however, is for fans who have stuck by through all the first 7 issues of this over-long arc.

David Nguyen’s art is great as always. His drawings may lack the photo-realistic quality of former artist Ben Oliver’s pages but he more than makes up for it with detailed backgrounds and an excellent sense of movement. One of the only things that bugged me about the final chapter of Batwing’s first adventure is a bit of a spoiler.

Spoiler
It isn’t a satisfying conclusion. Massacre has been built up as the main bad guy for a long while and having his predictable identity revealed is not a satisfying end to an arc 8 issues in the making. And having Batwing track down the real master behind it all, a character who I barely remember seeing a few issues ago and bringing him to justice instead of Massacre isn’t satisfying either. The story ends with Massacre vanishing after another brutal fight with Batwing. This sort of event is becoming cliche, I mean it’s happened 2 or 3 time already and the tale kept going. I realize that the twist of them being brothers and Batwing trying to save Massacre’s soul can now lead to some interesting stories, but I still felt cheated when he simply disappeared again. Losing him, again, with Batman, Batgirl, Robin, and Nightwing at Batwing’s aid does not feel like a victory. It would have at least been nice to see Batman or any of the other crime fighters act the slightest bit upset or disappointed by Massacre’s escape.

“Batwing” #8 was the better Bat-title this week and it sets up an interesting future plot. I just wonder how long the “Batwing” series has left to play such a story out.

SCORE: 8/10