New 52 – Batwing #12 review

Much like the continent he has sworn to protect, Batwing is in constant need of aid. 6/12 covers have shown Batwing side-by-side with another hero and this week’s issue features not only Batwing with Batman and Nightwing but the entire Justice League International as well (only August General in Iron is now called August General of Iron…I don’t know if the names are interchangeable or it’s a screw-up. At one point the JLI were simply referred to as the “Justice League” but that’s probably getting nitpicky. Diet coke is still coke.). And as a result it reads more like an issue of “Justice League International”. Which is kind of odd seeing as how that series is canceled as of today when it ends its run on issue #12. Why not cancel “Batwing”, which wasn’t selling as well as JLI’s book? Just keep Batwing on the team. He’s already a co-dependent character, just put him on a squad–any squad at all–and he’ll work better.

Still, this is what you get: Batwing calling for the help of Batman, Nightwing, and the JLI so that he can bring down a super-powered dictator with a big hammer and a nuclear weapon which he bought from Penguin (which seems way too big-time for Penguin if you ask me. Guns? Women? Drugs? Sure. But selling nuclear weapons to authoritarian dictatorships seems a bit out of his league. Also, the nuke doesn’t really factor in at all toward the end of the book. It’s like everyone forgot about it).

Issue #12 “I am One With This Land” is another well-drawn issue by Marcus To who probably had a lot of fun with  this since he got to draw so many different characters. The clean look matches the style seen in “Justice League International” well but it would be nice to see the heroes get bruised or dirty once in a while so the fights actually look like a struggle. The whole issue is one big brawl but it was so rushed in its telling and so clean in its appearance that I was never on the edge of my seat. Then again, I don’t know how anyone could’ve doubted victory for the good guys for a second considering there were 8 super heroes in all fighting one guy with a big hammer.

This finale is just a fun super-powered-beat’em-up. It’s about the overthrow of a dictator yet I only saw one regular citizen of this entire nation throughout the whole issue. Lord Battle, the dictator, had no army. He just has 3 henchmen and the fight takes place in a jungle. Even when the leader is ultimately defeated there is absolutely no attention given to how this fictional country would react to “great leader” suddenly being thrown in jail after decades of rule. It’s a very simple minded comic book. If you like bright colors and seeing a variety of heroes throw punches and fire energy blasts then I suppose you would find this thrilling and worth $2.99 but it’s not my cup of tea. I mean, the Justice League International, Nightwing, and Batman ultimately prove to be 100% unnecessary. That’s the biggest slap in the face. There’s all this hype about all of these other heroes joining forces to invade a country and then the whole book

wraps up with Matu calling Batwing and saying “Hey, so Lord Battle’s weakness is that if he is outside the walls of the nation he loses all power and all of his henchmen wither away too. So just use your rocket pack and carry him over the wall so we can go home.”
That’s it. That’s all that needed to be done. It’s the most anticlimactic battle I’ve seen in a comic book all year. But at least it’s over. The book, being a single fight and nothing more, moves along at a hurried pace and I was done reading it in 5 minutes or so.

So overall, the art looks fine but too clean for an “epic battle”. There’s no intensity at all. The Justice League International are depicted very well, Nightwing gets maybe 4 lines in all, and Batman gives orders from the Batcave because he’s the only one smart enough to just stay at home for this one. We see a handful of way, way outnumbered bad guys throw some punches and then Batwing gets a phone call telling him what to do to win, he does it, and the book ends. There’s a teaser ending that’s meant to get us excited about a new villain, but since nobody has ever heard of him before and his abilities and intentions aren’t even hinted at other than “I’m evil and I’m going to take over Africa!”…it falls pretty flat. This issue was mediocre at best. There are too many better books coming out today to bother with this. More people should read “Sweet Tooth”.

SCORE: 4.5/10