This series is on a roll when it comes to covers. The most recent 3 covers by Ken Lashley have been among the best from any bat-title. But does the content within measure up?
First of all, what’s going on with Bruce Wayne’s Batman Incorporated? (Batman Inc. finale spoilers ahead) Something that’s always struck me as kind of odd is how little the Batwing series acknowledges events that take place in the book it spun off from. The ending of Batman Incorporated showed us that the organization known as Spyral was the greater global crime-fighting force and that there just wasn’t any room for a Batman Incorporated. Plus, didn’t Bruce say at Damian’s grave that he was going to shut Incorporated down? I think I even remember Grant Morrison stating in an interview that the ending of his story would bring Batman back to his basics. What happened between issue #13 of Grant Morrison’s book and the beginning of Gray and Palmiotti’s run on Batwing? I think these are questions that need to be answered and soon, but they don’t matter too greatly in the issue at hand so let’s press on.
The previous installment ended with Batman and Batwing teaming up to rescue Lucius Fox from the Marabunta, a league of red ant-themed goons who have loads of robots. In order to extract Wayne Enterprises’ secrets, a Conhead-man strapped Lucius to a chair and connected his brain to Fox’s via a giant ant larva…thing. Strange, right? It seemed like this was going to lead to a pretty large battle, but it wrapped up very, very quickly. In a disappointing turn of events, the story hastily moved on from Batman’s cameo and the Marabunta threat to Lady Vic in no time at all and what was our big cliffhanger a month ago turns out to be quite the non-event here.
I won’t go into too much detail about Lady Vic so we can avoid spoilers
While I’m not finding the enemies Batwing faces to be all that interesting (red ant robots and lion centaurs are just a little over-the-top for me) what I think the Batwing series is really doing well is illustrating the difficulty a hero has balancing two lives. The whole “Batman of Africa” element seems to have vanished in recent issues and Luke seems to be filling the role of Nightwing now that that character has moved to the windy city.
The interiors by Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira aren’t as eye-catching as the imagery found on the cover, but it’s all still quite good. There is some inconsistency in faces from panel to panel but when it comes to action and detailed environments this art team really excels.
Luke Fox is still a novice and this issue explores his current limitations and how difficult it is to be a masked avenger with a personal life. However, Batwing 2.0 has yet to have a moment that hooks me and makes Batwing feel like a comic that the world of Batman actually needs. It’s a series that has potential, but I don’t find myself dwelling on it long after finishing an issue nor do I ever get all too excited for the next installment. It’s still missing something that makes it feel necessary but it’s fun nonetheless.