The month-long hiatus caused by Villains Month reminds me how much I wish DC would implement a recap page at the front of every book.
When Batwing’s armor began to malfunction and the assassin Lady Vic cast our hero off the roof of a Gotham skyscraper it was August 7th. Now it’s October and we finally get to see what happened next, but it’s pretty anti-climactic. When our tech-based hero’s tech fails him, what does he do next? Does he use his surroundings to his advantage? Think of a clever way to reignite the futuristic uniform before he goes splat? Doe he take the blow, survive and realize he needs to become more than his gadgets? No, Luke Fox just catches a lucky break and systems come back online when he’s a mere 50 feet from colliding with the earth below. Thankfully, that rather unsatisfying resolution to a 2 month long cliffhanger is the issue’s weakest moment and the rest of the book not only proves that Luke is indeed a formidable and intelligent do-gooder but it offers a more in-depth look at his private life as well.
One of the things that held back David Zavimbe (the original Batwing) was that he was far too dependent on Batman’s handouts. He was always calling for Batman’s help either in the field or for improved weaponry/armor but that’s not going to be the case with Luke Fox. After the mishap with Lady Vic, Luke Fox not only turns down Batman’s offer of assistance, but he actually shows some initiative by reworking the armor himself so that the adjustments better fit his unique crimefighting needs. If anyone should be designing the suit it should be the man who wears it and so Luke gets in touch with his inner Tony Stark. It’s a great moment with some very cool visuals that are really nicely colored and it’s a scene that proves what a great engineer Luke is. This character trait was definitely needed as it finally gives Luke something that sets him apart from Dick Grayson and Terry McGinnis, two characters that Batwing 2.0 was drawing a lot of comparison to.
Unfortunately, while the story goes into detail about all of the improvements that Luke has made to the uniform, the otherwise well-suited artwork doesn’t reflect that. Batwing looks exactly the same as he did at the start of the book and it’s not very satisfying. By the way, I’m not quite sure on whether or not Batwing 2.0 has rocket boots or if he just glides. After all, we never see any exhaust or flames coming from the soles of his feet and in issue #22 he actually hitched a ride on a civilian’s car to get from point A to point B. But as I said, other than the lack of clarity about Batwing’s flight and any noticeable alteration in the armor, the artwork in this book fits the story quite well especially during the many action sequences.
However, the book has just as many quiet moments as it does high-tech superhero adventure. The Fox family was recently attacked and then robbed and we see all the fallout from that as well as some more from Luke’s ex-girlfriend. The relationship between Luke and Zena definitely becomes more complicated with this issue and adds to the emotional weight of the series as well as a nice counterbalance to the guns-blazing-bikini-wearing-fear-toxin-infused action of the issue’s finale.
- You want some lighthearted superhero action
- Tech based heroes are your favorite
- You want something like Batman Beyond but not quite Batman Beyond (Terry’s suit does make a cameo, by the way)
- You read issue #23, this probably isn’t the most new reader friendly chapter
“I Can’t Catch a Break” has a gorgeous cover by Darwyn Cooke and a story that strikes a perfect balance between Luke’s personal life and his crime-fighting adventures. While some of the personal drama can feel a bit cliche, it moves along at a brisk pace and the accompanying action sequences are fun enough that I think readers should walk away from this one feeling entertained.