A young hero-in-the-making is the one and only friend of a victim of constant bullying until one day something fantastic happens to the abused boy and he is given extraordinary power. However, unlike our hero, the power corrupts the bullied kid and he and our hero’s relationship is forever changed. It’s a common tale in the superhero’s journey and now it’s a chapter in Luke Fox’s story.

Batwing #25 makes a poor Zero Year tie-in, but a rich and necessary chapter in the titular character’s history AND  a nice jumping-on point for readers who have been curious about Batwing 2.0. Two of the greatest things I took away from this issue are that Luke Fox has always been eager to be a hero ever since he was a young boy and that writers Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti have given Batwing something he needed– a deeply personal villain with a rivalry that can be traced back for ages.

The Gotham blackout caused by the Riddler is never really addressed, Gotham is actually quite well lit throughout the comic. Even the storm has not yet arrived. Truly it feels like an issue more belonging in 2012’s “Zero Month” but back in those days we didn’t have a Luke Fox, we were still following the failed “Batman of Africa” who I honestly think should come back to the title, but as a villain!

The first half of the comic is devoted to high school drama, which is fun in an after-school-special sort of way, but all of that potential energy explodes in the final pages when the villainous transformation occurs and we get a brief cameo by Batman who shows up basically remind us that it’s a tie-in comic. Seeing Luke fight alongside Batman for the briefest of moments was pretty corny, especially since Batman had already done something similar with Green Arrow in today’s comic by Jeff Lemire. I hope this won’t become a repetitive formula where we’ll see the same thing happen with Batman & Barry Allen and Batman & John Stewart in the coming weeks.

Spoiler
Something I wasn’t quite clear on in this issue was the gang that attacked Luke. Is the name of the gang “The 99%ers”? If so, that’s a really lame name for a gang. Also, the letterer incorrectly used apostrophes when describing them “The 99%er’s wanted revenge.” There’s no need for an apostrophe there, but I’m getting away from my question– was that the name of the gang or was Luke’s inner monologue being smug about how rich he is and how poor the subway thugs must be? Luke is definitely the 1%, just look at that overly-modern home shown on the opening page.

The artwork by Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira tells the story well and really sets the gloomy atmosphere well. I especially liked the pages that showed the day-by-day life of the victimized Russ and the reveal of what happened to him on Wednesday really made my heart sink. Even the design of the villain’s final form was oddly interesting to me. It’s way, way over the top and looks more like something Superman would fight during a bout set-up by Mongol, but it certainly looked threatening. However, I did feel that the art suffered some in the Batman scene and Batman’s leg in particular bends in an unnaturally rubbery way.

Recommended If…

  • You love these bullied victim turned villain storylines
  • Luke Fox is a character you’ve grown to like in the ongoing Batwing series
  • You’re looking for a good jumping-on point for this series and learning what Luke Fox is all about

Overall

Batwing #25 is a decent done-in-one story even if it does feel a little too familiar. It doesn’t do a good job of tying into the Zero Year event (we don’t even see the great Gotham blackout) but it is a fairly entertaining way to flesh out a character who is relatively new to the DC universe, offer an accessible jumping-on point, and get fans excited about an upcoming storyline.

SCORE: 7/10