The cover reads “SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS… BUT FOR HOW LONG?” and that pretty much sums up how I feel about the Batwing title right now. It’s been good and getting even better ever since Justing Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti took over about a year ago. Luke Fox has made for an interesting character and his adventures have been a great deal of fun, but lately it feels like Batwing is dipping in quality as we head more and more into outlandish B-movie territory.
First there’s the villain Menace, who has a cool name, a Willie Watt kind of origin story (but with the lameness of getting his powers through internet shopping), and a terrible design that looks as though Bane and a Muppet had a baby. Menace’s attacks on Luke have been nasty and I like that the two have a history together so I applaud what the creator’s have done with the core of the character. What I don’t like is his look, that his master plan went the generic “there’s a new drug on Gotham’s streets” route (how generic is that concept? It’s also what’s behind Detective Comics #30, which also came out today) and then combined that with a concept from Ann Nocenti’s Catwoman series.
I had a bad feeling about this ever since this arc briefly mentioned “The Underground” a few months ago and I crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t be addressed directly, but here we are with an issue that takes place entirely inside a dystopian refuge for mole-people. Well, mole-people, half-robots, giant anglerfish monsters, Anubis-worshipping cults, and more. Issue #30 gives us the grand tour of this fantastical setting, even going so far as to explain how they generate power, grow food, and more. It kind of reminded me of Quaid’s visit to Venusville in 1990’s Total Recall, which isn’t a bad thing really if it wasn’t for the fact that this book is supposed to be directly related to Bruce Wayne, Lucius Fox, and the rest of the Batman mythology. This is part of continuity now. Multiple bat-books are saying there’s a subterranean city full of sci-fi and fantasy creatures and I don’t like that one bit. If Batwing #30 were a comic standing on its own in a different city with a different supporting cast then what’s happening in issue #30 is actually quite fun.
It has action, humor, and no shortage of imagination. The artwork of this issue was especially good and even reminded me of Capullo, Miki, and FCO’s vibrant Zero Year in a couple of moments. As much as I dislike the concept of an underground city, you have to salute the level of detail this team poured into it. Fashion, architecture, a different take on color and lighting– The Underground is a fully realized world! Issue #30 is an attractive book from cover to cover (these covers really have been consistently mesmerizing) filled with some very memorable visuals for a sci-fi comic. So if you’re willing to forget about continuity and are just looking for something more offbeat then I suggest you try this arc on for size. Batwing is on one hell of an adventure to find his missing sister, but it’s a journey that feels incredibly far removed from anything resembling its Gotham City roots.
- You’ve enjoyed the artwork by Pansica, Ferreira, and Mounts so far. Every issue looks better than the last
- You enjoy comics that are more fantastical. Things are at their most ridiculous with this current arc where Batwing is in an underground city populated with giant anglerfish, Anubis-worshiping cults, and slave labor camps run by men with super-sonic speakers for heads
Great artwork and plenty of action, but I can only enjoy it if I imagine it existing separately from the rest of the Batman line. A subterranean city? Giant anglerfish monsters? It’s wild and over the top fun, but it’s also too weird for something that’s actually part of the mainstream continuity.