The latest exploits of Batwing start off strong but quickly loses its way. A quarter of this issue is dedicated to the origin story of its villain. While I didn’t like where the story went afterwards, the setup was quite intriguing. It set up a realistic situation that was not only believable but also sad. Even though George loved what he was doing, it was sad because he didn’t choose to become this person. He was shaped into this person at a young age by his environment and the individuals that inhabited it. He was relatable because he had a hole that he was trying to fill. Granted he filled it with violence but everyone can relate to needing something worth doing in their lives and feeling the void when this is taken from you and doing anything within your power to get it back.
The thing that I find so strange about the Batwing comics is that it is grounded so much in reality and then take off in a fantasy direction. Real world issues are presented in the comic and the characters are motivated by everyday desires. There is no need to add a supernatural element to the story when Batwing himself is puzzling enough, for me, in his personal interactions. He displays a rather callous attitude toward his family while at the same time showing great concern for a total stranger. I hardly think it is conducive to super hero work if you don’t have your personal life in good order. These frustrations should not be brought to a line of work where you often hit people. Where did Batwing learn this patience and compassion that he displays to the villain? If it had been from his family then he would have interacted with them in a like fashion and that is definitely not what we are presented with.
Other than his interest in violence, the character of George seemed very normal to me. Meaning that I would have seen him as sadistic but not insane. What we are presented with, as the story progresses, is a character that is most certainly insane and having a motif that is never really explained. While one could say, “He is crazy, there is your answer.” I was hoping a more grounded story would end the Batwing comic, but it does not look like this is going to happen.
Eduardo Pansica has an interesting style, one in which he mixes the beautiful with the grotesque. Quite capable of capturing the haunting glow of the moon on the clouds one minute and unkempt mutilation the next. One of my favorite pages displayed a stairwell at an old steel factory. Above the doors in the stairwell were light panels with red coverings. The lighting bathed the stairwell in a muted color that was more purple in nature than red. It gave a sense that there were old halogen bulbs in these panels that didn’t have enough life in them to cast so intense a color. The interpretation took something old and rusted and industrial and made it look calming, which was in strong contrast to the fight scene that was taking place in it. The shadows of the combatants on the wall and the hue of their costumes when mixed with the lighting really made this page stand out from the rest of the book for me. Another nice layout is on page seven where Batwing can be seen, as several transparent images, making his way over the rooftops of Gotham. The only thing that puzzles me is the relevance of the cover in conjunction with the story. There is only twice a mention of drugs, both being in the flashback scenes, and certainly never that many falling through Batwing’s fingers. Perhaps violence is George’s drug of choice.
-Killer Croc first appeared in 1983 in Batman #357. Most present day fans know Croc as nothing more than a mindless beast who is controlled by his natural instincts, however, when the character first appeared he was actually very intelligent and became the mob boss over all organized crime in Gotham. The in-universe explanation of this is, as Croc’s condition got worse he devolved.
-you’re looking for a well crafted villain origin story that is grounded in reality.
-you want to see how the Batwing comic wraps up. (This is the second to last issue.)
-you’re into visceral/primal combat.
The direction that the story went was not as strong as its beginning. Maybe after reading the next issue my opinion of it will be improved but as it stands I found it underwhelming and confusing. While strong, the opening seems like an origin for a different villain than the one we are presented with.