Wednesday, May 1, 2013

SPOILERS: Batwing #20

Surprise! Six months have past, and Luke Fox is already in Africa fighting some terrorists in ant suits, with Batman in his ear, think Batman Beyond. Luke is having a bit of tough time dealing with the numbers, asking Batman if any support packages are coming in, to which Batman basically says "lol, deal with it." Luke tries to deal with it, like suggested, but eventually Batman sends in flying little bats that drop gas in the room, allowing Luke to grab the terrorist ant leader for interrogation.

Back in the the Batcave, Alfred finds Bruce and begins to speak with him about Luke. Alfred goes through everything, and we learn that apparently Luke was Bruce's first choice for Batwing, but got passed over for David, we also see a bit of Luke's crime fighting he did specifically to get Batman's attention (where he "saves" Bruce Wayne during a robbery) and then Alfred brings up the possibility of Lucius ever finding out. A lot to worry about, including the fact that Bruce had to bail Luke out. Despite all this, the most interesting thing Bruce finds in Luke is the fact that he has no insecurity about the job, it's as if he was born to wear the suit.

Meanwhile, while Luke is using some fear toxin to interrogate (with mixed results), we see a flashback of Lucius getting angry that his son wants to "take a year off" and "travel the world." We're introduced to Luke's mother as well, who is supportive of him taking his time, but also sides with Lucius in a way. It's a very headstrong moment for both Lucius and Luke, but we all ultimately know the result.

Back in the present, Luke manages to find out that the terrorists were being funded by a ruthless warlord who operates out of a diamond mine. Luke travels to the mine's location to crash the party, where he's met by Lion-Mane, and his three warrior wives, who immediately gang up on Luke in coordinated attacks. Luke's taunting doesn't work that well, because he doesn't quite get African culture, but he is able to eventually focus and defeat Lion-Mane's three wives... that's until Lion-Mane joins in the fight and kicks his ass.

Lion-Mane is a big ass dude. He's basically a lion centaur, and pounds the crap out of Luke. IS THIS THE END OF THE NEW BATWING?

No... but, you know.


The Good:

This being the first real issue of Luke's story, we get a good amount of just who Luke is. To be quite honest, he's very Terry McGinnis-like. Young, smart ass... yeah, that's pretty much the two qualifiers. Bruce in his ear also contributes heavily to the Terry feel, but I like Terry, so that's not a bad thing. So far, Luke is pretty entertaining. He'll crack wise (like asking if he's being sent to Africa because he's the black one) but it's clear he also knows exactly what he's doing. So, for the first full issue with Luke in it, I'm liking him so far.

The art of the book is also particularly stronger than it has been of late, so that's another positive.

The Bad:

There's hitting the ground running, and then there's really hitting the ground running. Six months have apparently past from the last issue... That's a lot of time, almost jarring in a way. I mean, let's be honest, in the cancellation culture DC has built with the New 52, one has to figure there's not a whole lot of breathing room to be had with Batwing at the moment, but man, when I read "six months later," I had to do a double take. A lot can happen in six months, and we get one scene of it. It also starts messing with my mind in terms of Batman, Inc, which in Batman, Incorporated, is pretty fucked at the moment. So this being six months later sends me down a continuity path I tend to dislike going down. Just like the dumb five year time period in the New 52, this is another case of it probably being best to avoid hard dates and time passage. Just be general.

The Bottom Line:

Despite some weird time questions, this served as a great introduction to Luke Fox, Batwing Ver. 2.0. A good first impression was absolutely crucial for this character/book, and Palmiotti and Gray delivered on that front. I'm not excited and interested to see where this more relevant Batwing will go in the coming months, and a big part of that is due to this issue.


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