Wednesday, November 6, 2013

SPOILERS: Batwing #25

Luke Fox is a pretty stand-up guy, that much we've learned from his tenure on the title, but surprise, surprise, he's also a pretty stand-up kid, six years ago, as he trains with his nerdy, often picked on, friend Russell, in a martial arts class. Russell isn't that into it, but Luke and their trainer give hims some encouraging words, which seemingly help give him a bit of confidence.

On their way back to their boarding school, a gang of thugs confront the two on the train, and while Russell is all too willing to hand over his money, Luke fights back, and the two escape the train unharmed, but Russ is a little freaked out at almost dying, he believes.

Russell's week doesn't get any better, as he's continually teased and eventually beaten up at school. He locks himself in his room and won't even speak to Luke, who he seemingly has begun to resent given how "easy" he has it.

After their earlier fight with the gang, Russell had mentioned their attackers would seek revenge, and he was right, after Luke's next visit to his dojo, he leaves and the gang is waiting for him. They manage to corner him in an alley, and things look pretty bad, that is, until the Batman shows up. Seeing an opportunity, Luke joins in the fight, gaining Batman's attention. Once all is said and done, Luke goes to say something to Batman, but he's gone.

When Luke gets back to his school, the body of the bully who had beat up Russell comes flying out of a window, and if he wasn't already dead, died on impact. Outcomes a huge monster of a man, and it turns out Russell has been dosing himself with a drug from Mexico that gives you a bunch of strength called "Snakebite" (heavy emphasis on the quotation marks).

Turns out Russell has a plan to blow the levees during the Zero Year storm, so the school is flooded and destroyed. Luke finds this out when he chases Russell down, trying to talk to him, but it's clear Russell is too far gone, and not the same person anymore. Realizing his friend is gone, Luke tries to stop Russell, but can't do much against the monster he's become.

The police show up and aim their guns at Russell, who tries to blow the bombs, but turns out his hands are too big to hit the key pad correctly. Luke then takes the opportunity to grab the detonator and runs towards the police, who believe he's a suicide bomber, and open fire. Luke takes cover and accidentally hits the keypad, blowing Russell to high heaven, and into the river. As the police take Luke away, there's no sign of Russell.

UNTIL SIX YEARS LATER, where Russell has put himself together and seeks revenge on Luke!


The Good: 

Pretty much the same thing I've said about every issue of this series since the "reboot" of sorts, it's just a fun book. Does it really stand out? Not really, but it's just one of those titles that flies under the radar and is consistently well told and well illustrated. Luke Fox is a cool character, and it's fun to see how the man we know today in the current timeline, was present at the core of his character when he was a kid.

The Bad: 

Zero Year wasn't really used all that well. With the blackout caused by the Riddler, there's also a huge storm, which is present in all the other issues, yet here we just get the huge storm. Everything (at least visually) is powered on, with street lights glowing everywhere, and no one referencing both emergencies that are supposed to be taking place at once. We got the storm, but no black out.

The Bottom Line:

This book is a weird title, that's for sure. It's hard to point out specifics of why I like the title so much,  as it's greater than the sum of its parts. Taking this book for what it is, it's just fun, low stakes entertainment. Month in and month out, it delivers consistently. In terms of Zero Year, did it really offer anything up towards that story as a whole? No, not really. It was a bit of a swing and a miss in that department, but you know what, that's okay.


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