Wednesday, February 5, 2014

SPOILERS: Batwing #28

So Menace, Batwing's old friend Russell, has taken over the Gotham Underground, which apparently was in Catw-HRRUUGH... sorry, threw up in my mouth a little, but you get the point. Sooooo society of weirdos under Gotham? Cool. Anyways, he's starting somewhat of a rallying cry, with the goal to take over Gotham by selling death to those too afraid to live. By "death" I'm assuming it's this drug they're manufacturing, which Gordon and the GCPD can't figure out where it's coming from.

Meanwhile, Luke's sister is still missing, so he finds a group of dealers who were once in control of their neighborhood, until the Underground took over, and extorts some information out of them. Apparently, how you get in contact with the Underground is that you talk to some rats, and the Underground finds you. Luke things this info is a joke or code for something, but with Ratcatcher involved, you literally just have to talk to the rats, who talk to him.

Conveniently enough for Ratcatcher, some of his rats were watching Luke interrogate the dealers. So, Ratcatcher knows Batwing is looking for Tam, and Menace wants to know why.

Back at Luke's house, tensions are high as Lucius and his wife start to argue, leading Mrs. Fox to storm out, frustrated that nothing has happened with finding Tam. Luke tries to talk to his father about some personal stuff, but it's not the time. The two men leave the house to spread more missing posters, and for Luke to pick up his youngest sister from a friend's house, but something is wrong... Wrong in the form of the father of Luke's sister's friend, running to their house, his daughter in hand, telling Luke and Lucius that a huge monster came into their house, and kidnapped Tiffany.

Luke rushes to the demolished house to find a message specifically for him on the wall that says: "Master Torres was right." This callback to issue #25 lets Luke know immediately that this was Russell's doing.


The Good:

The regular art team is back after the previous issue, and man is this book looking good again. While Panisca's art isn't the most flashy, it's just amazingly consistent across the board, and very visually pleasing, helped by Paul Mounts' great color pallet. 

With the story, while I'm not huge on Menace, Luke's end of things continue what we've been getting from the start of this run, a very solid, well fleshed out, entertaining character to read. This issue we get to see a different side of Luke, one when things get personal, and when they do, he lets his emotions get the best of him, despite knowing better. Seeing Luke lose it just a bit was definitely interesting, and I loved his inner monologue during that scene where he basically goes "Yeah, I'm definitely not Batman" all while absolutely beating the shit out of some people with no mercy.

The Bad:

Like I said, not really feeling Menace too much. He just feels too close to Bane, who, goes without saying, is a pretty damn good villain. I feel you could easily replace Menace with Bane in this story, and it wouldn't lose much. That said, I'll admit that the personal touch is where this could be saved, because by the end of this issue, it seems that Menace has put together Luke = Batwing, so at least when that confrontation comes, we'll probably get that element thrown in there too.

The Bottom Line:

By conventional New 52 thinking, this book should have been gone long ago, but for whatever reason, it seems to be sticking around... I mean, if you told me Batwing would get more issues under its belt than Nightwing? I would have called you crazy. Regardless, team-Batwing is taking full advantage of whatever voodoo they've got going keeping this book alive, and producing fun stories month in and month out. This issue shows us yet another side of Luke which is when he gets angry, and when he gets angry, he's kind of a dick to your average Gotham street criminal. So, if you're a fan of characters with "Bat" in their name just generally being dicks to criminals, there's definitely a good deal of entertainment to be had. I'm still not sold on the villain though, Menace seems to be a Bane knock off, only his motivations where that he was bullied, so he became a villain... though that doesn't exactly translate to Underground narcotics dealer, but I'm willing to be convinced I should care about the guy. All that being said, with another issue under its belt, Batwing continues to be an enjoyable read, and with the book seemingly not going anywhere for a while, might as well take part in the fun it offers.


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