Nerdlocker Reviews – Batwing #1


Jason – I love Batman. I have always loved Batman since I had his underoos at the age of five.  But how many Bat-guys can we have? Batman, Robin, Red Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, etc. So I kept shuffling this book to the bottom of my pile. Heck, I almost didn’t buy it at all. After reading the book, however, I am dousing my words in sugar for mass consumption. First, this is not your typical “black” version of a white super hero. While Batman makes his typical guest appearance as mentor and financial sponser, Judd Winick does a good job of establishing an independent character. David Zavimbe (a.k.a. Batwing) is a Tinasha Police Officer who has witnessed genocide and civil war in the very real country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The fact that this comic is set in an actual African country (when DC could have easily made one up and 95% of Americans would have no idea) adds to the intrigue.
While I’m not a fan of the costume (the helmet bothers me and it’s kind of an Iron Man ripoff), what I enjoy most about this comic is the issues it intentionally and unintentionally raises. Unintentionally, we have a black super hero who is being funded by a very rich white guy. Another unintentional controversy is the stereotypical portrayal of Africa as a war-torn continent full of primitive, violent savages. So does this comic raise awareness about African issues or just perpetuate preconceived notions of a continent that is “naturally” savage. Intentionally, it raises awareness of real issues. The Rwandan civil war and genocide spilled over into the Democratic Republic of the CongoAmerica, which itself has experienced civil wars and fragile governments. So the portrayal of this country in the comic is not completely fictional in its portrayal of warlords, druglords, and corrupted authorities. I hope that this comic stays rooted in reality. I give it 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
For the real history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, check out the all-knowing Wikipedia:

Jim – I will state this with every review I write for the DC Relaunch, I’m a Marvel guy so I know very little of the DC world beyond the heavy hitters (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, etc.), and even to that end I have not kept up with their latest story lines. I found the recent relaunch extremely enticing in that I might find a better connection with these characters. Brandon has bored me to death with stories of Batman Inc. and how he’s spreading the good word throughout the world. I tease him, but it actually sounded like a cool concept. Reading Batwing, I sort of wish he skipped the Congo. I like how the book opened, it kept me enthralled, but I think I gradually lost interest because I didn’t have any tie to the culture in the book. That might sound shallow, but I’m reading comics, not my old history books about foreign lands I couldn’t care less about. I want to be entertained and I just didn’t find that in this book. It probably also has to do with the fact that I’ve obviously read a lot of the New 52 and I just think there are better books out there to spend money on. I give Batwing 2 out of 5 Nerdskulls.

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I'm a true child of the 80s from a small town near Cleveland, Ohio. My all time favorite topics are Star Wars, slasher films and Cleveland sports (despite the misery it causes). I narrowly avoided law school, instead choosing film school. I have been accused of being a walking IMDB, but I take it as a compliment!


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