Batwing 1: The Lost Kingdom

batwing volume 1 the lost kingdom cover
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Art: 7/10

Halfway interesting character, nice art

Winick tries too hard with Batwing, Sloppy timeline of events

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Batwing

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  Judd Winick

Artist:  Ben Oliver

# of Issues:  6

Release Date:  2012

batwing #4 cover origin

Batwing #4

Reprints Batwing #1-6 (November 2011-April 2012).  David Zavimbe and his brother Isaac are orphaned by A.I.D.S. and recruited by General Keita’s Army of the Dawn.  When David and Isaac refuse to follow Keita’s orders Isaac is killed and David is forced to flee.  Fast-forward years later and David is now working to fix the corrupt police force while secretly working as Batman, Incorporated’s agent Batwing.  When a killer named Massacre begins to slaughter former members of Africa’s superhero team called The Kingdom, Batwing and Batman find out what is behind the slaughter.

Written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Ben Oliver, Batwing Volume 1:  The Lost Kingdom was part of DC Comics’ New 52 relaunch.  Met with mixed reviews, Batwing was one of the odder titles to come out of the relaunch since he was a relatively new character only appearing in Batman, Incorporated (1) #5 (May 2011).

Batwing is a half-way interesting character.  He has a strong moral background due to his past and seems like the typical vigilante hero with the difference of having a setting in Africa.  The idea of the corruption and in-fighting in many areas of Africa does provide a lot of potential for the story, but also could limit Batwing in enemies.  This collection introduces the new character of Massacre and promises a trip to Gotham where hopefully Batwing can run into a few classic members of Batman’s rogue gallery.

I’m not the biggest Judd Winick fan and this collection illustrates why.  While Batwing has a lot of interesting aspects, Winick overdoes it.  His character was orphaned by A.I.D.S. which of course is a rampant problem in Africa and was also a child warrior in the Congo…which also has been widely publicized in America over the last few years.  Everyone (except the obvious love set-up Kia Okuru…who happens to share the last name of the rival warlord of Keita…foreshadow much?) seems to be corrupt.  Zavimbe’s “Alfred” Matu is the son of oil barons who helped destroy Africa.  It was as if Winick just watched Nightly News and wrote down problems he heard about Africa…It also seems so forced.

batwing #5 cover batmanThe other big problem in the comic is a sloppy timeline.  The first issues starts out with Batwing fighting Massacre and Massacre threatening to kill everyone on a bus…then it goes into the first flashback.  After that it flashes forward to some unknown time after Massacre’s attack at the police station which begins to be called “Now” in the story if it is indicated at all…that isn’t true, since everything from the first couple pages of issue #1 to issue #6 is “Now” and everything is a flashback.  Jumping continuity doesn’t mean adding depth, and it doesn’t indicate that you are a better writer…just tell the story!

Ben Oliver’s art is fun and a bit of saving grace.  I can’t say I always love it, but it does stand world above the story.  I find it sometimes has great detail and other times is over or under inked in its attempts to be photo real.

Batwing as a character has potential, but it needs a new writer who can write it without loading it with clichés and overdone flashbacks that add nothing to the story and confuse the already convoluted timeline (which is an amazing feat for six issues).  I would give volume 2 a chance however when it is released.  Batwing 1:  The Lost Kingdom is followed by Batwing 2:  In the Shadow of the Ancients.

Related Links:

Batwing 2:  In the Shadow of the Ancients

Batwing 3:  Enemy of the State

Batwing 4:  Welcome to the Family

Batwing 5:  Into the Dark

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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