Last year, this Examiner did a two part series on the DC Comics series Batwing, starring the "Batman of Africa." The first part was a recap of the first six issue arc with the second part detailing ways to ensure the book's long term stability. Looking at Batwing #17, in stores February 6th, the book has maintained its level of quality, nearly a year later.
Writer Fabian Nicieza has been consistently putting out solid comics for DC for a few years now and Batwing #17 is no different. The issue continues the "Enemy of the State" story and starts with guns ablazing and the pacing does not let up through the entire issue as Batwing deals with the consequences of taking down the son of one of Tinasha's most influencial citizens. Consequences that are felt both in his superheroic identity as well as in his civilian life as police officer, David Zavimbe. Nicieza continues to build upon Batwing's mythos by stacking up the villains. Marksbury has put a bounty on the head of Batwing and, with this issue, the Sky Pirate enters the fray, looking to collect. Another character close to Zavimbe is also working against him thanks to Marksbury. Both of the mercenaries have the potential to be recurring adversaries for Batwing, especially with the reveal at the end of the issue. Sky Pirate's design also sets him up to be an opposite to Batwing with his winged armor and technologically advanced base of operations, The Flying Dutchman, comparable to Batwing's Haven.
Fabrizio Fiorentino's action and design for Sky Pirate are compelling. The latter furthers the character's potential as a major adversary for Batwing. Unfortunately, Fiorentino's art lacks in spots in the world building area, much like original series artist Ben Oliver did. While the detail is there where it is needed, Fiorentino fails to go beyond that and give readers much of an indication of what is beyond the surface. The only interior shots of The Haven are still just of an array of computer screens, giving readers little more insight into the base than they did when it was introduced over a year ago. Similarly, there is no expansive inside shot of the Sky Pirate's The Flying Dutchman, treating readers only to a glimpse of a monitor room. Surely, there is more to these hi-tech bases of operations than some computer stations? This may seem trivial, but it is attention to nuances like this that bring readers deeper into the world of the characters and makes them excited to see these new characters and concepts develop.
There was also a bit of a disconnect between the script and Pete Pantazis' colors at the conclusion of the issue. The characters were clearly acting as if they were in the dark, however, lights were depicted as being on. That bit of confusion hurt the scene which was one of personal betrayal for Zavimbe. Fixable issues like this should be picked up by the editorial staff and not something one would expect from a major publisher like DC Comics.
Batwing continues to deliver intriguing stories about a relatively new character in a largely unexplored region of the DC Universe. Despite some hiccups in the execution, there is still a quality story being told and Batwing has the potential to be a breakout book. Subscribe to this Examiner for an upcoming piece that will detail the potential for a spin-off title to Batwing.
Batwing #17 is in Philadelphia area stores February 6th. To find a comic shop near you, go to www.comicshoplocator.com.