Certain titles in DC’s Reboot strike me as somewhat iffy (or completely iffy, I’m looking at you Animal Man) so they had to put some heavy hitters on them. When I first heard about Batwing I put it in that category and since they can’t put Geoff Johns on every book they went and did the next best thing: they got Judd Winick. When it comes to writers in the DCU there’s Johns, then the next tier guys, 1A in the biz, and they’re people like Winick, Simone, Robinson, Azzarello, etc.
I’ve been a fan of Winick’s for a long time (as you can see from this pair of reviews on Barry Ween…each link represents a review) and really enjoyed his work on Green Arrow and Green Lantern. In recent years he has clearly made a name for himself by writing solid story arcs or extended series runs on nearly every big name in the DCU.
So why did Batwing still manage to come up short?
Well, I gotta be honest, even Winick can’t turn an outreach project like this one. I’m sure this is going to make me sound bad, but fuck-it, I’m a reviewer so I’ll call it like I see it. Much like a lot of what DC is trying to do with the Reboot in the sense of transitioning into a broader audience with war books, westerns, vampires, etc. it really seems like Batwing is their answer to Black Panther.
And it falls short.
The writing is OK but it’s somewhat jumbled. It’s still Winick, so there are still some quality lines. But there’s a hodgepodge of what seems like a couple of different story pieces all dumped into one issue. It’s entirely possible that Winick is building towards something greater and this will all make sense later, but for an initial “jumping on point” type issue it shouldn’t be this confusing. It’s contrary to their goal.
Batman appears in the issue. There’s a flashback sequence in the issue and it shows how Batman “teaches” Batwing how to play the role of a fear-inducing crime-fighter. I get why Winick includes Batman in the issue, DC wants to hammer home the connection between Batman and this new Bat-character since he’s miles and miles from Gotham City (ya know, where EVERY OTHER Bat-character has existed). But instead of coming across like a teacher, in my view, he detracts from the Batwing character. I want to see him acting on his own, having already soaked in the teachings.
Did we see Bruce working with Barbara? Or Jason? Not like this. Not this direct. It just felt…forced.
I went in really hoping to like Batwing and the first read through I thought to myself, not bad, could have been better but not terrible. But after the second read through I was left with little excitement about the story and a very real concern that this book could, in fact, actually…suck. A lot.
I’m putting my faith in you Winick to pull this up from the nosedive it’s in right now and make this a decent series.
Only because it’s Winick and because there’s some cool action scenes it gets a Jack, instead of a Joker. We’ll see where it goes from here.
Continue to check out 8DaysAGeek every day as new reviews of the New 52 DC Reboot will be available!
This is your Bin Fodder Guru Tim Blacksmith signing off.
p.s. Did you spot the hooded lady? I’ve included a picture below. She keeps showing up in the strangest places! Who is she? What’s her impact going to be on the new DCU? Discuss below in comments!!!