Under Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, Batwing has been fantastic. Instead of keeping with the whole “Batman of Africa” idea attached to the character since it’s inception, Palmiotti and Gray decided to start fresh and created Lucas Fox, son of Wayne Enterprises’ R&D whiz, Lucius Fox. Though met with skepticism, Luke Fox has turned out to be one of the most dynamic new characters of the ‘New 52’.
In Palmiotti and Gray’s other ‘New 52’ title, All-Star Western, they focus on Jonah Hex, an ornery man from the frontier with years of training and experiences that have jaded him to nearly everything. Conversely, Luke Fox is a kid with only some training and a deep desire to do good in the world. They mirror each other almost perfectly.
Jonah Hex is a tactician who knows the lay of the land and his enemy’s hand well before he acts. His place in history obviously offers limitations to the tools and weapons he can use, but he manages to overcome and win nearly every time. Even in situations where Hex is forced to improvise, his battle-hardened mind continues to strategize and plan every move he makes.
Luke Fox, on the other hand, has a very expensive and advanced suit of armor and an overabundance of youthful exuberance. On more than one occasion, he’s jumped into a fight headfirst without looking. Batwing #24 highlights this flaw in Luke’s “strategy” as he confronts Lady Vic, a deadly assassin that even Batman is surprised Batwing was able to escape.
Palmiotti and Gray’s Batwing shows just how versatile this writing duo can be, shifting from tales set in the 19th century to modern day, not just without skipping a beat, but doing so with wit and an insight to characterization as a literary practice that is simply astounding.
“Go pop some tags” should probably never be used in a comic book dialogue ever again. Modern slang, in general, tends to backfire and hurt more than it helps. It reminds the reader that this is a piece of media aimed at exploiting social customs and that can be awkward, to say the least.
Palmiotti and Gray have really hit their stride with Batwing #24, getting into the real meat of Lucas Fox as a character and how he fits into the Batman family as well as the greater DCnU. Batwing will probably never reach levels of popularity or sales numbers like Nightwing or Detective Comics, but it’s now a more substantial part of the ‘New 52’, and that’s a good sign.