Batwing #33 written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti with pencils by Eduardo Pansica, inks by Julio Ferriera, and colors by Paul Mounts deserves to be followed by a long run, and not just one final issue and a Future’s End novelty tie-in.
Batwing isn’t revolutionary and doesn’t seem to have any high-minded aims beyond being a slick, well done monthly superhero comic. Before I get into all of my praise I want to temper this. Batwing is a comic that doesn’t do anything new and doesn’t have anything to say about life or deconstructing or reconstructing cape comics. It’s just a good, solid book.
Batwing #33 could be a primer on how to write one of these things. The first several pages introduce a new baddie whose origins are tastefully tied in to the recent line-wide mega-crossover; said baddie is a dark reflection of our hero in that he is also inspired by Batman and wears a similar costume to him, but twisted. Also, while the issue has no room for an actual appearance by Batwing’s civilian identity’s supporting cast, they are included by way of a several page long phone call with Batwing while he is investigating the baddie’s hideout. Their conversation reminds the reader of what’s going on with that plotline without being overbearing about it while also further developing the characters involved. Then there’s a fairly good brief fight and a cliffhanger that effectively sets up the next issue. Really professionally done stuff!
While it’s only really shown for a couple of panels, I really dig the way Pansica draws the buildings of Gotham. I’m a sucker for well drawn cities, and he is doing it right with dutch angles and buildings with some rooms lit and others not. Batwing is sleek and the action scene flows logically from one move to the next. This is Grade A standard super hero art with nary a mistake or awkward panel in sight. My favorite part of the art though is Paul Mounts’ colors. The blacks are deep and the other colors are muted or pop and glow as required by the story. And I do like that glow! He does a great neon hue and uses solid color backgrounds really effectively.
This is the final, two-part storyline of this series, excluding the Future’s End flash forward in September, and I wouldn’t mind something a bit more significant or final. I think I see what they are going for with the baddie being a twisted version of Batman, but I feel like he is too twisted to be an effective mirror of our hero. Last issue ended with a confrontation brewing between Batman and Batwing, and while Batwing makes mention of not being particularly close to Batman, that storyline isn’t developed here. I guess I can’t really speak on this until the final issue comes out next month, but it seems like a lot is left to be wrapped up, including the current baddie, the aforementioned problems with Batman, and Batwing’s problems with his civilian circle that are caused by his superhero alter-ego and now border on a certain other animal-themed hero’s notorious alter-ego problems. I wonder if the series will end with him giving up the hero life.
Also, like last issue, there are a couple of small typos and editing mistakes that immediately stood out to me the first time I read it. Please give the final issue one more look before printing!
If you want to read a monthly superhero comic book, this would be a great pick. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but it sure is trying to make the best standard wheel it can.
Buy this comic if you like well made superhero comics, Batman Beyond, or books that are getting canceled that shouldn’t be.