Batman has the most spin-off books of any of DC Comics’ iconic characters. Many of the Dark Knight’s sidekicks and villains received their own titles at one point or another over the years. One of the newest characters branching out on his own from the pages of Batman, Incorporated is Batwing. “Batwing Volume 1: The Lost Kingdom” collects the first six issues of this great series.
Batman recruits Officer David Zavimbe of the Tinasha Police Department to be his “presence” in Africa as part of his new global initiative. Zavimbe keeps tabs on all the criminal activities during the day and pounces out of the shadows at night to defeat the scheming crooks as Batwing. A new masked villain in town calling himself Massacre is brutally slaying police officers and the members of a retired African crime fighting team called the Kingdom. Who is this mysterious butcher and why is he determined to assassinate these former superheroes?
Writer Judd Winick (“Batman: Under the Red Hood”) does a spectacular job dropping readers into the African setting of this book. Readers feel as if they’re in another world. He also shows us that there’s wrongdoing to fight no matter where we are. The parallels between Gotham City and Tinasha show this in a very bright light.
Winick loves jumping around in time and giving us little bits of the story as we need them. Nothing is revealed by the author until it’s absolutely necessary. He keeps readers on their toes throughout the entire book.
Artist Ben Oliver’s (“Ultimate X-Men”) penciling transports us to the wilds of Africa and into the country’s cities. His artwork has a very unique look that can’t be compared to anyone. Colorist Brian Reber adds earthy tones which clash beautifully with the metallic colors of Batwing’s costume and his glowing eyes and chest logo. Oliver and Reber provide a unique visual experience.
DC included a section of cover and character sketches for fans to see how the creative process works. A great Batwing costume design drawn and colored by Jim Lee is the icing on the cake. It’s always fun to see how different artistic aspects come together to actualize the product.
“Batwing Volume 1: The Lost Kingdom” is a worthy addition to the world of Batman and his global team of crime fighters. The setting takes the book in a unique direction and gets us out of the confines of Gotham City. An added bonus to the book is getting to see the Dark Knight and Batwing work together to come up against an all-new bloodthirsty villain. It’s a fascinating action-packed and suspenseful read that works as a crime mystery as well.