Thursday, May 17, 2012

Comic Review -- Batwing #9: You Have Been Judged Unworthy / Judd Winick, Marcus To, and Ryan Winn

Interesting cover, with a dynamic composition and a breathtaking angle.  Batwing's struggle with this Talon emphasizes how dangerous these assassins are, with Batwing defending himself from a vicious assault from above.  The artwork is nice, and makes me want to see what happens in the pages within.

We open with a conversation between the members of the Court of Owls, who are talking about retiring Alexander Staunton, presumably the Talon featured in this issue.  David and Matu, meanwhile, have come to the Batman, Inc. headquarters to get some upgrades for the Batwing armor.  Lucius Fox invites them to a gala the corporation is hosting, and David reluctantly attends.  He has a difficult time hiding his disdain for a corrupt African politician, but is reigned in my Fox, who tells him that sometimes personal sacrifices have to be made for the greater good.

It isn't long before the gala is marred by a gasoline fire, prompting David to find and don the Batwing armor.  Alfred's call for help against the Talons goes out to Matu, who relays the information to David, who arrives just in time to distract Fox's Talon from murdering him.  They fight, and David gauges the Talon's regenerative abilities while they do so.  Finally determining that extreme measures are needed, he blows the Talon's arms off by using explosives designed for blowing locks.  When he's congratulated by the politician he'd expressed disdain for earlier, he punches him out, telling Fox that that is how they compromise in Africa.

I'm unfamiliar with Batwing and Batman, Inc., so this storyline is yet again expanding my horizons in that way.  David Zavimbe's depiction as essentially an African, black version of Batman is interesting, and the fact that he works with an organization that essentially supplies gear and upgrades to the Batwing armor gives him (at least in theory) the same access to technology that Bruce Wayne has.  I also like one similarity he has with Batwoman, which is essentially the close immediate assistance of a second party, in this case Matu Ba.  Like Kate Kane's father, he relays information and aide to him essentially in real time, making him by design more of a team player than Batman would be.

David certainly seems to share Bruce's obsession for crimefighting work and defeating opponents.  He's very smart about observing his opponents abilities during their fight, and applies that knowledge liberally to end situations as quickly as possible.  He tests several limits of the Talon's endurance, and finally has no problem blowing off Staunton's arms to end their encounter when he sees how formidable his opponent truly is.  It makes for a familiar feel to a Batman character with a fresh appearance.

Artistically, I think Marcus To brings a steady sense of realism to his depiction of the characters.  He's as good at drawing them in civilian garb as he is at outlandish superhero costumes, and his action scenes are for the most part pretty good.  Occasionally things look a little rushed or minimal, usually during action shots from a bit of a distance, but I can forgive these in relation to the amount of outstanding work in this issue.  Excellent job!

Overall, I enjoyed this outing, and not just because it's another Night of the Owls story--though to be fair, I'm loving this event.  I enjoy the portrayal of Batwing so far, and his intelligence, prowess, and determination.  The action is great, the art is good, and the characters are intriguing.  Definitely a must read for Night of the Owls fans, this story is seriously making me consider adding Batwing to my pull list.  Highly recommended.

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