Batwing #1

Wonderful, a black DC hero with his own comic. He’s not even American, he works in Sub-Saharan Africa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I’m all in favor of diversity in comics and in looking at more of the world than just America or even Europe, but the writer is a white, American man and the artist is a white, British man. While I like the character and I like the idea of “Batmen” all over the world as a part of a large organization that supports one-another, we have a White American sponsoring this hero. I’m hoping the “franchise batmen” show independence and we don’t end up with a comic-book version of “The Help”.

I’m also hoping DC changes the creative team pretty quickly. Winick’s dialogue is alright later in the book, but the fight-scene dialog is pretty cliché, stilted and just plain bad. He’s invented a major city (Tinasha), which I like. We have Metropolis and Gotham and I think they have more fictional weight and versatility than Washington DC (where Wonder Woman is often based). A fake city in a real country always strikes me as more interesting and memorable than a fake country and fake city. I have some hopes for the world building, but I’m hoping it doesn’t end up reading like Mike Resnik’s books about Africa, they always seem a little off.

One potential good point is the reference to the first Superhero team in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: The Kingdom. It consists of 7 heroes, one of whom may now be dead, killed in this issue. Little is revealed about him and nothing about the other 6. The team ended the nation’s civil war and apparently disbanded. If they don’t treat them like throwaway characters, introduced to be killed off, they could be the source of some interesting stories. Even if they are, they could have some interesting stories told from when they were in existence.

It is probably a lot easier to drum up interest in a non-American character by linking the new character to an established, American character and I am pleased they’re trying. I have hopes for this title. One other thing, there are references in this comic and the others I’ve read so far that imply heroes, at least ones with powers, are showing up for the very first time within 5 or 10 years of these comics. That means no Golden Age, no Justice Society, no mentors, no good-will. I don’t know if I like that. On the other hand, maybe it’ll also mean a moratorium on Nazis.

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