Lost and Found
Batwing is a book with a whole lot of potential and not a whole lot else going for it right now. Just this week, I started reading the original run of DCNU, “The Kingdom,” and it seems to be a very solid and entertaining story, but this current “A Hard Turn” story arc focusing on Father Lost? It’s just not that good. There is hope, however. The old writer was Judd Winick, but he has moved on to other projects and handed the reigns over to Fabian Nicieza, a writer I very much enjoyed through his excellent work on Red Robin. Does Nicieza manage to find some sense in this current plotline, or is this arc a lost cause?
In this issue, it’s all about the battle as Batwing takes on the psychic cult leader Father Lost.
Hope Shines through the Cracks
I was hoping to be blown away by Fabian’s work on this issue, but I realized my hopes might be a bit high. Even if Nicieza has great ideas for this character, he was somewhat limited by the previous issues in this arc. It is not as if he can start fresh with his own story; he has to continue where Winick left off…which was a somewhat tedious starting point.
Was I blown away? No, but I do think there are hints of better things to come.
The main thing that intrigued me in Nicieza’s presentation of the character is that he seems to be painting him as a guy very torn between his nature. David wants desperately to do good, but he has a lot of anger which he must keep in check. We get an idea of this because we get to actually see David’s thoughts in this issue which is actually a huge relief. For some reason, Winick seemed reluctant to let reader in to David’s head, but Fabian knows how to write some inner monologue, and I feel like I got a better impression of who David is in this issue than I have in any previous issues.
Batwing’s fight with Father Lost was well scripted. The whole thing is a little awkward because it was utterly foolish for Batwing to try and take Father Lost head on when Batwing knows he is susceptible to mind control, but that scenario was created by Winick, and I Nicieza did the best he could under the circumstances.
As one last bit of hope, Fabian seems like he is trying to build at least one promising subplot centered around Kia.
Better Is Not Good
This issue is definitely better than the last, but it still is not particularly good. I am hoping that most of this is due to Winick’s poor setup, but regardless of the reason behind it, this issue was just okay.
As I already mentioned, the fight with Father Lost was kind of stupid. Batwing already knew what would happen with taking on Father Lost in a straightforward manner, so why didn’t he come prepared? Heroes being mind controlled rarely makes for an entertaining story, and though Matu’s intervention kept this issue from becoming a repeat of the last, it still made for a mediocre and overly convoluted battle.
Father Lost himself was a rather lackluster character. We find out in this issue the who the ambiguous “she” is that Father Lost keeps mentioning, but she turns out to be just some crazy hag who had similar powers and taught Father Lost how to use them. His motivation seems to be nothing more than a slight variation of “I am evil because I am evil. Bwa, ha, ha!” and I’ve seen enough of those kinds of villains to last me a lifetime.
I Am Not To Disappointed
I was hoping to see a reunion of Marcus to with Fabian Nicieza since those two worked together on the Red Robin series, and I, with my poor artistic sense, was disappointed that Marcus To was not really providing his usual quality of work on this issue, but I then realized that Marcus To has moved on, and we now have a new artist, Fabrizio Fiorentino. (by the way, how awesome is that name? It sounds noble. I am count Fabrizio Fiorentino!) When looking over the issue again not expect To’s work, I was actually quite pleased. Fiorentino has a different style than To, but it is very nice in its own way. The new colorist, Pantazis, also does an excellent job giving the book a very vibrant look, and he uses different color schemes to give each scene its own feel.
I wanted this issue to be great, but it is just okay. If you are a fan of the series, then you should definitely pick this one up, but if you are on the fence, skim through it in the store first. I have high hopes for this new creative team, but I think the script was limited by the previous issues in this arc. We will see what the new team can really do next month.
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