James 'Jimmy' Santini was a twelve year old boy who went with his father to a business trip to investigate possible illegal chemical dumping in the Carlsbad Caverns. His father died in the caverns and Jimmy stayed alive by consuming whatever he could find, including chemically tainted water. He was rescued and return back home to his mother. Jimmy began to mutate into a bat creature and his mother called him a demon and partially blamed him for his father's death. Jimmy ran away to New York and caught the attention of Spider Man when Batwing's search for food scared Councilman Cherryh and his date. The councilman offered a $25,000 reward for Batwing's capture and Spider Man agreed to help Cherryh. Spider Man stood watch while Cherryh staged a party to lure out the creature. Batwing swooped down from the sky and the guest began to panic. Cherryh told his bodyguards to shoot down the batfreak but Spider Man intervened and prevented his men from killing Batwing. Spider Man followed Batwing as he retreated under the piers and discovered that he was only a kid. Batwing gave Spider Man a diary that explained his origin and why he ran away from home. Spider Man offered his help but Batwing freaked out and told Spidey that he was not safe and was afraid to get cut up by scientist. Jimmy broke through the pier but was captured by Cherryh's men. Spider Man webbed his men before they can shoot Batwing which allowed Jimmy to escape and find a new place to hide.
Batwing was created by Kurt Busiek and Pat Olliffe in 1995 and first appeared in Untold Tales Of Spider-Man # 2.
Major Story Arcs
Spider-Man in the Old Days
Spider Man would befriend Jimmy and supply him with various goodies like canned goods, fruit and candy bars in his new hideout around the rooftops of Lower Manhattan. Spider Man asked Jimmy if he could take him to Reed Richards for help but the young boy was too afraid. Spider Man's persistence paid off and was able to convince Jimmy to meet with Dr. Curt Connors. They were able to get a blood sample from Jimmy and discovered that his mutagenic factors in his blood were reacting positively with the test serum. Jimmy was so excited that he spooked Dr. Connors and the serum entered his bloodstream when he cut his hand. The serum transformed Connors into the Lizard and he attacked Jimmy. Spider Man saved Jimmy and the Lizard escaped into the sewers. A few days later, Spider Man returned to Dr. Connor's lab and produced a batch of the antidote. Batwing helped Spider Man look for the Lizard and discovered on a radio report that their was a break in at the Reptile House. The Lizard released the reptiles into the sewer system and had plans to use his serum to create a super army to crush humanity. During the fight, Jimmy pleaded with the Lizard not to kill his only friend and called Connors daddy. The Lizard was reminded of his son Billy and began to slowly change into his human form. Spider Man dumped the antidote into the Lizard's mouth and it completely reverted Connors to his human form. Connors believed he could cure Batwing and the two of them head to Florida in search of a cure.
Jimmy would return to New York and attack Spider Man. Jimmy tells Spider Man that one must die, either him or the web-head. Spider Man shoots his web into Jimmy's eye and escapes. Parker calls Connors and discovered that Jimmy's condition began to deteriorate and he still continued to mutate the past few months in Florida. Connor's injected him with a serum that should have returned him to normal but Jimmy's psychological state prevented him from reverting to human form. Jimmy escaped and believed he will always be a monster, a freak that doesn't deserve to live. Spider Man finds Jimmy at the East Bay Fish Market in Brooklyn and tries to help him. Batwing tells Spidey that Jimmy is dead because his momma say...Jimmy is dead to her. Batwing wanted the police to come so they can kill him but Spider Man tries to protect his scared, frustrated friend. Jimmy's mother rushed to the scene after she heard about the incident on the radio. She tells Jimmy that she was so sorry and that she was wrong for blaming him for his father's death. She tells Jimmy that she loves him and they would find a way to be a family again. Once Jimmy overcame the psychological trauma of being rejected by his mother, he returned to human form and reunited with his family.
The serum that should have cured Jimmy was temporary because he eventually mutated back into Batwing. Jimmy's speaking ability has vastly improved and he can speak in a clear, concise manner like any human being. Jimmy decides to join the Initiative because they may be able to help him with his transformation. Jimmy comes to Camp Hammond and is a new class recruit along with Prodigy, Sunstreak, Annex, Gorilla Girl and Emery Schaub. Jimmy befriends Emery on the bus and tells him the reason he joined the Initiative is because they might be able to help him with his mutation. Jimmy and the rest of the guys get restless in their barracks and decide to sneak out of camp. They steal a vehicle, disable the cameras and make it to the beach so they can drink beer. The rest of the guys decide to hit the water while Emery and Sunstreak stay behind. Sunstreak attempts to kiss Emery but he gets uncomfortable and takes off with their ride. Emery is stopped down the road by members of the Initiative that include Taskmaster, Yellowjacket, War Machine and Constrictor. Jimmy and the rest of the gang are impressed that Emery takes the blame and doesn't snitch on his friends. Jimmy and the rest of the crew witness their fellow Initiative members being attacked by a group of super criminals that include Mr. Hyde, Cobra, Mauler and Firebrand. Their initial target was Taskmaster because a bounty was placed on him. Jimmy and his friends decide to help and all the criminals are eventually apprehended.
Batwing and his fellow recruits would battle the Skrulls in New York during the Secret Invasion. After the Skrulls have been defeated, Tigra is assigned by Valerie Cooper to pick up an unregistered superhuman kid named Reptil because he has a skill set that could help locate a villain named Stegron. Tigra goes to Sparks, Nevada with Batwing, Komodo, Prodigy, Sunstreak and Cloud 9. A brief scuffle ensues when Reptil is struck by Prodigy and Batwing tries to carry him off. Reptil uses his powers to force Jimmy to drop him but Humberto Lopez stops fighting when he sees Cloud 9 and realizes these are the good guys. Humberto is trained by various members including Batwing, who teaches him aerial maneuvers. Jimmy tells Humberto that the Initiative provides an opportunity for people with powers to make a difference in the world and to remember one important lesson...always expect the unexpected. Their first confrontation with Stegron in South Dakota was a failure and Batwing carried off an unconscious Humberto before he gets trampled by Stegron's dinosaur army. They would tackle Stegron again in Wyoming and defeat him with great teamwork.
Members of the Initiative including Batwing would fight Ragnarok, the clone of Thor when it was activated. Jimmy would graduate from training camp and be assigned to the Shadow Initiative. The Shadow Initiative was no longer covert ops and consisted of Initiative members deemed expendable. This group was the first wave of Initiative members to assault a prison in the Negative Zone called 42 after it was taken over by Blastaar and his army. This group acted as cannon fodder to soften up Blastaar's forces before sending in the big boys to clean up. Batwing would survive the assault and continue to serve with the Initiative.
Batwing and the rest of the Shadow Initiative were confined to their quarters when the Avengers Resistance raided Camp HAMMER and battle the Hood and his crew. The Hood would use the Norn Stones to upgrade the powers of his crew and things started to look bad for the Resistance. Penance took down two guards and broke out of his quarters. Batwing, Butterball and Bengal heard the commotion and Penance asked them to come with him if they were sick of being used as cannon fodder. The tables were turning against the Resistance until reinforcements arrived with Batwing and the rest of his friends. They quit the Initiative and Penance removed his helmet to reveal himself as Robbie Baldwin to the rest of the Resistance. Batwing joined the fray and restrained Outback in the air while Ultragirl smacked him around. The Hood received a distress signal and was forced to leave with his Brooklyn crew. Batwing and the rest of the Resistance continued to fight the remaining foes that were left behind at Camp HAMMER. Loki would retrieve the Norn Stones and all of the villains that received power upgrades from the Hood would lose their magic. Batwing and the Resistance took down the remaining villains and HAMMER agents. Norman Osborn is defeated and taken to jail. The President of the United States would appoint Steve Rogers as the new man in charge and his first act is to have the Superhuman Registration Act thrown out. Batwing would come to Butterball's hometown of Morganton, NC and plan to replace the U-Foes who Osborn assigned to protect that state during the Fifty States Initiative. So far Batwing and Butterball are the only members and looking to recruit new members for their team.
Commander Steve Rogers informs Prodigy of the unknown meteors that have fallen from the heavens and mass panic is on the horizon. Rogers asks Prodigy to gather heroes on a volunteer basis to help keep the peace and lead a new Initiative where there is no forced conscription or registration. Prodigy agrees to become the leader of the new Initiative and most of the former Initiative members including Batwing gather in Washington DC.
Powers & Abilities
Batwing had extreme physical characteristics and abilities of a bat during his first mutation. He possessed enhance agility, strength and speed. He also had wings that enabled him flight and razor sharp claws and fangs. He also used echolocation that worked like active sonar to navigate and to identify environment and prey. Batwing was more animalistic and feral during his first mutation.
Jimmy consumed a serum that temporarily cured him for a few months. However, he reverted back to Batwing but resembled more of a human than bat and could speak in a clear, concise manner.
Batwing appears in an alternate future of the Marvel Universe, J immy's power eventually returned and following the death of his mother, Jimmy was unable to cope with the grief. Jimmy turned back towards the church and eventually became a catholic priest but finding ways to punish the guilty as the legendary Jersey Devil. Recently, Jimmy had his cross stolen by a group teenagers who then lost the cross when they ran into two mobsters that were trying to finish off Spider-Girl. Both Batwing and Spider-Girl were caught in a brief fight when Spider-Girl picked up the cross and Batwing saw Spider-Girl as the thief. After the fight, Jimmy returned to normal and picked Spider-Girl up and dropped her back in Midtown.