Monday, May 12, 2014

Batwing #31 Review

Written by: Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by: Eduardo Pansica
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 7, 2014

Living on a Prayer

I like fights.  Do you like fights?  If so, then I have an issue for you.  Batwing #31 is a knock down drag out brawl between Luke and Menace.  Yes, we get some family time with the Fox Family as well, but this issue is dominated by fists...and kicks...and maybe a forearm shiver mixed in as well.  But is it any good?

If you have been reading Batwing then you pretty much knew what to expect when you opened issue #31. Batwing versus Menace in the "Throwdown in the Gotham Underground".  For those not reading, Menace is a childhood friend of Luke's that has gone bad.  Real bad.  As in, he turned Luke's oldest sister into a vegetable and then kidnapped his little sister bad.  Luke has been tearing through the Gotham Underground in search of him and in turn his sister.  Well, he's found Menace.

The fight is epic.  It's brute force versus acrobatic ingenuity and it seems like it's brute force's day to shine. Yes, Luke does a number on Menace the likes of which I haven't seen since Batman Inc. #13, but Menace just laughs it off, literally.

While they are fighting, we get to see what the rest of the Fox Family is up too.  Lucius and his wife, Tanya, are caring for their daughter, Tam.  Some may find it distracting or extreme, but I think it does a good job to of showing what Luke is fighting for.  Of course he's also fighting for his sister, Tiffany, who shows she isn't a helpless little girl.    A letter opener and a plea for a bathroom break get her free of the Rat Catcher, but for how long?

The big brawl continues until Luke knocks Menace into the water below the Underground and a familiar friend returns to finish the job.  However, in a Jason Voorhees moment, we see that the fight may have only just begun.

I'll admit it, I haven't been a huge Menace fan.  He seems like Bane-lite and this issue doesn't really change that.  However, I have enjoyed this arc.  The reason, Luke Fox.  In particular, his fight to maintain his humanity while everything around him falls apart.  Yes, it's very similar to the Light Side vs the Dark Side, but I don't mind that at all.  It falls apart in this issue, though.  Menace is no longer his friend, Russell.  Not even a little bit.  Luke says so himself.  It feels like Luke has been given carte blanche to do whatever he wants with no remorse.  Yes, he doesn't deliver the final blow himself, but he might as well have.

I  have heard grumblings over the religious overtones in the book.  I didn't mind it at all.  To be honest, I actually liked it.  It shows that those involved feel helpless and are trying to grab at what helps them most.  If it brings up more family scenes and character development, bring it on.  Anything for a good story.

As far as the art goes this week, I loved it.  Eduardo Pansica really nails it.  Everything looks stellar and you can feel every punch and kick.  

Bits and Pieces:

Batwing #31 is a non-stop action fest that looks great, but falls a little short for me.  I have enjoyed watching Luke Fox struggle between becoming a killer and a Bat Hero in the face of tragedy.  This issue throws that out for a big brawl.  Mind you, it is a pretty epic brawl, but one with little to no consequences (or real ending).  I really want more people to read this book because as a whole, it is great.  However, this is not the best issue Palmiotti and Gray have given us.


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