Sunday, August 10, 2014

Batwing #34 Review

Written by: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by: Eduardo Pansica
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: August 6, 2014

A Family Affair

When I look back at Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray's run on Batwing it will be with positive memories.  I'm sure I'll think of the fun stories that dealt with Luke's personal life as well as busting heads in the Gotham night.  Looking at it right now, however, I can only think of what went wrong.  The early part of the run (the part I'll remember fondly) was fun and exciting.  Luke Fox was such a fresh choice to become Batman and his energy was infectious.  Then something happened.  I'm not sure, but I've had a sneaking suspicion that Palmiotti and Gray were "asked" to make Batwing more grim and dark to fit better in with the rest of the Bat titles.  Whoever made the decision, I wish they would have kept their mouth shut.  Gone were the awesome fighting tournaments and fun villains to make way for Menace and Family disaster.  Like Luke says himself in this issue, "It started out as fun and so much bad stuff has happened it doesn't feel worth it."  I just might have to agree.

The first half of this issue deals with Luke and his youngest sister, Tiffany.  It's bittersweet because it's so good.  The two of them are wonderful together and the fact she knows Luke's "secret" makes it that much better.  Tiffany is a little genius, wise beyond her years which plays off Luke's brash immaturity so well.  The two go to a scientific lecture and the odd couple are pretty hilarious.  In a alternate universe, Palmiotti and Gray will continue writing stories with these two as the focus.  I want to be in that universe.

The second half is action packed.  It actually comes off as an intro to Batwing and his abilities which seems odd, but I liked it nonetheless.  He does some detective work, explains his suit and kicks some ass.  The fight is fairly quick and ends with Batwing saving a Family and the day.  Then it just ends.  I hope Palmiotti and Gray wanted such an ambiguous ending and it's not because Batwing is in the current Batman: Eternal run.

An odd ending didn't mean a bad ending, though.  It focused on what I liked about Palmiotti and Gray's run.  It had humor, action and a heart.  Like the villains in the issue pointed out, Batwing went through an identity crisis.  He became too much of a Batman clone, and it took the book's cancellation to get him back to being good old Batwing.

Eduardo Pansica does a really good job this month.  I think his art on this book got stronger as the run went on and this issue is one of his best.  For maybe the last time I've got to point out, you can never go wrong with the Batwing Costume at night.

Bits and Pieces:

Batwing #34 may end a bit too ambiguously for some, but it was a return to what I's like to remember about Palmiotti and Gray's run.  It was a fun family focused issue that shows what might have been.  I was a big fan of this book and will really miss it.


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