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Comic Book / Batwing

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Batwing was a short-lived series written by Judd Winick and drawn by Ben Oliver, one of the early titles in DC's New 52 lineup. Spinning out of Batman (Grant Morrison), the series initially followed the exploits of David Zavimbe, the Batman of Africa, as he tried to fight crime in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Later, the series was retooled, and the mantle was taken up by Luke Fox, the son of longtime Batman ally Lucius Fox.

Not to be confused with Batman's plane.

This series contains examples of:

  • Alternate History: In the New-52 universe, the Second Congo War ended in 2001, when The Kingdom drove dictator Masika Okura out of the country. The cost, however, was steep; 50,000 people died in the final battle, and The Kingdom made the decision to allow Okura to flee the country in exchange for his ordering his troops to stand down.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: During Batwing's team-up with Nightwing, Matu cheerfully regales Dick with stories about David's awkward teenage years.
  • Amoral Afrikaner: The corrupt and powerful Marksbury family are never explicitly identified as Afrikaners, but given that they're rich white people who are said to own half the land in Africa, one could probably draw the inference.
  • Batman Gambit: This being a Batman-related book, naturally Batwing pulls one of these off. Fed up with the constant corruption in the police after they allow a rich white heir to get away with murder, he lets slip that a witness has identified the heir, causing the crooked cops to search for the witness, enabling Batwing to flush them out into the open.
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  • The Big Guy: Lord Battle is massive, and strong enough to go at least three rounds with Superman.
  • Child Soldiers: David and his brother Isaac were both forced to serve as child soldiers in the Army of the Dawn. They managed to escape, but while David managed to pull his life together, Isaac... didn't.
  • Covers Always Lie: How did David actually stop being Batwing in issue 19? He simply retired and Bruce was understanding. How did the cover depict it? It's the current page image: a badly-wounded David on the ground with a sinister-looking Batman and Luke Fox standing over him with the tagline "A Hero Falls".
  • Dark and Troubled Past: David and Isaac Zavimbe lost their parents at a young age to HIV/AIDS, then got drafted as child soldiers in the Army of the Dawn. They escaped, eventually, but they both still struggle with the after-effects.
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  • Darkest Africa: When the series was focused on David Zavimbe, this trope was very much in play, with Batwing fighting criminals in the Savannah.
  • Death by Origin Story:
    • Besides losing his biological parents, David also lost his surrogate mother figure, Renee Diallo, when a metahuman warlord attacked the Children's Harbor. The same incident also cost Matu Ba one of his eyes.
    • The villain Father Lost became an orphan when his parents died from HIV/AIDS. Unlike David, he avoided falling in with a militia, but was instead taken in by an old woman who gave him mystical abilities.
  • Dirty Cop: Tinasha is rife with them. That the terrorist organization Leviathan has placed a number of its operatives in the local government does not help things.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Earthstrike was able to control the earth.
  • Electric Black Guy: Thunder Fall, a member of the Congolese superhero team The Kingdom, can shoot blasts of electricity out of his hands.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Lord Battle rules Tundi with an iron fist, but once Batwing literally removes him from the country, the land rapidly begins to wither, as he and the land are connected to one another. Afraid to see his people starve and die, Lord Battle agrees to step down and face imprisonment for his crimes, as long as he remains imprisoned within Tundi so that it will live.
  • Fisher King: Lord Battle and his country, Tundi, are completely dependent upon one another. Separate them, and both will die.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: As Batwing tries to clean up the Tinasha police, he quickly finds himself falling out of favor with his fellow officers, who do not appreciate seeing their bribes and kickbacks dry up.
  • Mirror Character: Both Father Lost and Dawn share elements of their backstories with David. Like David, Father Lost was an orphan whose parents died from HIV/AIDS, and like David, Rachel was a child soldier. Unlike David, though, neither Lost nor Rachel managed to let go of their anger over their respective pasts, and it drove Lost to become a fanatic, and drove Dawn to become a vigilante, and then a mercenary.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: One of Lord Battle's enforcers, Sniper, has four arms, all of which are holding guns.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: In the New-52 universe, the modern Democratic Republic of the Congo was previously ruled by a dictator named Masika Okura before 2001. It's not clear if he overthrew Laurent-Desire Kabila (the real-world dictator of the DRC at that time) beforehand, or if Kabila ever reigned to begin with.
  • Plagued by Nightmares: David Zavimbe has spent most of his adult life haunted by nightmares of the things he did as a child soldier. The same is true of Rachel Niamo, who becomes the mercenary Dawn.
  • Powered Armor:
    • Both David and Luke rely on a suit of powered armor to enhance their natural abilities.
    • Steelback of The Kingdom was a normal man who relied upon a tank-like suit of armor for combat.
  • Retool: After eighteen issues following David Zavimbe, the series suddenly switched to following Luke Fox, the son of longtime Batman ally Lucius Fox.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The Marksbury family owns a significant portion of Africa, and their money has kept Ancil, the murderous son of patriarch Phillip, out of jail, even as the bodies keep piling up.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The twelfth issue ends with the introduction of a new villain, King Shadow, who is supposedly orchestrating events in the background, with a plan to take over all of Africa. However, whatever plans Judd Winick had for him went out the window after Winick was replaced by Fabian Nicieza halfway through the "Finders of the Lost" arc.
  • White Sheep: Matu Ba hails from a family of Nigerian oil barons, one of whom became a Governor.