In this week’s issue we’ll take a look at Red Lantern and Batwing #2. The main characters about to make some big choices that will shape their futures.
Batwing #2 – Written by Judd Winick, Art by Ben Oliver
David Zamvimbi has just been stabbed in the chest.
Holy hell. THAT was an epic cliffhanger I had to wait an entire month for! Batwing was one of my favorite titles, if not my favorite, from the relaunch, and I’ve been dying to see what’s going to happen next.
It’s not every day your hero is stabbed through the chest and lives to talk about it. I figured it might have been a fake out, he had armor, it wasn’t really him, he was dreaming, but nope. Our hero was actually stabbed straight through the chest and passed out for two weeks.
David is stubborn about wanting to get back out there and hunt down his attacker, Massacre. Despite his wishes, David is still too weak to really get out there.
Massacre left a hint for David, that he might attack a school. Sadly, it’s too late and by the time David realizes this, Massacre is attacking a school where a teacher, a former hero, is left to defend himself, eventually having his arm cut off.
Despite his fragile state, David goes out as Batwing to kick some ass. As soon as he gets into the battle, Massacre proves he might be too tough for Batwing to handle in a drawn out fight, so Batwing vows to make this is a quick fight.
Batwing continues to prove to be one of the best titles in the relaunch and I’m sure I’ll be following it for a long while to come. The issues are fast moving, they have a nice mix of action, exposition and they’re just a feast for the eyes. The art is also really interesting to look at during some of the fights. The final panel shows a shadowed out Batwing ready to kick some ass as fast as he can.
While the first issue gave us a look at the wider community that David has to deal with, this one basically keeps us focused on David, Massacre, and David’s Alfred whose name I have yet to remember so I shall just call him That Guy That Looks Like Samuel L. Jackson for now. There’s a decent balance of character interaction going on in this issue and I don’t think it’s the sort of thing that’s going to stop. This series really seems to be doing a better job than most at balancing out action and the exposition and it will probably end up as one of my favorites if it keeps it up.
Batwing has a lot of things going for it and I think the setting is the biggest aspect of all that. Africa has a long-standing history of having problems with government and violence and war in general. Toss a superhero into that mix and you have the possibilities for a really great story. Of course, on the flip side, it can also be seen as offensive and unrealistic. The struggles in the series so far are mostly localized, so I’m going to hope if/when the scale of the story expands, it’s done so in a realistic manner.
Red Lanterns #2 Written by Peter Milligan, Art By Ed Benes and Rob Hunter
Now, I don’t know too much about the history of the Red Lanterns and I really don’t want to know too much just yet. I’m trying to go into this with a fresh perspective because I really enjoyed the first issue. The second issue is no different.
This issue revolves around a war between two different peoples on a distant planet. One side seems to be easily overpowered and at the end of their means. When they get the chance to attack a group of their enemies, they take it. The only problem is, while these might be members of their enemy’s race, they’re just unarmed kids.
Three children are making a bon fire out in the wilderness. One of the soldiers thinks that they are preparing to attack the aircraft, when in actuallity they are just holding sticks for the fire. This results in them firing upon the defenseless chidren. The other attacker feels remorse for this, never having been sure they should have been attacking in the first place, but his partner tells him to get over this.
Watching are two people, a young girl, the only survivor of the attack, and Atrocitus. Big Red steps in to decimate the attackers, dishing out his own unique form of justice. When only one is left, he tries to beg for his life and tries to guilt Atrocitus into letting him go, but no dice. The man is soon burned alive as the flesh melts from his body.
Atrocitus attempts to comfort the girl in . . . his own odd way, realizing the rage within her might be the perfect energy source for a new Red Lantern. As he returns to the planet where the other Red Lanterns reside, Atrocitus begins to ponder giving sentience to one of his follow Lanterns but hasn’t decided who just yet.
Well now that was awesome. I’m enjoying this series more than most of the other new titles. It’s a series that can be crazy violent at times but also pretty introspective. We’re given an idea of what drives Atrocitus and get inside his mind a little. For as strong as the guy is, he’s definitely got a lot of worries. He’s mostly worried about power and whether or not he’ll be able to lead his Lanterns for much longer.
As I said earlier, I don’t know too much about the history of the Red Lanterns, but I’m enjoying this series so far. We’ve got this really strong and slightly insane character, but he’s presented to us in a way that makes him seem human, almost. He’s still crazy violent and doesn’t mind looking at things in a black and white way. I’m wondering if that mindset will eventually change. The soldier he killed pleaded the fact that his wife and child will be left alone and that will be on the head of Atrocitus, who simply says that it’s his own fault he’s dead.
It’ll be interesting to see who Atrocitus picks as the next Lantern to be able to think. Just going by New Guardians, I’m thinking it might be Beez, but I’m hoping it won’t be that obvious and we find some way of having multiple Red Lanterns thinking and acting on their own.