As many of you may (or may not) know, Batwing is a personal favorite character of mine. Now, of course, when I say that I’m referring to the David Zavimbe version of the character who I feel is underrated. I never really liked the Luke Fox version mainly because of the way the transition between the two was handled by the writers of the time. (I will not get into that mess here.) Knowing that this has colored my perceptions of Luke, I thought I would give the character another chance. For the next two months we will be taking a look at this newer member of the Batfam and see what he is made of.
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I could definitely understand this feeling. Especially at the recent development of Luke Fox thanks to writers changing his characterization. Stuff that I myself talked way too much about in other topics.
Let me just say that I have no ill against David Zavimbe because he was a great superhero who I felt brought a lot of complexities to the Batman mythos. An African superhero fighting African war criminals and dictators. I understand the love and recognize his ending was rather bittersweet. Fabrizio Fiorentino cover art didn’t help.
Although when I get to talk about Luke Fox soon, I hope I can at least convince you to love both because in my opinion, both Batwing are really great heroes that have their own unique way at showcasing it.
Covering the first half portion of Batwing but I do recommend the complete Batwing Volume 4 “Welcome to the Family”
I think reading it initially I was really drawn towards the portion of Luke Batwing the aesthetics with how cool the new Batwing looks as well as the action. Batwing #20 has a great introduction as to showcase Luke Fox and to make him distinct hero to us. Writer Jimmy Palmiottio and Justin Grey give this new Batwing a awesome new suit and show him kicking ass. First in the ring as champion fighter and again as Batwing.
Action is great here. Luke is a surprisingly agile fighter, lot of his fights against the Marabunta and the Lion-mane have a lot going on, so it’s good that Luke is also versatile. Fighting not only aggressively but also fighting smart. Using a series of tech and toxins throughout his confrontations with villains.
Luke Fox, in his early years as Batwing behaves nonchalant, overconfident, sarcastic, and sometimes reckless. But he’s also eager and passionate about being hero, enjoying the rush of a fight and appears to have genuine fun at being Batwing.
It’s significantly different from that of David Zavimbe as David time as Batwing was influenced by all the tragedy that came from his past. Luke lacks those complexities and instead we focus on his more family which do inform a lot about his character here and after the Batwing series ended.
The Fox family themselves are a loving family, but being a family of gifted and intelligent people, Lucius has set them up with high expectations in life and it disappoints Lucius who believes his son is wasting away his future as a professional fighter, not knowing he’s actually a superhero helping Batman. Luke is largely seen by him and others as irresponsible as a result, especially when the Marabunta soldiers do a home invasion and kidnap Lucius, and Luke has to look like he is abandoning his family to go save his father rather than be with them.
Luke complicated relationship with his family is compelling because even though he does try to do right by them he often makes mistakes and by lying to them, he inadvertently dragging his name in the mud. It’s a dilemma I found really compelling and relatable in Luke as he really does love his family, but also feels he has to let them down by pursuing his responsibilities as Batwing.
Things that informs a lot of Bat-family heroes like David’s Batwing or Batman himself is tragedy, but with Luke Fox, he shows that you don’t have to be tragic to be a interesting hero. His uniqueness is that he is a selfless hero driven by inspiration alone from Batman and his family connection to him that motivates Luke Fox to be Batwing.
It was a tad more than bittersweet but I really have no desire to get into it here though I do agree that the cover art did not help at all.
I noticed his passion for being a hero on this reading of the early years of Luke’s journey. I don’t think I saw it before in my first attempt because of my sour feelings at the time. I think I stuck around for five or so issues and then dropped the title back then.
Which is exactly why I felt he didn’t need any more tragedy in his life or that tragedy had to be the reason for his giving up the Batwing mantle.