As Lucas Fox has stepped in to take up the mantle of Batwing, his first real mission has him facing Lion-Mane. A giant half-man half-lion beast that has no reservations about killing Batwing in the most brutal way possible. This confrontation is part of a bigger plan, and it seems as if those who employ Lion-Mane have made their way to Gotham and are putting the ones Lucas loves in danger.
Gray and Palmiotti do a great job of giving this book a completely different feel than when David Zavimbe was Batwing. Not that the previous was bad, but this is exactly what needed to happen to make sure we are actually getting something new and not just a replacement character with the same old stories. Lucas is a much different character than David, and his lack of life experience shows. Especially in the fight against Lion-Mane where at one point he shouts “No fair!” after getting mud flung in his face. Palmiotti and Gray also show that Lucas is the more “normal” member of the Bat Family, being that he has a regular personal life. By no means is it perfect, but there doesn’t seem to be that thread of loss and trauma that permeates the other’s lives.
This issue looks as good as it reads thanks to Eduardo Pansica’s artwork. The main fight between Batwing and Lion-Mane is just brutal and bloody. Though the only thing comparable to it was the action that took place in the plane! Everything else is brought together nicely by the colors and inks that help bring Pansica’s work to another level. My only issue with the book is more the character design of the new Batwing costume. It looks too much like an armored Black Panther costume which just doesn’t sit right for a number of reasons.
Only the test of time will prove if Lucas Fox is worthy of the Batwing mantle, but if this issue is any indication then Paliotti and Gray are on the right track. They’re delivering some great comic book fun here, and it looks like things are only going to get better.