Batwing number 21 hit the stands this week.
In this series, a new member of the Bat family is followed as he fights crime. Luke Fox, the son of Bruce Wayne’s longtime business partner Lucius Fox, has decided to assist Batman in his ongoing fight against crime.
Unbeknownst to his family, who thinks he is simply a lazy rich kid out traveling, Luke has been sent on a mission from Batman to defeat a monster known as Lion-Mane, who is causing havoc in a big African mine.
The action picks up deep in the mine, as Lion-Mane, has Batwing beaten on the ground. Lion-Mane, overly cocky and sure of himself, tells Batwing of the atrocities he will do to him. This gives Batwing enough time to save himself, as he uses his high-tech suit to to send an electric shock through Lion-Mane.
While the shock temporarily slows down the vicious monster, Lion-Mane recovers very quickly. Batwing attempts to use a heavy duty pepper spray to blind Lion-Mane, but it has no effect and Lion-Mane starts to heavily beat on Batwing.
Batwing continues to rely on his gadgets to win the fight, he throws Batarangs at the monster, but they have little effect as they only knick Lion-Mane. Batwing realizes he cannot win the fight with either pure physicality, or with his gadgets, he has to outsmart the monster, but to do so he has to take some chances. Realizing that Lion-Mane always attacks him head on in a straight line, Batwing lands his first significant blow of the fight when he dodges Lion-Mane and heavily cuts him with the blades on the sides of his gloves.
While fighting Lion-Mane like a matador seemed like a smart idea, it turned out it only enraged the monster further, as Lion-Mane’s speed and ferocity only increased from the cut he received. Lion-Mane is now too much for Batwing to handle, as Lion-Mane holds Batwing to ground while strangling him.
Batwing is down to his last trick, his last hope is summon his Batmobile to him by pressing a button on his suit, by doing so, there will be a slim chance that the vehicle will hit Lion-Mane. Down to his last hope, Batwing summons his Batmobile, and sure enough the vehicle emerges hitting Lion-Mane square in the back of the head while Batwing is left untouched.
With Lion-Mane knocked unconcious, Batwing’s life is no longer in jeopardy. Batman contacts him, letting him know that he saw the whole fight from the Batcave, and instructs him to leave the mine immediately because Interpol is coming to detain Lion-Mane. It turns out that Lion-Mane had been working a criminal organization, and that Wayne Industries is going to use the other company’s criminal activity against them in order to gain control of, and to clean up the mine and the way it conducts business.
Batwing returns to Gotham. He is not welcomed back warmly by those close to him. Thinking he is simply a spoiled rich kid vacationing in Africa, his girlfriend and family treat him with hostility. His girlfriend comes to his apartment to break off their relationship, citing the fact that they never spend time together and the fact that Luke rarely contacted her while he was in Africa. As she is getting ready to drive away, Luke follows her out and attempts to reconcile their relationship. She says that Luke needs to think about whether he truly wants to be with her, or whether he just does not want to be dumped by her. She away leaving Luke to ponder his feelings about. However, it appears that he will have the opportunity to rekindle their relationship if he wants to.
Meanwhile, a mercenary group known as the Marabunta hijack the Interpol plane that Lion-Mane is flying on. The mercenaries break in using their their own high-tech plane that has claws able to break open the exterior of the plane. The Marabunta informs Lion-Mane that they are working for the business man who lost control of the mine to Wayne Industries. They tell Lion-Mane that they have come to execute Lion-Mane for his failure to get the job done. However, Lion-Mane breaks out of his metal restraining devices and promptly, and viciously, kills all of the mercenaries.
Back in Gotham City, Luke Fox has gone to his family’s house, where only his older of two sisters is home, and she informs him that she and her family do not approve of his travels to Africa, which they assume is for leisure, as they do not know that he works for Batman. After a silent dinner, where it is shown that his younger sister is a genius, who expresses that the silence is not healthy, Luke goes to his father’s office, where his father irratingly asks him if he is done traveling and ready to work. Luke cannot answer because Batman calls him, and his father is very upset his son is more concerned about the phone call rather than answering his question. Batman informs Luke that the Marabunta are in Gotham. The final page is Luke looking out his window as the Marabunta surround his house.
Overall, this was a good issue. With Batwing, the Batman universe is able to go in new directions, as he can take on international missions while Batman fights in Gotham. He is also one the first Batman allies to have a stable family situation, and that plays well into the overall story.