DC Comics has been celebrating Black History Month by highlighting the work of Black creators. Alongside the Milestone Comics publications, DC has released several books for young adult readers, including collected editions such as Batwing: Luke Fox. In the beginning, the title of Batwing belonged to a Congolese crimefighter, David Zavimbe, who was a member of Batman Incorporated. After Zavimbe decided to forge his own path, the mantle passed over to Luke Fox, son of Wayne Enterprises CEO Lucius Fox. A competent MMA fighter and a brilliant engineer, Luke became an instant hit among fans. Batwing: Luke Fox collects Batwing #19 – 34 and Batwing: Futures End #1 from the New 52 run, chronicling Luke Fox’s adventures.

Batwing: Luke Fox, written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti with artwork from Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira, highlights the fan-favorite character as Luke Fox spreads his wings under the tutelage of Batman. His first mission takes him to Africa, where he faces off against the Marabunta mercenaries and their ferocious boss, the Lion Mane. His actions draw the attention of Seclorum, a sinister organization that uses heinous methods to harm him. With the help of the Legionary, Batwing apprehends Seclorum’s leader, Caligula, bringing him to justice. His most challenging trial comes when his long-lost friend and now archnemesis, Russell Tavaroff, comes back from the dead and abducts his sisters. This sets off a chain reaction of fatal events, taking the final confrontation to the underground society beneath Gotham City.

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When writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti brought the character of Lucas “Luke” Fox to life, they aimed to provide an antithesis to the Batman conundrum. Most superhero origin stories often begin under tragic circumstances or when the moral obligations of having powers become too much. For Luke, protecting his city and its inhabitants is second nature. The Batwing persona lets him explore his limitations and go beyond them. Batwing: Luke Fox has a smooth narrative focused on action-driven storytelling with first-person narration boxes peppered throughout. As the story jumps from one explosive event to the next, Luke begins to learn from his mistakes and take an active hand in mending his relationship with his family. Gray and Palmiotti overuse the same tropes and gimmicks but craft a memorable start to a heroic journey that results in the Bat-family adding a prospective leader to their ranks.

Batwing: Luke Fox‘s artwork fits the swashbuckling, fast-paced tale perfectly. From bare-knuckle combat with metahumans in a Roman arena to a high-voltage chase through the numerous levels of Gotham Underground, the artwork forms the crux of the storytelling. Eduardo Pansica’s pencils give the figures a dynamic shape, while Julio Ferreira’s crisp inking provides a detailed backdrop to the panels. However, the artwork lacks depth due to the lean form of the lines. Paul Mounts is one of the many talented colorists who contributed to this run. His use of alternate color tones to light the nighttime environment accentuates the animated nature of the book, giving the pages a glaze.

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Batwing: Luke Fox chronicles the trials and tribulations of Lucas “Luke” Fox as he goes deeper into his crimefighting venture. As Luke spends more time in his Batwing suit, it creates a rift with his family, who find him irresponsible. Instead of getting disheartened, Luke makes a serious effort to rally his family up during tough times. Here is where Batwing differentiates himself as a character from his mentor. He understands that to keep his family safe, he has to be present with them. As his enemies get bigger in scope, Luke learns that it is the man who makes the suit and not the other way around. An enthralling read from start to finish, Batwing: Luke Fox is here to shatter antiquated stereotypes.

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