One of the best things about Judd Winick’s hitherto near-flawless run on Batwing has been his great facility in crafting a meaningful, deliberative lead for the title. David Zavimbe’s Batwing has always been the consummate detective and Judd’s stories have reflected exactly this. With Batwing easily being the most armored, most weaponized member of Batman, Inc., it’s been surprising to time and again find Judd’s stories return to the more cerebral elements of the Batman mythos. Sure Batwing can throw down with the ugliest of uglies, but he can also outthink his foes. But sometimes, sometimes, you just got to grab life by the sequins, as Michael Douglas suggested in Black Rain, and follow where it leads. Sometimes, you just got to find your John Woo moment.
The thing about John Woo, and the very thing that makes John Woo such a compelling frame for looking at Judd’s Batwing, is that John Woo was never about the action. Many imitators have emerged over the years, and many filmmakers who pay actual homage to Woo’s legacy. The popularity of Hong Kong cinema outside of HK is testament to John Woo and his cultural contribution long before it’s testament to a tradition.
The HK cinema we’ve come to love, the HK cinema defined by John Woo, is the high drama of connectedness and the bonds of love, set against the moving backdrop of situations that have lingered too long and have no become untenable, and now need to be brought to an end.
We see exactly these themes play out in Judd’s masterful opening sequence to Batwing #11’s “I See All of it Now”. We see a meaningful connection between fellow Batman, Inc. Batmen Batwing and Nightwing. We see the usualness of taking down a street-gang, albeit, as in this issue, the street-gang is half a world away in Beijing. And we see the joyful camaraderie between the two ‘Wings.
The story thus far, in classic Judd Winick style, as been a long road of detection involving Somali pirates and a perhaps(?) renegade Chinese bioengineer. It’s been the cerebral stuff in other words. But sometimes, when genetically engineered martial artist has taken on the form of a living, breathing Chinese dragon from myth, and he’s come to the streets of Beijing looking to knock off two members of Batman, Inc.… sometimes you just need to get your John Woo on.
Batwing #11 “I See All of it Now” releases this coming Wednesday on the Fourth. Please enjoy your exclusive preview right here.
// Notes from the Road
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