Getting It From All Sides
I enjoyed this issue, considering we're still establishing the new Batwing's identity. Luke still looks raw, isn't much of a strategist yet (we can see flashes but he's usually wrong, by his own admission), and still has some growing to do. The fight is drawn well, and even made me think of Injustice a little bit (Batman's super move finishes with his opponent being run over by the Batmobile).
Upon returning to Gotham City, we meet Luke's (up until now) girlfriend, Zena Zlenko. She roars with a mama-don't-take-no-mess confidence, and takes Luke to task for his failure to remain in touch during his travels. I like the addition of Zena, but it'll take a while for her to grow on me. I'd prefer a grounding presence in Luke's life; Zena looks like another source of stress. Luke's already something of an unrefined loose cannon. A love interest like this is going to make his focus even worse. Case in point, he's holding a drawing of the Batwing armor when she walks in, no doubt designing upgrades to the suit. He spends the next two and a half pages scrambling after her. And did anyone else notice that her eyes are blue?
The Lion-Mane escape fell a bit flat. He should've just broken loose sooner. Plus, if the Marabunta are there to carry out an execution, the dialogue is pointless. The arm bite was a nice touch, though. :)
As much as I just LOVE all of these brown geniuses (genii?), the 7-year old savant sister is a bit much. I'm going to need Palmiotti & Gray to make her really relevant and useful, and do it in the world's biggest hurry. Tam does a nice job of drawing the line and standing with their dad, so I'm hoping that mom is the grounding presence that Luke needs; maybe she'll be the one person in his life who isn't barking at him. Speaking of barking at him, I like the exchange between Luke and Lucius, but it was too short for me. I want each to see the other's perspective, but still disagree. To me, the best part about family tension is the bond under the surface. Family can hate what you're doing but still love you as a person; without that bond, the characters involved are just enemies.
And the final scene is flat-out creepy. My guess is they don't know that Luke is Batwing; the Marabunta mention Batman, Inc and Wayne to Lion-Mane, so I think they're going after the guy who works for Wayne, i.e. Lucius Fox. Just a thought.
I enjoyed the book a lot, and now I'll see if I go another month without getting the shakes.