After losing their parents to HIV/AIDS, as children, David and Isaac Zavimbe were left to fend for themselves .They soon joined a domestic terrorist organization that utilized child soldiers. David escaped that life, later becoming a police officer in an attempt to reconcile for his sins. Unable to lawfully address crimes in the corrupted city of Tinasha, with a police department just as corrupted, he became a masked vigilante performing random acts of justice. After Bruce Wayne announces Batman Inc., Batman inducts David into his team of batmen as "Batwing".
Batwing was created by Grant Morrison and Judd Winick in reference to a minor character, "Batwings", detailed in Batman #250.
Major Story Arcs
Prior to becoming a police officer and later Batwing, David lived the life of a child soldier. He and his brother joined a domestic terrorist organization that harbored orphans. Ayo Keita, the general of this organization, would rummage the land looking for orphans to manipulate and exploit. Hundreds of homeless children become nothing more than pawns in Keita’s game. The Zavimbe brothers became his favorite pieces. Quick, nimble, and an abnormal talent to kill, they excelled above the rest, quickly becoming Keita’s most coveted soldiers. They were dubbed “The Dragonflies”.
During his reign, Keita's thirst for power and supremacy caused him his life. One particular day he accompanied the Dragonflies on a personal mission to kill his long time rival, General Okuru. When Keita and the Dragonflies located General Okuru, David and Isaac were disgusted that Okuru had surrounded himself with women and children. However, Keita did not care. He ordered the Dragonflies to bomb the entire village. David pleaded to Keita that he could take out Okuru personally, slit his throat, but he and his brother would not kill the women and children. Isaac blasted his gun into the air and gave away their position. Keita could not stand for the insubordination and began to savagely hack and slash at Isaac with a machete. Out of fear, David fled, leaving his younger brother to die.
Later, under the shroud of the night, David captured Keita from his quarters, bonded his hands and dropped him outside of Okuru’s hideout. He fired a shot into the air and fled the scene. After Keita's death was certain, David swore to never kill again and spent his next days walking to The Children's Harbor. Children’s Harbor was an orphanage and child solider rehabilitation camp. David spent the rest of his childhood under the care of the camps owners, Matu Ba and Rene Diallo.
As a child, David’s sins as a solider haunted him in the form of nightmares. He would often leave the rehabilitation camp, performing random acts of justice in an attempt to reconcile for his actions. He would viciously take out his anger, which he had for himself, on criminals throughout the city. In an attempt to calm David, Rene pleaded with him to grow older and be become a cop. She suggested to Matu that, as a police officer, David could channel his anger and deal with crime legally, oppose to vigilantly lashing out at criminals.
Death of Rene
Shortly after becoming an officer, a metahuman calling himself “Death Jack” began to violently attack child soldier rehabilitation camps. In his abnormal attack on the innocent, Death Jack targeted David’s care parents, killing Rene and hospitalizing Matu. Tremendously disgusted and angered, David resorted back to vigilantism. Older, wiser, and a trained police officer armed with nothing but his police baton and a mask, David was able to successfully take out Death Jack and his gang of metahumans. The death of Rene would way heavy on his heart for years to come. Matu would eventually recover, becoming a valuable asset to Batwing.
Years after being a child soldier, David joined the Tinasha police department. While following a case on illegal drug deals, he encountered the drug dealer, Blood Tiger. Knowing that if he performed an investigation, Blood Tiger would simply bribe the other officers to let him go, David commences a self investigation. Dressed as a masked vigilante, wielding his police batons, he shuts down several drug deals. This identity becomes a regular for David while taking out various metahumans. His actions gains Batman’s attention and he is offered an opportunity to join Batman Incorporated. David is blindfolded after being flown to the Batman Inc. Armory in Gotham City. There, he is given access to various gadgets and the batwing armor. David would face off against the global terrorist organization, Leviathan, multiple times. He also lead several investigations with numerous members of Batman Inc.
The Lost Kingdom
The People’s Army was a group of DR Congo citizens, who were frustrated with the injustices perpetrated by their president and the various domestic terrorist organizations that plagued the country. They waged war on the government and the terrorist with the hope that the Kingdom would help them. The Kingdom was a group of superheroes that watched over various African countries. Exhausted from war already, various members of The Kingdom lobbied to not participate in the war as long as the president of DR Congo would resign and leave the country. The Kingdom made a controversial deal with the corrupted president to not help the People’s Army fight against the government. The decision not only caused the disbanding of the team, with various members extremely infuriated with decision, but it also caused the death of 50,000 people. Without The Kingdom, the People’s Army stood no chance against the government and were massacred.
Years later, late returning to the precinct from an investigation, David comes across the slain bodies of his coworkers. Among them is the body of Earth Strike. David is instantly stabbed by a murderous villain who presumes him dead at the scene Earth Strike was one of the prominent voices of the Kingdom that lobbied to not help the People’s Army. It is later found that a new enemy, the blood thirsty Massacre, had butchered Earth Strike and stabbed David. The gruesome attack was an act of revenge against the Kingdom for not doing what they had sworn to do, protect and serve. David goes on to have several brutal battles with Massacre.
Massacre went on to track down several other members of the Kingdom including Thunder Fall, Dawnfire, and Steelback. However, through David’s efforts, Steelback is the only member to survive the attacks, later revealing the locations of the other members. Razorwire and Staff moved to Gotham City. Another member, Deity, abandoned civilization for the wilderness. Enlisting Nightwing, Batgirl, and Robin, David launched an international investigation to find Razorwire and Staff. Unfortunately, they were not found before Massacre could slay them. David’s final bout with Massacre revealed his identity to be his little brother, Isaac Zavimbe.
Night of the Owls
After the gruesome events of The Lost Kingdom, David travels to Gotham to have the batwing armor repaired. There, he meets Batman Inc. member and Wayne Enterprise's CEO, Lucius Fox. Fox immediately begins repairing the batwing armor and out of an act of grandeur, invites David and Matu to a Gotham City Gala. Elsewhere in Gotham, the Court of Owls, a hidden association centuries old, launches a city wide attack on Gothamites close to Batman. Because of Lucius Fox’s involvement with Bruce Wayne, the Court sends a talon for his assassination. After retrieving his power suit, David quickly goes on the offense, exhibiting various styles of martial art and a new special ability of his bat-suit, energy projection.
Batwing and Nightwing
Following the events of the Night of the Owls, David has a run in with Somali Pirates and a Chinese nuclear scientist named Hui Deng. To find out why the scientist was fraternizing with the pirates, David launches an international investigation with Dick Grayson. Batwing and Nightwing’s investigation leads them to Beijing. While tracing Deng’s internet traffic, they come into conflict with the dragon like metahuman, Long, and a group of mercenaries sent by Penguin to erase Deng’s internet thumbprint. A further investigation with Batman reveals that Penguin, with the help of Deng, has sold a metahuman warlord calling himself “Lord Battle”, a nuclear bomb!
Elsewhere in Tundi, one of the wealthiest nations in Africa and Matu Ba's homeland, Matu is attacked by Blood Storm and captured by Lord Battle. His entire family and fortune is taken away from him after Lord Battle bombs the Ba estate. Matu was from a family of wealth and prestige acquired from oil mining. Battle was the President of Tundi. He had plans to cripple various nations and cities by sabotaging their cash crop and natural resources. After destroying the Ba Estate, he directed his efforts toward Nigeria.
Justice League International
After an investigation in China, with Dick Grayson, reveals that Lord Battle plans to nuke a Nigerian oil plant, David heads to Tundi in an attempt to stop the crazed warlord. Knowing that it would be difficult to locate and take out Lord Battle, who has apparently lasted several bouts with Superman, David enlists the JLI along with Nightwing for assistance. Elsewhere, back in Gotham, Batman is able to successfully locate Lord Battle’s fortress by using satellite surveillance. Through a combined effort Batwing, Nightwing, and the JLI are able to defeat Lord Battle.
After several members of the JLI were placed on injury reserve (due to events that transpired in the JLI series) David, along with O.M.A.C., was recruited by the JLI as a roster replacement.
Ancil Marksbury is the spoiled son of Phillip Marksbury, an extremely wealthy industrialist. Ancil is also a psychopathic child rapist. He lures young girls by flashing his wealth and then slaughters them after sexual gratification. David crosses paths with him after arriving to a homicide scene involving the death of a child prostitute. Ancil is cuffed and sent to jail for the murder of the young child. However, he never makes it to prison. This is because the Tinasha police department is one the most corrupted departments in the country. Ancil is able to bribe his way out of jail, paying off the entire precinct and even judges for his freedom. Unable to deal with the situation lawfully, David sends a message to the Marksbury family as Batwing. He eventually arrests Ancil.
Infuriated about his son’s arrest, Phillip Marksbury hires the mercenary, Sky-Pirate, to kill Batwing. David’s armor is destroyed after surviving an attack from the hired merc. By scavenging the parts of the armor, Sky-Pirate was able to denote that the various materials had been purchased by Matu. He would eventually kill Matu not caring if he had killed Batwing or not. Having received his payment, Sky Pirate fled the scene job unfinished. In retaliation, David tracks down Sky-Pirate and blows up his ship, presumably killing him and his entire crew.
Several life events lead David to resign the title known as “Batwing”. He never really knew his parents and his brother grew up to become one of his greatest adversaries. Rene Diallo, his care mother, was mercilessly killed and the assassination of Matu Ba drove him mad. With so much death on his hands, from his stint as a child soldier, the loss of Rene and Matu took a toll on him emotionally. David had failed to protect Matu from Death Jack, Lord Battle, and Sky Pirate. Although many factors played into David’s decision to resign, Matu’s death was the most prominent .
During David’s career as Batwing, Matu became his tech-man. Oppose to flying or shipping the batwing armor to Lucius Fox, Matu would simply repair the armor himself. Growing older, he would shadowed David everywhere. Nurturing him, protecting him, and advising him, Matu became a father to David.
David also felt that Batman's image did not instill fear on a global scale like Bruce Wayne thought it did. He resigned with the intention of still administrating justice, just not in Batman's image.
Powers and abilities
Like Batman, David Zavimbe posses no superhuman abilities. Having honed his abilities as a soldier, his primary skill is marksmanship. The vast majority of David's arsenal, as Batwing, are projectiles fired from his utility gauntlets. However, he is a formidable combatant capable of demonstrating various styles of martial art. Prior to joining Batman Inc. David took down numerous metahumans, with abilities ranging from energy projection to super strength, with nothing more than his police batons.
Weapons and Equipment
Zavimbe has a utility belt but most of his gadgets come from his utility gauntlets.
- Grappling gun: a hook attached to wires fired from the utility gauntlets.
- Tasers: specialized tasers built into the utility gauntlets that can administer a shock to foe.
- Batarangs: thrown projectiles shaped like bats
- Jet Boots: rocket projection boots used in combination with wings to grant flight
- Wings: retractable wings made of fabric and metal, capable of granting flight when used in combination with jet boots. They are also used defensively as shields and/or offensively during combat releasing sonic waves capable of stunning foe.
- Liquid Bandages: a spray that causes liquid to coagulate. Used to stop bleeding.
- Energy Sword: a brightly blue colored beam released from the utility gauntlets. Used to cut and/or ignite flammable liquids.
- Flammable liquids: a flammable liquid released from the utility gauntlets. It is used to dowse something or someone and is then ignited with the energy sword.
- Tranquilizer Darts: armor piercing tranquilizers cable of taking down a rhino. They are fired from the utility gauntlets.
- Incendiary projection: sporadic balls of energy fired from the utility gauntlets. The balls of energy can be charged and/or combined together to increasing the size of the projection.
David Zavimbe's bat-suit is a full body armor. David's entire body, from the neck down, is encased in the armor. It is made of an unspecified metal capable of withstanding small explosions and crushing blows. It is also bulletproof and shock resistant. The cow/helmet of the batwing armor only covers the eyes and ears exposing the mouth, nose, upper forehead, and the entire back of the head. The cowl allows David to hear when fling at high speeds. A mech suit attachment can be used to increase flight speed as well. The armor's later upgrades grant remote control access and hologram projection.