Welcome to Character Profiles! This is our first post in this series with many more to come. We will be covering heroes from many Marvel, DC, Valiant, Image and others. We hope you enjoy the series and if you do, check back with us again.
CHARACTER PROFILES: BATWING
Publisher: DC Comics
Created by: Grant Morrison (Batman, Action Comics, Final Crisis) as the first Black Batman and expanded the DC Universe by taking place in Africa.
First Appearance: Batman Incorporated #5 (May 2011)
Real Name: David Zavimbe.
Occupation: Democratic Republic of Congo Police Officer in Tinasha, Congo.
Group Affiliations: Batman Incorporated, Justice League International
Skills and Abilities: Adept martial artist, skilled detective, strategist and tactician, high-tech battle suit, weapons and gadgets (as a member of Batman Inc. he’s fully funded by Bruce Wayne). Battle suit enables flight with its wings and propulsion system.
History: When David Zavimbe was just a boy, both of his parents died of HIV/AIDS and he and his brother Isaac were put in an orphanage. But shortly thereafter, as happened to countless other young boys in that region, the warlord General Keita and his Army of the Dawn forcefully recruited young David and his brother, Isaac as soldiers in a war that was ravaging their country. As it turns out, David and Isaac were born for the life of a soldier. They out shined all the other boys with their strategic and tactical skills. They were born killing machines these skills earned them a nicjname among the soldiers and their general Keita, “Dragonflies”, and were quickly promoted to the General’s elite fighting men. They followed orders well and killed who they were ordered to kill with absolute precision, but not without limit. One day they were ordered to kill an entire village and burn it to the ground just to kill one man that General Keita hated. David and his brother, Isaac, refused to kill innocent women and children. But they were still willing to kill the man. David and Isaac tried to get General Keita to let them sneak in and slit his throat but General Keita refused vehemently. Seeing no other option, David fired a couple shots into the air, warning Keita’s rival that they were there. Hearing the shots, General Keita’s rival was able to quickly muster his men and fired back at the Army of the Dawn’s men and eventually drove them off. Once they were away and safe, the Congolese warlord, Keita, confronted David for his insubordination. Just as things were about to turn physical, Isaac hit General Keita on the back of his head with a rock. This infuriated Keita and he pulled out his machete and went after Isaac, slashing him several times as David ran away. Later that night, David sneaks into Keita’s tent while he is sleeping and drugs him. Keita wakes up outside his enemies camp, still intoxicated by the drugs David had given him earlier. David again fires of a couple rounds into the air and leaves General Keita there. David swore he would never kill the General or anyone else again but he wouldn’t stop Keita’s rival from doing it. David makes his way to an orphanage for the former child soldiers of the ongoing war in the country. He eventually grows up to become a police officer for the corrupt Democratic Republic of the Congo in Tinasha, Congo. But he retains his convictions about law and justice, refusing to get on the take with the rest of his fellow officers. He does his beat to maintain order and protect and serve the people, not to get rich off of them. Enter Batman. Batman chooses David to join Batman Inc. and be Batwing, the Batman of Africa! It was in this position that David finally saw his brother Isaac again, but it was not as he had hoped, Isaac had become the mass murderer known as Massacre, and David was forced to take him down – though it was not easy, emotionally or physically.
Batwing is easily in my top 10 favorite heroes of all time. I also think that David Zavimbe’s backstory and personality are so hardcore they make Bruce Wayne’s like look like a Care Bears Special. I mean, imagine what that must have been like. He lost both parents to HIV/AIDS. That’s hard enough to deal with. Then he lived in an orphanage – I can tell you orphanages are not a place of respite. Then General Keita comes in and recruits him and his brother as soldiers. Don’t just read over that. We’re talking about children, little boys, being given AK-47’s and being forced and brainwashed into killing. if that ain’t hardcore I do not know the meaning of the term. I think that virtually anybody else would have let this childhood embitter and corrupt them. And no one could blame them if that is what they chose to do. But David Zavimbe didn’t do that. In fact he went to the opposite extreme and became incorruptible, educated…he became Batwing. That is why I love this character.
As for reading suggestions on this great character I have 3:
Batwing vol 1: The Lost Kingdom
Batwing vol 2: In the Shadow of the Ancients
Batwing vol 3: Enemy of the State
Sources include Wiki and DC Comics.