Batwing‘s certainly been an interesting book since character Luke Fox took over the Batwing mantle. We’ve seen him act on Batman’s behalf on the global scale, and as we get into his future, the writers are also going to take us back to the past. Next month, Batwing is getting a tie-in to Zero Year, staring Luke Fox as a younger man in Gotham City, roughly six years before the current point in the DCnU. To get ready, Newsrama spoke to Batwing writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray to find out more about a younger Luke Fox before becoming an agent of the Batman. During Zero Year. Batman is just starting out, and while he hasn’t inspired Fox into becoming a hero in his own right yet, Luke has always had the heart of a hero, and it will show in this upcoming tie-in. However, before that, Palmiotti and Gray take time to talk about where Batwing is in the present.
It’s always fun to take characters to exotic locations and Caligula has the coolest island that we eventually find Batwing on and getting to play with a set piece like this, as well as create it, was a blast. The Fish out of water angle is always cool as well because it’s like you are on the adventure with Batwing, discovering a place you both might not be familiar with…Caligula would seem like an odd choice at first, but he’s this kind of gangland criminal with a serious fetish for ancient Rome so it was a lot of fun playing with those elements. Luke is going to encounter the Legionary, Rome’s vigilante and discover that Caligula is in possession of something that makes him extremely dangerous. It is all very James Bond in a lot of ways, but it plays out is a wild direction that makes sense in the Bat Universe. Caligula has access to power on many different levels where Luke is a one-man army in a sense. This all plays out in a spectacular fashion.
In regards to Fox’s suit, it has had it’s tech removed recently in the pages of Batwing. Like Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond, sometimes you have to wonder how much of the effectiveness of a high gadget hero is the suit, or the man wearing the suit. However, like Batman, Batwing is not helpless when it comes to improving his owns suits and gadgets and can compensate for things like this. Luke is bright, resourceful, and is able to come up with his own innovations, leading credence to the idea that Batwing is not just Luke wearing the suit, but a brilliant man who uses technology to his advantage.
…Luke having worn the suit and used it in combat now realizes he needs to make certain modifications. Like any technology, the suit is constantly evolving and upgrading as Luke becomes more familiar with it. Luke is modifying it, but yes, it’s the same design. We hope at some point we can even go further with its shape and look like the covers Darwyn Cooke did for us. The cool thing about Luke being a tech guy is we can keep having fun with the idea that modifying the suit will be a regular part of his life. I like to look at it as someone who loves cars going in and modifying them all the time to get them to work better and to add new things.
Luke is like Dick Grayson in a way. He is a vigilante that goes out at night and scares a cowardly and superstitious lot, but he’s also a young man. He wants to be social, and enjoy his life during the hours he’s not on rooftops or jetting around the world. Luke’s love life isn’t nearly as good as Dick Grayson’s though, but is there a chance for him to be happy in the future? When asked about the future of his romantic endeavors and being happy, Palmiotti and Gray said this.
He has about as much of a chance as the rest of us I suppose. Jimmy and I are dedicated to making Luke a relatable and grounded person regardless of the more fantastic elements surrounding him. A lot of changes are coming in his life so what he thinks he wants might change by what is happening around him. He is a healthy young man and we plan on keeping to what someone his age would want out of life…and love is a part of that.
Batwing has always been a bit of a fringe character to the other Batman titles, but there are plans to bring him more into the fold and tie his connection to Gotham a little more strongly, starting with the Zero Year tie-in, showing us a Luke Fox that’s still in school, and learning martial arts.
…For right now we’re moving Batwing forward and deeper into Gotham and interacting with storylines from the core titles. We have a Zero Year coming up that hopefully develops a nemesis specific to Batwing and another interesting storyline planned for January that we cannot talk about yet…We wanted to tell a story that showed how Luke isn’t a hero because of the suit. Rather than presenting a hero who has to react and essentially become a hero, Luke is possessed of a heroic spirit…He is training in Mixed Martial Arts and going to a private school in Gotham. We show his first encounter with the gang calling themselves the 99% and see that he has more balls than brains at this point. He is also a bit of a wise ass but a good guy at heart.
When asked about what the young Fox will be going through during the tie-in, they summed the story up as this.
Luke as a teenager dealing with some of the same things all kids deal with except he’s somewhat privileged, good looking and popular. The difference is he’s also a good person. He’s not jaded or angry, but his optimism and idealism takes a hit in this issue as he tries to stop a friend from self-destructing.
However, Zero Year will have repercussions for Luke in the present as well. This isn’t just a one off issue to show off a young Fox, so much as it is an opportunity to lay the seeds for new stories, as well as new enemies.
This is an opportunity to develop a nemesis for Luke, someone that ties closely to him and would want to harm him. At some point in the near future we’re going to have this showdown.
So far the writers have covered the past and the present of Luke, so what does the future hold for Batwing for the foreseeable future though?
Action, adventure and tragedy. We’re wrapping up the current storyline in #26 and exploring some more elements present in other Bat books. Luke is heavily invested in Batman’s world through his father and the relationship he has with his family will continued to be strained and under pressure.
Before ending the interview with Newsarama, Palmiotti and Gray had a message for former fans of the comic who had dropped the book or those who have not read it yet
If you haven’t picked up an issue or if you left the series give us another look, we’re offering a different kind of Bat book, but it also ties closely to the core titles that everyone loves. We have action, crazy villains, heartfelt characters and one of the best art teams. If I am speaking to the people that haven’t given the book a try, I say you go out, pick up the new issue and give it a shot. It has what everyone is looking for these days…a smart interesting main character set in the bat universe with amazing art and fun stories. This book is sexy and cool on so many levels.