Batwing

Batman has gone global. As part of an initiative to fight crime around the world, Bruce Wayne has deputized a team of caped crusaders far beyond the borders of Gotham City. The African representative to this so-called "Batman Incorporated" project is David Zavimbe, aka Batwing, who now stars in his own monthly series from DC Comics. In issue No. 3 (on sale Wednesday in comic book stores and online), the fledgling hero has a brutal face-off with his first arch-enemy, Massacre.

Click here for an exclusive preview of Batwing No. 3.

"Africa is this really rich and beautiful and horrific landscape to draw from in reality," says series writer Judd Winick, perhaps best known as a cast member on MTV's The Real World: San Francisco way back in 1994. "We're trying to get it right as best we can. It is this amazing place where we can tell these amazing stories. You have actual super villains there — that's not even fiction — men who are referred to as warlords, men who kidnap children and put guns in their hands."

The book is set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is grounded in reality, but Winick promises, "This is not a trip to a social studies class. This is a superhero comic. This is a guy flying around dressed as a big metal bat who's beating up other guys wearing ridiculous costumes. So we've taken as much of the education and truth that we can and made it something that fuels our stories."

Batwing is also part of DC's push for diversity in its newly relaunched universe. "We've been introducing more women, more people of color, people of all sexual orientations for a number of years and trying to make that stick," says Winick, a popular DC mainstay for more than a decade who is also writing the company's new Catwoman series. "It's hard, because fans are somewhat reluctant, but it doesn't mean we're going to stop. We have this universe that's full of aliens, people from different dimensions, blue people, green people, orange people, so within the science-fiction diversity we've created, I think we should actually have diversity that reflects our readership."

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