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Batwing: an African superhero for an American audience

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David Zavimbe is a young policeman in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and he harbours a secret. He is Batwing, a member of Batman Incorporated, the Dark Knight’s army of bat-like superheroes spread across the world. Having faced the wrath of rogue generals who recruited him to be a child soldier, he now battles a corrupt police system, as well as Massacre, a machete-wielding super villain hell bent on destruction. With Batman’s guidance, a high-tech bat suit, an underground lair, and a longtime friend Matu, Batwing fights Massacre in his own eponymous series by DC Comics.

Batwing was first introduced within the Batman Incorporated series, and his story follows very closely on themes made familiar by Batman’s own epic battles in Gotham City. Tinasha, the city in DRC where Batwing lives and works, is about as real as Gotham is. Batwing has the largesse of his mentor Batman, just as Bruce Wayne himself has a vast family fortune backing him. Both battle improbable super villains. Both have secret lairs, and both must carefully manage the tension of having real lives within a corrupt system, and alter egos that operate outside of the rules and norms of normal people.

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