David has been "Africanized" by DC Comics. His parents both died of HIV/AIDS while he and his brother were very young. They were kidnapped from the orphanage where they lived by General Keita, and press-ganged into his Army of the Dawn – a fictional militant group echoing the very real Lord's Resistance Army – as child soldiers. Both David and his brother showed an exceptional talent for taking lives, which saw them gain quick prominence in General Keita’s army as assassins. After an assassination attempt goes wrong (David and his brother are required to execute an entire village of women and children to get to the enemy general inside of it) and the brother is killed by General Keita, David escapes to a rescue center for former child soldiers before eventually making his way to the DRC police force.
As a series, Batwing is gripping and well-paced. Even though Batman himself is largely absent, the introduction of his African associate to the DC universe shouldn’t present any challenges to comic book fans. It was a bold move by DC Comics to introduce an entirely separate series on an “African Batman,” given the suspicion which Western popular culture evokes in certain parts of the continent. We all have the exploitative and reductive portrayal of Africa in the West to thank for that.
The tradition goes back years: Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness portrays ivory trader Mr Kurtz as a Dionysian genius who lives as a demigod among simple natives in the Congo. Machine Gun Preacher opened in South African theatres a few weeks back, leaving a distinctly bitter taste in African mouths. Once again a saintly Westerner has ridden in from the dust to save bloodthirsty Africans from themselves.