Issues #3 and #4 of Batwing take some time off the present-day Massacre plot and to show David Zavimbe's years as a child soldier.
4 pages from Batwing #3:
David and Issac's skills (they prove to be excellent trackers) make them invaluable to the warlord Keita. Eventually they discover where Keita's enemy, Okuru, is hiding. From Batwing #4 (which also has an artist change, from Ben Oliver to ChrisCross):
Issac gives away their position so the village won't be destroyed. After Keita and his soldiers escape he beats Issac for his insubordination while David watches; Issac fights back, and in the struggle Issac ends up falling off a nearby cliff and presumably dies. The other soldiers think they ought to kill David as well, since he's of 'no use' without his brother, but David escapes.
Then he comes back.
David dumps Keita in an open field where Okuru will find him, and leaves.
I haven't always enjoyed the writing on this title, as it has a tendency to become overly dramatic and repetitious, but that last line just breaks my heart.
Overall I still like Batwing but certain things are bothering me - mostly that the ideas I'm most interested in aren't really being explored...at least, not yet. The Kingdom and its members are largely cannon fodder, and there isn't much done in the way of actually tracking down Massacre and having to deal without the resources a detective in, say, America, would be used to. Basically, Batwing just fights Massacre after arriving at a crime scene too late to save anyone. :/
Also, the level of violence and gore is excessive. After Batwing #4 I'm really hesitant in recommending the title to others because it graphically depicts a child being beaten, then falling off a cliff. I understand that when dealing with the issue of child soldiers you shouldn't gloss over the abuse they must suffer, but the way in which it was shown was awful. I didn't post the pages here but I think it would have been possible to keep most of the 'action' off-panel and convey the scene less graphically.
I'm sticking with the title but I hope it gets out of the VIOLENCE VIOLENCE VIOLENCE mindset it displays at the moment.