Being an event that took place during Zero Year, you really didn’t know what to expect from this story. All you knew was that it took place in Luke’s past before he donned the name Batwing. In fact being a Zero Year tale you really wouldn’t have expected much of it though this story packed a punch in terms of having that emotional drive.
The biggest fear when you were introduced to Russel was that this would be another generic tale about a kid being bullied. For much of the story it went exactly that way, not to say there was anything wrong with that. In fact what it did was show the type person that Luke is. Having that same heroic attitude that got him noticed by Batman in the first place. The drive that allowed him to become a part of the Bat Family. But getting back to Russel, you like that he didn’t end up like every other “victim” in his situation. He crossed the line, ruined his life, and for him there really was no turning back.
The message set across was of the most importance. Constantly emphasizing that life isn’t fair and not to become the victim. Something which Russ twisted into his own interpretation and that is what set this story apart from others. The team of Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira really set the mood for this story as there was nothing to feel excited for. It was sad and gloomy as well.
This was a story that has been told a million times over, yet the collaborative work of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti turned this into something unique to Luke. This was basically his first enemy and villain. Not that it was ever his intention to have one, but circumstance put him into this position and it was handled well enough that you want to see Russ come back for his vengeance.