Man-Bat

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Man-Bat

Cover to Man-Bat (vol. 3) #3 (August 2006)
Art by Mike Huddleston
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #400 (June 1970)
Created byFrank Robbins
Neal Adams
In-story information
Alter egoRobert Kirkland "Kirk" Langstrom
Team affiliationsSecret Society of Super Villains
Supporting character ofBirds of Prey
Notable aliasesRobert Kirk Langstrom
AbilitiesFlight
Echolocation
Enhanced sight and hearing
Superhuman strength, agility, and endurance
Man-Bat
Series publication information
ScheduleMonthly
Format(vol. 1) Ongoing
(vol. 2) Limited series
(vol. 3) Limited series
Genre
Publication date(vol. 1)
January – March 1975
(vol. 2)
February – April 1996
(vol. 3)
June – October 2006
Number of issues(vol. 1) 2
(vol. 2) 3
(vol. 3) 5
Creative team
Writer(s)(vol. 1) Gerry Conway, Martin Pasko
(vol. 2) Chuck Dixon
(vol. 3) Bruce Jones
Artist(s)(vol. 1) Steve Ditko
(vol. 2) Henry Flint
(vol. 3) Mike Huddleston
Colorist(s)(vol. 2) Eduardo Barreto
(vol. 3) Lee Loughridge
 
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Man-Bat

Cover to Man-Bat (vol. 3) #3 (August 2006)
Art by Mike Huddleston
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #400 (June 1970)
Created byFrank Robbins
Neal Adams
In-story information
Alter egoRobert Kirkland "Kirk" Langstrom
Team affiliationsSecret Society of Super Villains
Supporting character ofBirds of Prey
Notable aliasesRobert Kirk Langstrom
AbilitiesFlight
Echolocation
Enhanced sight and hearing
Superhuman strength, agility, and endurance
Man-Bat
Series publication information
ScheduleMonthly
Format(vol. 1) Ongoing
(vol. 2) Limited series
(vol. 3) Limited series
Genre
Publication date(vol. 1)
January – March 1975
(vol. 2)
February – April 1996
(vol. 3)
June – October 2006
Number of issues(vol. 1) 2
(vol. 2) 3
(vol. 3) 5
Creative team
Writer(s)(vol. 1) Gerry Conway, Martin Pasko
(vol. 2) Chuck Dixon
(vol. 3) Bruce Jones
Artist(s)(vol. 1) Steve Ditko
(vol. 2) Henry Flint
(vol. 3) Mike Huddleston
Colorist(s)(vol. 2) Eduardo Barreto
(vol. 3) Lee Loughridge

Man-Bat, is a supervillain who appears in comics published by DC Comics, usually as a supervillain and adversary of Batman, though occasionally depicted as a heroic character. He first appeared in Detective Comics #400 (June 1970) and was created by Frank Robbins and Neal Adams. Man-Bat was the star of his own eponymous series in 1975–1976,[1] which lasted two issues before being canceled.

Biography[edit]

Dr. Kirk Langstrom, a scientist specializing in the study of bats, develops an extract intended to give humans a bat's sonar sense and tests the formula on himself because he is becoming deaf. The extract works, but it has a horrible side effect: it transforms him into a hideous man-sized bat.[2] The serum also takes away his intelligence, so he goes on a mad rampage until Batman can find a way to reverse the effects.

Later, Langstrom takes the concoction again, and Man-Bat returns. He also coaxes his wife, Francine Langstrom, into drinking the serum, and she goes through the same transformation, becoming She-Bat. Together, they terrorize Gotham City until Batman can once again restore them.

On some occasions, Langstrom takes the serum and retains enough intelligence to work for the forces of good. During one of these periods he works with the detective Jason Bard. On another occasion, in Action Comics #600, Jimmy Olsen inadvertedly puts Superman into a cave occupied by Man-Bat to protect him from Kryptonite radiation that had reached Earth following the explosion of Krypton. Man-Bat calms the maddened Superman and then summons Hawkman, who helps Superman overcome the radiation.

Kirk and Francine have a daughter, Becky, and a son, Aaron. Because of the effects the serum had on Aaron's DNA, he is born with a deadly illness. Francine turns him into Man-Bat form to save his life. This occurred in issue three of the Man-Bat mini-series by Chuck Dixon.

Infinite Crisis and beyond[edit]

Man-Bat is sighted in Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains during the events of the 2005–2006 storyline "Infinite Crisis".[3]

In the aftermath of that storyline, both Kirk and Francine are shown to be alive in the 2006 "One Year Later" storyline. In Batman #655 (September 2006), Talia al Ghul ties up and gags Francine, and then threatens to poison her if Kirk does not give her the Man-Bat formula. After Langstrom gives her the formula, she releases Francine as promised. Talia utilizes the mutagen to turn members of the League of Assassins into Man-Bats.

In Gotham Underground, Man-Bat is apprehended by the Suicide Squad.[4] He is one of the villains seen in Salvation Run.[5] Francine has appeared in Batman and the Outsiders, serving as the team's technical advisor, and her assistant Salah Miandad operates the "blank" OMAC drone known as ReMAC. In issue #10 of that series, Kirk appeared, seemingly healthy and also aiding Francine.

In the 2008 miniseries Final Crisis, Man-Bat has been turned into a Justifier and was shown attacking Switzerland's Checkmate Headquarters.[6]

During the 2009 "Battle for the Cowl" storyline, following Batman's death, Kirk is haunted by nightmares of becoming Man-Bat and killing his wife. When Francine disappears, he takes the serum and tries to follow her. After an altercation with the Outsiders, he returns to his human form and is captured by Doctor Phosphorus, who reveals the serum is not necessary to trigger the change. Kirk discovers that Phosphorus has also captured Francine, and becomes Man-Bat to save her.[7]

During the 2009–2010 "Blackest Night" storyline, Francine tracks down Kirk (as Man-Bat), having created a cure, and revealed that Kirk's next transformation would be permanent if he did not drink it.[8] Kirk attempts to take the cure, but his Man-Bat persona will not let him. Just as Kirk is about to drink it, Francine is wounded in the crossfire of the battle between Black Lantern Solomon Grundy and Bizarro (the latter of whom is already at the scene, trying to prevent Kirk from taking the cure). Distraught at Francine's injuries, Kirk transforms into Man-Bat, seemingly permanently.[9]

In Batgirl (vol.3), Man-Bat is seen under the control of the Calculator as a techno-zombie.[10]

In "Collision" storyline of Red Robin, following Red Robin's actions against Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins, the latter attempts to murder people related to the Bat-Family. Man-Bat, following Red Robin's orders protects Julie Madison, a former lover of Bruce Wayne, against Ra's al Ghul's assassins.[11]

The New 52[edit]

In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), the majority of Kirk Langstrom's history is rebooted. The Man-Bat serum first appears in Detective Comics #18 (May 2013). However, various Man-Bats, not Kirk Langstrom, have appeared throughout Batman, Inc (vol. 2) under the control of Talia al Ghul in her plot to destroy Batman. It is later explained that Talia al Ghul had an agent steal the serum from Langstrom's laboratory to use on her soldiers.[12] Ignatius Oglivy also comes into possession of the Man-Bat serum which he uses as an airborne virus to spread throughout Gotham City.[13] In Detective Comics #19 (June 2013), Kirk Langstrom first appears where he and his wife Francine are escorted by Batwoman to Batman's location. Langstrom reveals that he is the creator of the serum intending to help deaf people. Taking responsibility as the creator of the serum, he uses a sample of the serum Batman had obtained to inject himself. This creates an anti-virus which also spreads through the air. Unfortunately, Langstrom is turned into a Man-Bat (the last remaining Man-Bat) as his anti-virus cures the remaining citizens of Gotham.[12]

Langstrom re-appears in Batman Inc. (vol. 2) #10 (June 2013) apparently giving Batman the serum. He claims to be working on an aerosol antidote to the serum as well.[14]

The backup feature of Detective Comics #21 (August 2013), focuses on Langstrom and his wife. After reverting from the Man-Bat form, Langstrom becomes addicted to the Man-Bat serum, taking it every night. However, he apparently does not remember his actions from the night, worrying that a string of reported killings is his fault.[15]

During the Forever Evil storyline, Man-Bat is among the villains that were recruited by the Crime Syndicate of America to join the Secret Society of Super Villains.[16] Scarecrow and Man-Bat attempt to steal the frozen Talons (assassins that are associated with the Court of Owls) from Blackgate while Penguin is having a meeting with Bane. Bane arrives at Blackgate as Man-Bat and his fellow bats are attempting to transport the Talons to Mr. Freeze and is able to keep one from leaving.[17]

Powers and abilities[edit]

By taking his bat-gland formula, Kirk Langstrom can transform himself into a bat-like creature. By taking an antidote he can return to human form.

As Man-Bat, his strength, agility and endurance are all enhanced to super human levels. Kirk possesses an extra set of digits that form leathery bat wings that allow him to fly, super-sensitive hearing, and a natural sonar. He emits high-pitched sound waves and can hear the echoes they make when they bounce off nearby objects, enabling Man-Bat to navigate perfectly in pitch black darkness.

If in Man-Bat form for a prolonged time, he loses control over his animalistic side and works purely on instinct, making him prone to harm friend and foe alike.

Other versions[edit]

Countdown to Final Crisis[edit]

In Countdown to Final Crisis: The Search For Ray Palmer, an alternate version of Man-Bat was shown. He is from Gotham by Gaslight (Earth-19), and has experimented with bats similar to his mainstream counterpart. He is later defeated by Blue Beetle and Batman.

Flashpoint[edit]

In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Man-Bat is killed by Miranda Shrieve the granddaughter of Matthew Shrieve.[18] In the flashback that Man-Bat was invited by Lt. Matthew Shrieve to be the new member of Creature Commandos, but Man-Bat then betrays him, killing his family.[19] It is revealed that Man-Bat had been working with General Sam Lane who is responsible for the deaths of Miranda's family.[20]

JLA: The Nail[edit]

In the Elseworlds story JLA: The Nail, a captured Man-Bat makes an appearance in Professor Hamilton's Cadmus Labs.[21]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Man-Bat as depicted in Batman: The Animated Series.
Man-Bat in The Batman.

Film[edit]

Video games[edit]

Toys[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Thanks to his appearances in Detective Comics and Batman, Man-Bat's popularity soared to the point where writer Gerry Conway and artist Steve Ditko launched the [character] into his own series." 
  2. ^ The DC Comics Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2004. p. 194. ISBN 0-7566-0592-X. 
  3. ^ Infinite Crisis #7 (June 2006)
  4. ^ Gotham Underground #1
  5. ^ Salvation Run #2 (February 2008)
  6. ^ Final Crisis #4
  7. ^ Battle for the Cowl: Man-Bat #1
  8. ^ Superman/Batman #66
  9. ^ Superman/Batman #67
  10. ^ Batgirl (vol.3) #10-#11 (July 2010-August 2010)
  11. ^ Red Robin #12 (July 2012)
  12. ^ a b Detective Comics #19 (June 2013)
  13. ^ Detective Comics #18 (May 2013)
  14. ^ Batman Inc. (vol. 2) #10 (June 2013)
  15. ^ Detective Comics #21 (August 2013)
  16. ^ Forever Evil #1
  17. ^ Forever Evil: Arkham War #2
  18. ^ Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #1 (June 2011)
  19. ^ Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #2 (July 2011)
  20. ^ Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #3 (August 2011)
  21. ^ JLA: The Nail #3
  22. ^ Ramey, Bill "Jett" (2005-07-28). "Interview: Lee Shapiro". Batman-on-Film. Retrieved 2006-11-13. 
  23. ^ http://batman-on-film.com/interview_lshapiro.html
  24. ^ Game Informer features a two-page gallery of the many heroes and villains who appear in the game with a picture for each character and a descriptive paragraph. See "LEGO Batman: Character Gallery," Game Informer 186 (October 2008): 93.
  25. ^ Man-Bat[dead link]
  26. ^ "Super Friends #28 - (comic book issue)". Comic Vine. 2008-06-06. Retrieved 2010-12-29.