Writer: Dave Wielgosz
Artist: Sumit Kumar
With the majority of DC’s titles wrapped up in the Future State cycle right now, I thought I’d check out one that is seemingly a standalone title, offering a break from the madness of the company wide event.
Man-Bat, often treated as a B level member of Batman’s rogues gallery, is one of the most underrated characters in the Batman mythos in my opinion. Terrifying to look at? Check. Vicious? Check. Sympathetic back story? Check. He has it all, so I was excited to check this book out and see what DC did with this interesting character.
The book opened with Kirk Langstrom’s wife leaving him after finding the serum he’d been hiding, realising he was still turning into the Man-Bat. She promised Kirk that his continuous ventures out as Man-Bat would eventually leave him all alone and with no one to love. Despite this, Kirk once again transforms into the creature as he sets out to do some good in Gotham and targets a pair of criminals in the hope of proving himself a hero.
Surprisingly, Batman shows up pretty quickly and tries to take Man-Bat down before anyone gets seriously hurt. This doesn’t quite work and after a brief fight with the criminals, Man-Bat inadvertently causes millions of dollars worth of damage and leaves a number of Gotham’s residents either injured, or partially deaf, a direct contrast to the mission he was once on, to cure the hearing impaired.
He’s quickly captured by Batman, who tells him that his transformations into Man-Bat have deeply effected his body on a molecular level and it’s only a matter of time before Kirk Langstrom is completely destroyed. Kirk eventually escapes his transport to Blackgate and sets off in hope of finding a cure for his condition, but it seems he won’t have an easy job on the run as the book’s conclusion revealed the Suicide Squad are about to come looking for the scientist.
I really enjoyed this first issue and look forward to reading more. The art was gorgeous and Kirk Langstrom is at his best and most endearing when they really highlight his human side and his determination to do good, despite him often failing. The Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde dynamic is an interesting one and offers an exciting new layer to the character which should amplify the story’s intensity.
An often overlooked and underused character, this series is perfectly set up to give us a real good look at Man-Bat and hopefully show new readers why he’s such a great character in the first place.