Week 4 of Villains Month pretty much has the dregs for Batman villains. We have Bane headlining Batman proper, but got Killer Croc, Man-Bat and Joker’s Daughter in the same batch. Despite being minimally excited about the issue, I was excited to see if Frank Tieri could work the same magic on Man-Bat as he did Penguin, and with Scot Eaton on art, that meant Man-Bat could be poised to be a smash hit in villains month. This is what I liked about the issue.
1. It doesn’t do origin. We already have his origin from Detective Comics, and rather than rehash that, it just picks up right where his story left off.
2. We see him attempt to be a hero.
3. We see his heroics not go so well.
Rating before reading: 6
Rating after reading: 8
Frank Tieri once again blows his book out of the water by making a compelling and interesting tale. In this book he specifically masters the background of the story, and understands just how bad Gotham is without Batman. Once he stops his wife from wreaking havoc on the city, he turns to perfecting his serum. But unlike Francine, he is determined to control the bat persona, and not become a monster. We then see a series of days where Man-Bat becomes a replacement Batman of sorts. He actively tries to be the hero and save the city. Despite his best efforts though, nothing seems to help, so he attempts to continually update his serum to make him better at fighting crime. All this does is make him become the monster he sought not to become, as he is confronted by the police after killing a bunch of muggers. The tale is tragic as Langstrom slowly loses his humanity and becomes a monster.
What Frank Tieri does with this book is make a lesser villain as compelling as ever. Layman has made him as compelling a character as ever, and Frank Tieri only expands upon this, thrusting the door open for an entirely new and different version of Man-Bat. Instead of being your run of the mill villain, Langstrom started out his quest as a hero, and any shred of humanity left in the Man-Bat creature will cling on to this. So now we are left with the question at the very end of the book. Is this new Man-Bat a hero or a menace?
Until the next time,