Man-Bat #1 just found Batman’s most monstrous enemy damaged mentally and physically, putting him in the crosshairs of a dangerous DC team.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Man-Bat #1 from Dave Wielgosz, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Tom Napolitano and Sumit Kumar.
In the DC Universe, it’s tough not to feel at least a little sorry for Doctor Kirk Langstrom, Man-Bat. He’s always been one of the Dark Knight’s most sympathetic villains because of his nocturnal condition, which has led Bruce Wayne to try to help him out on many occasions.
However, Man-Bat #1 sees Langstrom’s monstrous alter-ego end up on the Suicide Squad’s hit-list due to reckless behavior that endangers hundreds of Gotham’s citizens.
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Kirk’s in a bad place as his wife, Francine, has left him due to his addiction to his bat-serum. Even without his wife present, Langstrom tellingly says that he feels whole, as long as he can turn into this creature of the night. And once he can prove to her that he’s a hero, he thinks he can win her back, which leads to a wild night on the town.
A grand opportunity arises when he tries to apprehend a gang stealing a sonic cannon from the Robbins Scientific Facility. Sadly, Batman intervenes and he and Man-Bat tussle for a while. The Caped Crusader doesn’t need Kirk flying around, screeching and causing havoc. After all, the public panics when it sees Man-Bat so Bruce is trying to keep the situation from escalating.
When Man-Bat tackles the criminals, the cannon’s core explodes, causing a sonic boom to rip through the city. Kirk thinks he’s foiled the crime as he passes out, but he finds a lot of collateral damage when he wakes up in the Batcave, where Batman says that he must be taken into custody.
Although Langstrom begs for mercy, Batman can’t afford that luxury. Due to Kirk’s actions, the blast permanently deafened many people, a cruel twist of irony since Kirk was experimenting to cure his deaf sister, Lisa, before his affliction. While Man-Bat is disheartened, things only gets worse, as Batman says he can’t trust Kirk to quell the creature because his cells have been altered. The Man-Bat has mutated to become bat of him, and Kirk no longer needs the serum as he’s turning into the creature permanently. With all faith lost, Bruce hands him over to the cops but he channels the beast and escapes.
The issue ends with Amanda Waller contacted by a senator, and she gladly accepts cleaning up Batman’s mess with her Suicide Squad. She’s got Task Force X training in Belle Reve with Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang and Killer Croc ready. It’s ironic as Man-Bat was hunted by this team in Gotham Underground, and he was a member of the squad in the Injustice 2 prequel comic. This time, however, he’ll need Batman to help out because he’s outnumbered, breaking down mentally and ailing physically, which means he might not be able to put up a proper fight.
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