By Koppy McFad
April 5, 2009 - 01:23
This one-shot story is part of the whole "Battle for the Cowl" storyline running across the Bat-related DC books. Virtually everyone who was ever connected to Batman is getting these one-shots, even those who aren't in contention for the 'mantle of the Bat.' Maybe Ally Babble and Aunt Harriet will be next.
Actually, the Man-Bat story seems shoe-horned into the whole "Battle of the Cowl" storyline. Kirk Langstrom wakes up, discovers his wife is missing and learns of Batman's supposed demise. He goes off into a city now wracked with violence as criminals take advantage of Batman's absence. Eventually, Kirk finds his wife, battles another Batman-villain and discovers something horrible about his condition, setting up a new status quo for our hero/villain.
The story is entertaining enough as it makes Kirk Langstrom and Man-Bat more sympathetic while not losing sight of his/their huge flaws. There is a look into Langstrom's fragile mind and a cameo by the Outsiders which acknowledges the Langstrom's most recent appearances.
The art is a bit scratchy, sometimes making it hard to tell what is happening. Modern artists have to find a better way to make a story look dark and menacing instead of just resorting to overuse of shadows and lines. But the artist does give us a very expressive Man-Bat, unlike other depictions which have made the character look like just another monster.
DC Comics has had a problem deciding what to do with Man-Bat. He has been a reluctant hero, a plotting villain and a mindless monster. He had a mini-series that was seemingly wiped from continuity almost as soon as it was published. Obviously this new Kirk Langstrom isn't going to be the new Batman. But maybe they can finally make him the 'right' Man-Bat.
Rating: 6.5 /10