Comic Book Review – Man-Bat #1 (of 5)

Man-Bat #1 (of 5)

Writer – Dave Wielgosz

Artist – Sumit Kumar

After Marvel Takeover Month and my recent spotlights on some independent comics, I need to show DC Comics some love. This week, I got my shipment from Things From Another World and I decided to read Man- Bat #1.

After Francine Langstrom discovers a vial of Man-Bat serum, she has a discussion with her husband, Kirk about broken promises. She goes to dump it down the toilet but Kirk smacks her and takes the drug back from her. Francine leaves and she won’t be coming back. Kirk knows that he can use his monstrous side as Man-Bat for good. He drinks the serum, transforms into his alter-ego, and takes flight into the night sky. He sees the Blackout Gang in the process of stealing a sonic cannon and goes after them. Man-Bat is in pursuit, until Batman tries to stop him from doing harm to the people of Gotham. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions and by the end of the night, Man-Bat will face the consequences for his failed attempt at being a hero.

I was scrolling through pre-order releases online and the cover to this issue by Kyle Holtz and Alejandro Sanchez jumped out at me. I added it to my cart immediately. Why is the Bat Signal covered in blood? Did Man-Bat kill and eat Batman? Short answer – no! Batman is safe and sound by the end of the issue but Man-Bat is not so lucky. Kirk’s continuous use of his serum is starting to take a toll on his body, and it will eventually kill him sooner rather than later. The underlying metaphor of this issue is drug addiction and the ramifications it has on your body, your loved ones, and those trying to help you curb your destructive habits. A very important lesson and one we haven’t seen in comics recently.

When this miniseries hit store shelves, I thought that a lot of people would pass this over in favor of the Future State books. I’ve talked to people online after reading this book and they have told me how pleasantly surprised they were with the first issue. One friend on Twitter’s response was “it was so kickass man.” Man-Bat is one of Batman’s rogues that is used sparingly, but when featured in battle against the Caped Crusader, always seems to be a hit. I have loved Man-Bat ever since I first saw him on Batman: The Animated Series, voiced by veteran actor Marc Singer. Batman always seemed to be outmatched by this freak of nature, but always triumphed in the end. Check out the episodes “On Leather Wings” and “Terror in the Sky” and you’ll see what I mean.

Can Kirk redeem himself and fix the mistakes he made as Man-Bat and reconcile with Francine before it’s too late? Since this story takes place before Dark Knights Metal and Justice League Dark, we have some idea about Kirk’s final fate. I am still very interested in the outcome and the cameo appearance of some notable anti-heroes that grace the final page of this issue. I have already pre-ordered issue two and I’m looking forward to reading it. Issue two will be released March 9th, 2021 and you can read the solicitation for that issue here.