|First appearance||Detective Comics #400 (June 1970)|
|Created by|| Frank Robbins|
|Alter ego||Robert Kirkland "Kirk" Langstrom|
|Team affiliations|| The Society|
Legion of Doom
|Supporting character of||Birds of Pray|
Enhanced sight and hearing
Man-Bat (Dr. Robert Kirkland "Kirk" Langstrom) is a fictional comic book character appearing in books published by DC Comics, usually as a supervillain and adversary of Batman, though occasionally depicted as a heroic character. He first appeared in Detective Comics #400 (June 1970) and was created by Frank Robbins and Neal Adams. Man-Bat was the star of his own eponymous series in 1975–1976, which lasted two issues before being canceled.
Dr. Kirk Langstrom, a scientist specializing in the study of bats, develops an extract intended to give humans a bat's sonar sense and tests the formula on himself because he is becoming deaf. While it works, it has a horrible side effect: it transforms him into a hideous man-sized bat.
The serum also takes away his intelligence, so he goes on a mad rampage until Batman can find a way to reverse the effects.
Later, Langstrom takes the concoction again, and Man-Bat returns. He also coaxes his wife, Francine Langstrom, into drinking the serum, and she goes through the same transformation, becoming She-Bat. Together, they terrorize Gotham City until Batman can once again restore them.
On some occasions, Langstrom takes the serum and retains enough intelligence to work for the forces of good. During one of these periods he works with the detective Jason Bard. On another occasion, in Action Comics #600, Jimmy Olsen inadvertently puts Superman into a cave occupied by Man-Bat to protect him from Kryptonite radiation that had reached Earth following the explosion of Krypton. Man-Bat calms the maddened Superman and then summons Hawkman, who helps Superman overcome the radiation.
Kirk and Francine have a daughter, Becky and a son Aaron. Because of the effects the serum had on Aaron's DNA, he was born with a deadly illness Francine turned him in to Man-Bat form to save his life. This occurred in Man-bat mini-series issue three, by Chuck Dixon
Man-Bat was sighted in Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains during the events of the 2005–2006 storyline "Infinite Crisis".
In the aftermath of that storyline, both Kirk and Francine are shown to be alive in the 2006 "One Year Later" storyline. In Batman #655 (September 2006), Talia al Ghul ties up and gags Francine, and then threatens to poison her if Kirk does not give her the Man-Bat formula. After Langstrom gives her the formula, she releases Francine as promised. Talia utilizes the mutagen to turn members of the League of Assassins into Man-Bats.
Man-Bat is apprehended in Gotham Underground and is one of the villains seen in Salvation Run. Francine has appeared in Batman and the Outsiders, serving as the team's technical advisor, and her assistant Salah Miandad operates the "blank" OMAC drone known as ReMAC. In issue #10 of that series, Kirk appeared, seemingly healthy and also aiding Francine.
In the 2008 miniseries Final Crisis, Man-Bat has been turned into a Justifier and was shown attacking Switzerland's Checkmate Headquarters.
During the 2009 "Battle for the Cowl" storyline, following Batman's death, Kirk is haunted by nightmares of becoming Man-Bat and killing his wife. When Francine disappears, he takes the serum and tries to follow her. After an altercation with the Outsiders, he returns to his human form and is captured by Doctor Phosphorus, who reveals the serum is not necessary to trigger the change. Kirk discovers Phosphorus has also captured Francine, and becomes Man-Bat to save her.
During the 2009–2010 Blackest Night storyline, Francine tracks down Kirk (as Man-Bat), having created a cure, and revealed that Kirk's next transformation would be permanent if he did not drink it. Kirk attempted to take the cure, but his Man-Bat persona would not let him. Just as Kirk was about to drink it, Francine was wounded in the crossfire of the battle between Green Lantern, Solomon Grundy, and Bizarro (the latter of whom was already at the scene, trying to prevent Kirk from taking the cure). Distraught at Francine's injuries, Kirk transformed into Man-Bat, seemingly permanently.
In Collision, following Red Robin's actions against Ra's al Ghul, the latter attempts to murder people related to the Bat-Family. Man-Bat, following Red Robin's orders, took part protecting Julie Madison, a former lover of Bruce Wayne, against Ra's al Ghul's ninja.
Powers and abilities
Countdown to Final Crisis
In Countdown to Final Crisis: The Search For Ray Palmer, an alternate version of Man-Bat was shown. He is from Gotham by Gaslight (Earth-19), and has experimented with bats similar to his mainstream counterpart. He is later defeated by Blue Beetle and Batman.
In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Man-Bat is killed by Miranda Shrieve the granddaughter of Matthew Shrieve. In the flashback that Man-Bat was invited by Lt. Matthew Shrieve to be the new member of Creature Commandos, but Man-Bat then betrays him, killing his family. It is revealed that Man-Bat had been working with General Sam Lane who is responsible for the deaths of Miranda's family.
In other media
- In Batman: The Animated Series, Dr. Kirk Langstrom (voiced by Marc Singer) is a zoologist at the Gotham City Zoo. In this series, Langstrom also has a wife named Francine. He first appeared in "On Leather Wings", where he steals a serum at the chemical labs. Batman recovers a strand of hair from the lab, and takes it to Dr. March (Langstrom's father in Law) to be anlyzed who tells him that is only from a brown bat. but shortly, Batman discovers that March is lying and travles to his lab. On the same night, Langstrom drinks the serum, when Batman arrives to question him—revealing Dr. March as the thief of the serum from the chemical labs. Langstrom tells Batman that had discovered a chemical that created a new species that was neither man or bat, which he started taking, but could not control it. Langstorm reveals to Batman that the creature is in him and he transforms into a half-man, half-bat creature, and turns on Batman. Francine arrives at the lab and discovers that the creature is her husband. After a battle across the Gotham City skyline, the Man-Bat is knocked out and taken back to the Batcave. Batman manages to flush the formula out of Langstrom's system, and he is returned to his wife. Langstrom next appears in "Tyger, Tyger" where he analyzes the chemical that Dr. Emile Dorian used in his experiments. In the episode "Terror in the Sky", Langstrom is having a dream that he transforms into Man-Bat, and he begins to commit crimes. Then, Langstrom is awakened, just to find the remains of the fruit and scratches from a rag. Then, as Francine decides to go to another city due to Langstrom's inability to control the power of the Man-Bat, he then discovers that the other Man-Bat turns out to be Francine herself, accidentally exposed to an alternate man-bat serum. In the end, Batman cures Francine, and she returns to her husband.
- When Batman: The Animated Series was revamped into The New Batman Adventures, Man-Bat never appeared in the new show. However, the Man-Bat's alter-ego (Kirk Langstrom and Francine Langstrom) did make a cameo in Bruce Wayne's wedding in the episode "Chemistry".
- In Batman Beyond, a new trend called "splicing" involved fusing together animal and human DNA. The new Batman (Terry McGinnis) ends up captured by the leader of the splicers, Abel Cuvier aka Chimera, and is injected with vampire bat DNA and ends up resembling Man-Bat. He is later turned back to normal by Wayne.
- In the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Doomsday Sanction", Professor Milo mentions that Dr. Langstrom's research has proven useful to his experiments splicing together human and animal DNA for Project Cadmus. This ended with a disaster when a mutated warthog was mentioned to have destroyed his lab.
- Man-Bat also appears in The Batman. In this series, Dr. Langstrom (voiced by Peter MacNicol) is an employee at Wayne Enterprises doing research on bats and apparently afflicted with albinism as well as being more of a Mad Scientist. When Bruce Wayne begins to cut off his project, Langstrom tells Bruce that he needs the project to cure his niece's deafness. When Bruce discovers that Langstrom is lying, he goes to Langstrom's office to discover the project's real purpose. Langstrom arrived in his vault to find his boss there; he admits that he created the formula so he could be feared like Batman, and drinks a serum, transforming him into a half-man, half-bat creature. He attacks Bruce at his office, and escapes. Bruce changes into Batman and confronts Man-Bat in the skies of Gotham City. They land on the ground, and Langstrom reverts back to his human form. To be safe, Batman destroys one of Langström's vials. Langstrom drinks the remaining vial, transforms back to Man-Bat, and kidnaps Detective Ethan Bennett. Batman confronts Man-Bat in a sewer, and Langstrom reverts back to his human form, and he is taken away to Arkham Asylum. In "Pets", Langstrom is still in Arkham and trying to recreate the Man-Bat serum, while the Penguin finds a sonar device he wants to use to control a large condor but ends up with a sonar designed to control bats. When Penguin uses the device, dormant remnants of the Man-Bat formula still inside Langstrom reawaken, transforming him to Man-Bat and instinctively leading him to the Penguin's hideout, as he continues repeating the line: "Come to me." With the sonar device, Penguin is able to use Man-Bat to do his bidding for him, returning him to his human form by saying "rest". Langstrom is furious with Penguin when he learns that Penguin plans to use it to turn Langstrom from human to a half-man, half-bat creature for his own gain, and promises Penguin that the minute he loses the sonar device, he will feel Man-Bat's wrath. At the docks, Batman confronts Man-Bat, and, using his own sonar device, induces a reversion back to his human form. Langstrom and Penguin are both taken back to Arkham. Langstrom returns in "Rumors" as one of the many villains captured by the vigilante Rumor. He was shown in his human form and later in his Man-Bat form, implying he has full control over his transformation. Langstrom made one last appearance in "Attack of the Terrible Trio", no longer a villain and renouncing the Man-Bat name. Batman charged Langstrom with creating an antidote for his own mutagen that some college students (who are the show's version of the Terrible Trio) had stolen from him and were planning on infecting the entire student body with.
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Last Bat on Earth!" Batman travels to the future to stop Gorilla Grodd, who is now leading the apes. When Batman goes into the Bat-Cave with Kamandi and Dr. Canus, he encounters humanoid "Man-bats" that, like the rest of the humanoid animals, can talk. Batman and Kamandi manages to drive them out after he defeats their leader. They later assist him in an all out war against the apes, having gained respect for the Dark Knight.
- Man-Bat was considered as an antagonist in one of the unproduced scripts for a third Joel Schumacher Batman film. He was due to be played by Mark Linn-Baker.
- In the Super Nintendo game The Adventures of Batman & Robin, Man-Bat is one of the bosses. In this game, he speaks; although in the show, he never spoke in Man-Bat form.
- Man-Bat is a boss and playable character in Lego Batman. He is an enemy of Batman and follower of the Penguin. In the game, he possesses super strength and the ability to glide using his wings. In the Nintendo DS version, Man-Bat is an unlockable character through the "Villain Hunt" minigame.
- Man-Bat appears in DC Universe Online.
- Man-Bat has made several appearances as an action figure as part of Hasbro's Batman: The Animated Series and Dark Knight lines, Mattel's The Batman line, DC Direct's Arkham Asylum line, Art Asylum's minimates line, and the HeroClix line.
- Man-Bat is also one of the action figures from the line, Secret Files 1: Batman Rogues Gallery. The Man-Bat version of this is the brown skinned/fur with green pants.
- An unproduced prototype figure of Man-Bat for Kenner's Super Powers Collection was unearthed after the line's cancellation.
- Man-Bat was also featured in Mattel's DCSH line. The brown version was scheduled for series 8, but was dropped and replaced by Catwoman. A white version of Man-Bat was featured as a San Diego Comic Convention exclusive in packaging designed by Frank Varela of Mattel Toys. It was revealed at the 2009 New York Comic 'Con that the brown version is now scheduled for Mattel's DC Universe Classics Wal-Mart exclusive series 10, which is available now.
- In issue #28 of the Super Friends comics, Man-Bat made an appearance as one of the 5 foes that the Super Friends battle.
- In The Batman Adventures (a comic series based on Batman: The Animated Series), another Man-Bat was formed when Dr. Stefen Perry stole the Man-Bat serum from Langstorm. He was defeated by Batman and arrested by the police. In issue #21, Kirk Langstrom was later forcefully transformed into Man-Bat and recruited by Dr. Emile Dorian who hoped to use his assistance to form a "House of Dorian" with a mutated Catwoman, Anthony Romulus's Werewolf form, Tygrus, and Man-Bat.
- In the original broadcast version of the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Terror in the Sky", Batman States "The hell it isn't", When Langstrom protests his innocence at willingly becoming the Man-Bat a second time. Later broadcasts and the DVD release were changed to "The devil it isn't".
| Shared codenames: Batman • Robin • Batwoman • Batgirl • Huntress • Nightwing|
Villains: 2-Face-2 • Bane • Black Mask • Calender Man • Catwoman • Clayface
Character names: Ace the Bat-Hound • Bat-Mite • Helena Bertinelli • Stephanie Brown • Cassandra Cain • Tim Drake • Barbara Gordon • Dick Grayson • Betty Kane