Saturday, September 05, 2009
No good character should go to waste in comics, and Man-Bat certainly is a potentially good character. He has also seen an enormous amount of activity in recent years, but this is a villain that seems constant victim, neither victim nor hero.
Man-bat dates from a time (1970) when Batman's lack of super-powers made him less interesting than his super-powered counterparts - in an age when comics were about the conflict and not the character. Man-bat was born of the question, "What would a super powered Batman be?"
Kirk Langstrom developed a formula to give him bat-powers, partially in self-internest and partially to aid Batman. It all went horribly wrong as he was unable to control his animal impulses when exhibiting the bat-powers. But he has as often been a bat-ally as a bat-nemesis. (If this is ringing any bells with anyone - think Lizard)
But Langstrom's lack of control when being the Man-bat has lead to all sorts of baddies trying to control him, and the power potential of the transformed person has lead to them trying to get the formula as well. It just sort of conjures all sorts of pity for the character, but never a real "WOW" factor. I mean who is the bad-guy here, Langstrom or the formula - or the people that try to exploit either? Sure is fascinating to look at though.
The story that I am unaware of, but fascinated by the possibility, is Batman being tempted by the formula to take the power. Batman clings to his absolute humanity as a life line. What could tempt him to abandon it? And why at the cost of such hideous disfiguration? Could Langstrom, by his experience with the formula save Bruce Wayne from its clutches, thus earning his ultimate redemption?