This week, DC Comics kicked off a new limited series set pre-Future State/Death Metal. Manbat 1 kicks off a five part series that follows Kirk Langstrom’s fall from humanity to human/bat hybrid. This is not an origin story. It’s more like a fall from humanity story in the same way a story follows an addict from normalcy into darkness.
A palindrome is a word that is the same spelled backwards or forwards. Examples of a palindrome are mom, civic, racecar. Either way they spell the same word, but what about names? Could Bat-man be the same as Man-bat? This first issue actually dives into that question.
Manbat 1 – Fall From Grace
Dr. Langstrom started his research with the best intentions. He hoped to help people, like his sister, who suffered from hearing loss. In the process he created a serum that transforms him into a half man, half bat creature with incredible power. The problem comes when the animalistic natures override the human compulsions and transform him into a night terror.
He falls in love with a woman named Francine. She brings out the best in him and he quits using the serum…for a time, but as is the case with addictions, they often rear their ugly heads again and again. his continual use drives Francine away, but Kirk thinks she will come back when his work succeeds.
As Manbat, Kirk sees himself as a twin and ally to Batman and his vigilante work, but as we all know, Batman does not take kindly to interlopers. Manbat attempts to stop a group of high-tech criminals, but he fails. The Blackout gang escapes after a sonic gun explodes, hurting dozens and causing millions in property damage. He tried to be like Batman. What is so wrong with that?
Manbat 1 – Delusions
Batman captures Manbat and gives him a formula that reverts him back to Kirk Langstrom. Batman gives Kirk the bad news. The serum mutated his DNA and Kirk will slowly transform into Manbat – permanently. Kirk, however, refuses to give up his notion that he is a hero like Batman and his work will unlock a cure. He will save millions and Francine will return to him when he proves himself.
Does any of this sound like another problem? In so many ways this series starts off as a story about an addict. His addiction does not drive him to sex, drugs, or violence. Instead Kirk’s addiction drives him to feral madness as Manbat. In the process he loses everything he loves and cares about. He truly thinks he does the right things for the right reasons – blind to the truth of his actions.
What makes it worse is after he escapes authorities, Amanda Waller enters the picture. Not only does Manbat need to worry about Batman hunting him down, but now the Suicide Squad is on his trail as well!
What did you think of Manbat 1? Head over to DC Fanatics on Facebook and tell us what you thought of this series as it kicks off.