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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Man-Bat 1 - Man-Bat begins

Gerry Conway, Steve Ditko and Al Milgrom launch Man-Bat into his own book with the Dec/Jan 75/76 issue, complete with an appearance by Batman, as shown on the Jim Aparo cover. Man-Bat had last been seen a few months earlier, teaming up with Batman in Brave and the Bold, and mention is made in this tale of that story, which concluded with Kirk Langstrom getting a large reward. In this issue, we find out that he has used the money to launch himself into a career as a super hero.

Oddly, the story does not really build off of that. Instead, it makes reference back to the tale in Detective Comics in which Francine Langstrom got bitten by a vampire bat in Las Vegas. A new villain, Baron Tyme, is taking advantage of Francine's violent nature when she changes into She-Bat, and using her as a weapon.

Kirk sees Francine change against her will and fly out to try to murder a man. Kirk becomes Man-Bat and saves the intended victim, learning that he has an enemy, a medieval history professor, Clement Tyme. But as he questions the guy Man-Bat lets his guard down, and She-Bat succeeds in killing him.

News of the murder reaches Batman. Alfred gets a brief cameo in this scene, as Batman decides that Man-Bat must be the murderer, and sets out to apprehend him.

So while Man-Bat is trying to keep his wife from killing more people, he also has to deal with Batman trying to take him down. Batman really ought to have given Man-Bat the benefit of the doubt, as he already knows about She-Bat's vampiric tendencies. But Man-Bat still has to battle the hero before he will listen. Batman offers to take down Baron Tyme himself, but Man-Bat insists that Batman stop butting in and trying to control his life.

So the story culminates with Man-Bat confronting Baron Tyme in his castle. Pretty nice place for a college professor. Tyme has gotten into alchemy, and conjured up a demon to gain power. Despite this, it takes Man-Bat only a couple of pages to disrupt the man's concentration with his sonar scream. Baron Tyme appears to die, but will return a couple of years down the road to face the Demon in the pages of Detective Comics.

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