DCAU #41: Terror in the Sky

IN THIS ONE... Francine Langstrom becomes the new Man-Bat.

CREDITS: Written by Mark Saraceni (writer on Taz-Mania, and co-developer of 2 Stupid Dogs) and Steve Perry; directed by Boyd Kirkland.

REVIEW: The third manimal story in four episodes (as the production flies), and the best by far. The return of Man-Bat is really the introduction of "She-Bat", the creature Francine Langstrom becomes, and the mystery of her identity is fairly well played. Non-comics readers have no reason to think Man-Bat is anyone but Kirk, and Batman certainly sells it with his righteous anger. Her absence in any given scene is always logical anyway and the fact she doesn't remember her spells as a bat means she's just as eager to find out the truth. Though the situation is destroying their marriage, this is still a love story, and they will save each other where Batman fails to back and forth in the story. And it's about family too, with Dr. March sullenly destroying his research when he realizes he turned his daughter into a monster.

And it all looks freaking gorgeous! Beautiful body language and attention to detail, lots of wind blowing and interacting with the characters, and a snowy landscape that really outdoes everything we've seen to date on winter episodes. The level of action is high, and the Batcycle chase is of particular note (and the helmet is pretty cool), though Batman's rescue of the plane is a confused let down. Aside from the one rushed sequence, the animation really does elevate the material.

As for the refinements made to the Man-Bat formula, I do like the echolocation POV. Put me in mind of Doctor Who more than anything, but there are examples of "stalking POV" shots in other films and TV shows as well. Just showing my particular bias. It's kind of shame neither Man-Bat returns to the series aside from the odd cameo, though I have to admit, their story is pretty much played out. But Terror in the Sky shows how exciting they can be.

IN THE COMICS:  This episode is loosely based on Detective Comics #429 (1972), "Man-Bat over Vegas" by Frank Robbins, where Francine indeed did become a new Man-Bat, but she'd been a werebat before. In an earlier appearance, Kirk had made his wife take the serum and Batman cured the both of them. On a trip to Nevada, he pricked her finger on a vampire bat fang and it reactivated the serum in her, this time turning her into a "vampire Man-Bat", which she only became on a full moon.

SOUNDS LIKE: Rene Auberjonois, Meredith MacRae and Marc Singer all return as the Langstrom-March family.

REWATCHABILITY: High - Not perfect, but it looks great and has a strong romantic core that I feel I need to reward.


LiamKav said...

There's a lovely bit where March has a tranq gun pointed at Batman. Bruce talks to him for a bit, then suddenly does a lovely move where he pirouettes down on to his hands, grabs the gun with his feat and then swings it upwards knocking March back. In one move he makes himself a smaller target, moves out of the way, disarms his openent and knocks him on the floor. It's beautifully done.

LiamKav said...

Also, for a guy who hates guns, Batman is a really good aim with that tranq gun at the end. Are non-lethal guns fine? Would he be happy with a phaser, for instance?


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine