DCAU #65: The Beast Within!

IN THIS ONE... One of Kirk Langstrom's scientific rivals takes revenge on him by becoming Man-Bat and framing him for his rampages.

CREDITS: Written by Kelley Puckett; art by Mike Parobeck and Rick Burchett.

REVIEW: Must they torture poor Kirk Langstrom in his every story, making him think he's turned into the Man-Bat again only to find out it wasn't him? Last time it was Francine. This time it's an unscrupulous rival who's held a grudge for years for Kirk winning a scholarship over him. And this back story is exposed in a clichéed villain's monologue where this Dr. Parry needlessly spills the beans in front of Kirk AND Batman. It's the weakest part of the issue, but there are some good bits, I will admit.

I really like, for example, that Bullock think of Man-Bat and Batman as a single category: "Bats got no respect fer the law." Yes, all of them, Harvey. And the love between the Langstroms is once again the best element of their stories. When she thinks he's become a monster again, she races to protect him before the authorities arrive (a well-done scene, with a silent Batman appearing in the final panel before we cut to the police station). Afraid he's turned, Kirk's anxieties are all for Francine and what this will mean to her. In the climax, Francine sees Batman fighting Parry as the Man-Bat, assumes it's Kirk, and hits Batman with a car to help her husband (he walks away from that one?!). And when this puts her in danger, Kirk faces off, shirtless, against the creature we think of as his alter ego. Though Parry plays the part, this is in essence his daily struggle, and he up and admits being Man-Bat is akin to addiction, one he must fight every day.
Strong character work, I just wish got better support from the plot. Parry's convoluted plan and the way he behaves is straight out of mustache-twirling school (where I guess he DID get a scholarship), and makes my eyes glaze over. I'm also puzzled by the distinctive socialite with silver streaks in her hair Bruce meets at the science event. Anyone know who that is, if anyone?
REREADABILITY: Medium - Could have been a contender, but the villain drains the interest from it.

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