Man-Bat Pt. 14: Batman Family #13
A new double-length novel! The Dynamite Duo becomes the TNT Trio! Batgirl, Robin and Man-Bat fight their most fearsome foe – the ominous Outsider!
Chapter 1: Death Derby at Dawn
Batgirl and Robin find themselves physically connected to each of their new motorcycles. As they race wildly through the city, Robin is able to free himself and…
Afterwards, Robin takes Batgirl to breakfast to tell her what he thinks he knows about who did this to them.
Chapter 2: Twilight of the Sunset Gang
Man-Bat again encounters the Sunset Gang, but after dispatching of them, he meets the one behind their crimes: the “Mysterious Mr. O”… the Outsider. Somehow, the villain harnesses the power of the moon to…
The Uturuncu chases Man-Bat and corners him in an exhibit room of the American Museum of Natural History.
Chapter 3: Explosive End of the Dynamite Duo
Batgirl and Robin’s investigation at Teen Titans headquarters is interrupted when the Outsider appears with Uturuncu, the were-jaguar:
Chapter 4: Inside – Outside – Melting Down the Town
As the city's buildings literally burn like candles (?) and the Outsider declares victory, our three heroes inexplicably appear. Well, Man-Bat does explain, I guess:
Robin uses the “flashlight” Man-Bat gave him… the same one that turned him into the were-jaguar... to extract the Outsider from inside Alfred. As two separate entities, Alfred lands a knockout punch to his evil alter-ego.
Well, this time, the cover isn’t misleading. Batgirl, Robin and Man-Bat do appear together in a story. However, it’s more like each of their stories converge in a third story. In fact, Man-Bat’s “chapter” seems retrofitted to lead to the next. In a single panel:
The entire issue, though, is a nice package, including a two-page spread, Batman’s Bureau of Missing Found Villains: The Outsider. It’s at least a semi-regular feature, but this one really ties into the story and provides a history of the villain.
I was unfamiliar with the Outsider and am fascinated to learn that he was an alter-ego of Alfred’s created when scientist Brandon Crawford found Alfred barely alive and performed experiments to revive him. I guess the characters and readers at the time thought Alfred was dead for a couple years.
The saga and subsequent appearances of the Outsider occurred in the pages of Detective Comics #328, 334, 340, 349, 356, and perhaps more. It even had a connection, through Zatanna, to Justice League of America #51.
In the letter column, Batmail Family, we read the first letter regarding Man-Bat’s new series. Paul Blaze from Glen Burnie, MD asks the editors about some inconsistencies from Kirk and Francine Langstrom’s previous appearances. Author Bob Rozakis responds:
Explanation? Certainly! The $100,000 [that Batman gave Langstrom in The Brave & the Bold #119] was used by Kirk to cure Francine – and if you’ve ever been in a hospital, you probably know how the costs pile up! The city switch was best explained by Kirk himself… [click here.] As for Francine being pregnant, please don’t ask us to explain how that happened!
For me, the most surprising (and fun) part of Batman Family #13 happens on p. 9, the first page of Chapter 2:
It’s a continuity-driven reference to events occurring at the same time in Freedom Fighters! If you’ve read my previous series about that superhero team, you’re familiar with Doll Man’s trial. If you haven’t, click here.
Cover Date: Sept., 1977
On Sale Date: June 23, 1977
Writer(s): Bob Rozakis
Penciller: Marshall Rogers
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Editor: Julius Schwartz