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Man-Bat Pt. 18: Batman Family #17

Guest-starring…

Demonologist Jason Blood is much more than he seems. Few people know that he is in reality Etrigan, the servant of Merlin, who uses his mystical powers to battle evil as… the Demon

When returning to Earth-Two from the JLA satellite, the Huntress triggers a freak storm of anti-dimension energy from the just-repaired transporter. This storm releases Morgain Le Fey, declaring that Jason Blood shall pay for what he has done to her. She transports herself to…

Meanwhile, Kirk Langstrom is in the waiting room at the maternity hospital, chatting with other soon-to-be fathers amid a cloud of their cigarette smoke, when…

Behind the hospital’s swinging doors, Man-Bat finds…

When the monster returns to the form of the baby the woman birthed, Man-Bat is accused of being the only monster in the room… until Jason Blood appears to vouch for him.

There have been several recorded cases of demon births!

And there’s another one. When Etrigan bursts in to exorcise it, Man-Bat mistakes him for the monster. A blast of flames from the Demon gives Man-Bat an understanding of what’s happening. Then, Etrigan explains this must be the work of Morgain Le Fay, trying to create the perfect "demonling."

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Man-Bat and the Demon team-up to wrestle the philosopher’s stone from Le Fay, who senses the “correct” birth is about to happen. Etrigan congratulates Langstrom for turinng her to stone, but he replies,

Pal, all I’m concerned about is whether I prevented her from making my son into a monster!

That’s right. The expected “Kirk Jr.” is… a beautiful baby girl!

Is Rebecca Langstrom actually the latent demon foreseen by Etrigan and Morgain Le Fay? On time and future issues… will tell.

Notes

More pages, more stories than ever before!

Well, more pages, but still just three stories. Batman Family becomes an 80-page $1.00 comic with issue #17. That means 19 pages for Man-Bat and guest-star, the Demon!

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I’ve never been a huge fan of the Demon. His dialogue is sometimes hard for me to read. However, it’s not bad in this story. Perhaps that’s a later, post-Crisis development, and it’s not that it’s the actual dialogue itself with its persistent rhyming, but sometimes the medieval lettering used to convey it.

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While having nothing to do with Man-Bat, it’s interesting to note that the Huntress is introduced in its pages as part of not only the Man-Bat story, but also the Batman & Robin story (Scars) and the Batgirl & Batwoman story (Horoscopes of Crime.) This comes with an announcement on the Batmail Family Special Delivery page that “she’ll begin her own regular series in these pages” in the next issue.

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This story has more substance than recent Man-Bat adventures, even though it’s padded with the set-up for the release of Morgain Le Fay. That bit was probably added to join all three stories in the issue introducing the Huntress to fully integrate her into the Batman family.

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Again, having nothing to do with Man-Bat, I love the first paragraph of a letter from Ed Vis:

It may be ironic that, with the strong re-emergence of All-Star Comics and the Justice Society, some of the finest stories being told in today’s comics are taking place on Earth-Two rather than Earth-One.I myself view this as a quite natural development. On Earth-Two, changes in the lives of well-established characters like Superman and Batman can be made without detracting from their commercial appeal.

Finally, sorry to be repetitive every week, but… art… Michael Golden… love it:

Overall, this adventure is a highlight of Man-Bat’s run in Batman Family.

Title: Batman Family

Issue #: 17

Cover Date: April/May 1978

On Sale Date: Jan. 19, 1978

Writer(s): Bob Rozakis

Artist: Michael Golden

Editor: Allen Milgram


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