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Man-Bat Pt. 4: Detective Comics #416

Rematch! The stark, blood-chilling comeback of a fearsome foe… now endowed with strange, unearthly powers! Powers which not even the Batman can overcome!

Following the events of the last issue, Batman gives Kirk and Francine Langstrom a wedding gift: a leather-bound case with glass vials and a note from Batman…

Francine asks Kirk if the shadow of the bat must hang over them all their lives. He replies, “Only if we ignore the Batman’s warning." She makes him swear to her that he’ll never experiment again…

I swear, Francie – if it’s humanly possible – never to tempt the unknown again!

However, late at night in his lab, he wrestles with himself over the idea of correcting his formula. Thanks to opera tickets from Batman, he does nothing at this time. However…

Francine gives him a vial (he left his at home), but just as he takes it, the soprano hits a high-c and it shatters.

Relating his transformation to the full moon, Man-Bat decides to go underground. Batman pursues him on the subway. When a panicked passenger pulls the emergency cord, the car comes to a crashing halt… literally. Batman appeals to Man-Bat’s humanity to help rescue the passengers.


Thinking more like a villain than a hero, Man-Bat returns to the lab seeking the new formula that will make him “Man-Bat forever!”

Man-Bat guzzles his formula, but Batman appears to tell Francine that he switched the vials. What the creature drank was “an improved hi-potency ‘anti-bat’ serum.”



The first letter in Batman’s Hot Line in Detective Comics #416 comes from the story’s author himself, Frank Robbins, who says the inspiration for this story came from the suggestion of a Man-Bat fan named Anthony Kowalik, of Harvey, Illinois. He calls it a “flashback sequel” to the popular series.


He also nearly apologizes for the artwork in the story:

…as I got wrapped up in its story possibilities, I too was “carried away” by Man-Bat, to the point of my requesting a special guest appearance as artist as well as writer! So now, to you pan-letter writers (to remain un-named) the entire load of this production rest on my weary shoulders, but simplifies their problem of deciding whether I was “wrapped up” or “racked up” in its execution!
My only cop-out is that you [Julius Schwartz] edited it… and reader Kowalik provided the sketch for the splash page that inspired me to carry it to its final stage.
So, trusting that my fans will exceed my pans –

The artwork of Neal Adams is noticeably missing; however, I don’t dislike that of Robbins. It’s a different style, for sure… less realistic perhaps and more cartoony, with panels that are more crowded. And, yeah, I love that splash page!


Title: Detective Comics

Issue #: 416

Cover Date: Oct., 1971

On Sale Date: Aug. 31, 1970

Writer: Frank Robbins

Artist: Frank Robbins

Editor: Julius Schwartz

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