Kirk Langstrom is on the run from the law and the Suicide Squad following his horrific night of blood and mayhem on the streets as Man-Bat. Receiving news that he may soon be stuck permanently in his bat-monster form, Kirk must figure out a way to cure himself, help the citizens of Gotham he's hurt, and avoid being taken out by the Suicide Squad!
Things are just getting worse for one Kirk Langstrom here in Man-Bat #2, but solving all his problems should be simple enough! All he has to do is stop himself from turning permanently into a freakish bat-monster, and also cure deafness. Should be easy, right?
This issue starts off with a flashback to a conversation between Kirk and his then-lover Francine, which gives us more insight into their relationship, and also fleshes out the relationship between Kirk and his sister.
They talk about Kirk’s dedication to curing his sister’s deafness, which makes the cruel irony of the sonic cannon incident from last issue sting even harder. As a man who’s dedicated most of his life to curing deafness, he now finds himself becoming the direct cause of several people losing their hearing.
While it appears that things cannot possibly get worse for Kirk Langstrom, I’m also struggling to identify how they might possibly get better. Where do you start with this guy? His wife is leaving him, the Suicide Squad is after him, Scarecrow wants him to help with his little science fair project… all because he’s addicted to turning himself into a gigantic bat-monster (and soon may be stuck in that form permanently). Things just aren’t working out for this Kirk fella, and while the story has been entertaining, I feel it could certainly benefit from—at very least—the smallest glimmer of hope. Of course, we’re only two issues into a five issue mini-series so there’s still some time to turn things around mega-depressing-bummer-wise, but I’d definitely like to see those seeds planted within the next issue or two.
As for art, Sumit Kumar has been making stellar marks on the pages of Man-Bat. Putting together interesting page layouts, dynamic scenes and camera angles, convincing face acting, and no storytelling hiccups… the whole proverbial nine yards. On top of that, his character design for Man-Bat is straight up vicious. It feels like he looks more hellish and terrifying every time he appears on the page.
Romulo Fajardo, Jr. brings a texture with his colors that compliments Kumar’s art nicely. He breaks into some surprisingly saturated palettes in this book—not the obvious choice for a story as grim as this one—but I don’t think it ruins the mood by any means. Some of the colors are a bit literal (the sky is blue, the grass is green, and so on) but it doesn’t kill the vibe for me entirely.
Overall, the book really shines visually! Everything is sort of in its place. No weird faces, no weird figures, everything feels very real and natural. And a quick note on Tom Napolitano’s letters: if a letterer is good, you won’t notice he’s there. And Tom, I didn’t notice you. Good work.
Man-Bat has been a bit of a bummer so far, I mean this guy just cant catch a break! But that's not to say that the book is bad, because it's not. I genuinely cannot predict how Kirk is going to get out of this situation he's found himself in, and when I can't predict how a book is going to end that makes me want to keep reading. On the strengths of Kumar's art and Wielgosz's unpredictability, this book will likely stay on my pull list until it ends.
Man-Bat #2: Life Is Hard When You’re a Gigantic Bat
Writing - 8/10
Storyline - 6/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 8/10
Cover Art - 10/10
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