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Original Airdate: October 30, 2004
Writers: Thomas Pugsley & Greg Klein
Director: Seung Eun Kim
Contrary to popular belief, having multiple writers on an episode does not mean it’s less likely to be terrible. Case in point: almost every new episode of Spongebob Squarepants has three writers attached.
And my word, are Pugsley and Klein facing an uphill battle today. You see, this is a Man-Bat episode, and those of you who paid attention to my first review…
… will likely recall that I don’t care much for Man-Bat. And I still don’t.
Seriously, he makes Bane look like the gold standard of innovation and interesting plot development. In case any of you are unfamiliar with him, here’s a thumbnail biography from Wikipedia:
Dr. Kirk Langstrom, a scientist specializing in the study of bats (chiropterology), develops an extract intended to give humans a bat’s sonar sense and tests the formula on himself because he is becoming deaf. The extract works, but it has a horrible side effect: it transforms him into a hideous man-sized bat. The serum also takes away his intelligence, so he goes on a mad rampage until Batman can find a way to reverse the effects.
Even if you don’t particularly give a crap about Marvel (and to be honest, I don’t), Man-Bat is a pretty lackluster villain, mostly because Kirk Langstrom’s consciousness goes lights-out whenever he turns into the guy (which is almost always by horrible circumstance instead of intent). There’s very little emotional or moral stakes to be had – he’s a villain 100% built for action sequences, and incredibly predictable action sequences at that. I’ve seen Batman hitching a sky-ride on his claw about several dozen times now, and it was pretty boring after the first one.
But that was apparently good enough for him to carve out a niche, and he’s been a semi-recurring member of Batman’s rogues gallery ever since. As previously mentioned, That Other Show used him as their first villain, and the episode in question was almost entirely redeemed by how badass
Tokyo Movie Shinsa’s Spectrum’s animation was. That might be written off as a chest-beating display of creative independence on their part (please realize that I spontaneously sprouted a beret, goatee, and Starbucks latte as I typed that), but then they did another one.
At this point, it’s probably for the best if we all admit to what his real appeal is:
Oh, there’s been a few snippets of more interesting takes – mostly when they tried to play him as a hero who’s in full control of himself as Man-Bat – but those never last long. Let’s see if The Batman can make this bat fly, shall we?