DC Animated Universe

"He's just a theorist. He was afraid to put it to the test. But I wasn't."

Kirk Langstrom was a scientist working in Gotham City. After exposing himself to an experiment, Langstrom was prone to transforming into the Man-Bat.


Kirk Langstrom was once a student of Dr. Emile Dorian, who made the T-99 mutagen. Langstrom, however, did not approve of Dorian's goals, and considered that work akin to animal cruelty. When Dorian had become disreputable and left Gotham, Langstrom cared for the abused animals as best possible, later showing a malformed cat as a sardonic example of "one of the good doctor's earlier experiments". However, Langstrom did believe there could be a legitimate use for splicing and continued to work on experiments under the oversight of Dr. March, his father-in-law. While working at the Gotham Zoo, Langstrom ascribed to Dr. March's theories of bat evolution. Agreeing with March's belief that bats would make the next evolutionary step (a capability humans lacked), Langstrom set to work creating a formula that would allow humans to make this jump as well.[1]

After imbibing the formula, Langstrom transformed into the monstrous Man-Bat. The serum, however, was incomplete; the transformation was only temporary, and needed further refining to become a permanent "solution". As Man-Bat, Langstrom began robbing chemical and pharmaceutical companies in his quest to achieve the perfect formula.

In a city as crime-laden as Gotham City, combined with his powers, Man-Bat was able to steal with relative ease. When robbing a pharmaceutical firm one night, the Man-Bat assaulted a security guard which resulted in his hospitalization. Luck, however, was on Langstrom's side; due to the victim's misidentification of his assailant, the media accused Batman of doing it. This resulted in Detective Harvey Bullock and District Attorney Harvey Dent considering Batman a public nuisance. Despite the protests of Commissioner Gordon, Mayor Hill authorized a task force dedicated to Batman's arrest and capture.

Setting out to clear his name, Batman investigated the place where the security guard was assaulted. When he found a bodily fiber that seemed neither animal nor human, he decided to seek help from Dr. March. As Bruce Wayne, he went to the Gotham Zoo, claiming his chimney was bat infested. Batman also investigated the string of robberies. Seeing they were all pharmaceutical firms or chemical companies, these links led him back to the zoo, where he firsthand saw Dr. Langstrom take the final dosage and transform into Man-Bat. However, after a brief fight, Batman subdued the creature and injected Man-Bat with a counter-serum. As long as Langstrom refrained from imbibing the formula again, he would remain in his human form.[2]

Months later, Batman turned to Langstrom for aid when Selina Kyle had been abducted by creatures exhibiting similar human-animal qualities. Langstrom identified it as the work of his former partner, Emile Dorian.[3]


Kirk Langstrom as the Man-Bat.

Shortly thereafter, Man-Bat appeared once more. Langstrom professed to both Francine and Batman that there is no way he would use the serum again, and his story was believed by neither. Batman was willing to allow Langstrom the benefit of the doubt by subjecting him to a DNA test. However, Francine, distraught over her husband's inability to control himself, separated from Kirk. The DNA test confirmed Kirk's honesty, as it failed to find any bat DNA. With further investigation, Batman learned that Dr. March had been working on Langstrom's Man-Bat formula, still maintaining it was the next evolutionary step. However, before he was able to inject himself, Francine interrupted his work and accidentally received a small dosage.

Batman found Francine, who had since transformed into a bat creature herself, at the Gotham airport. He subdued her and injected her with the counter-serum. Francine then returned to Langstrom.[4]

Sometime later, Dr. Milo acquired Langstrom's notes. Using the research, he began applying genetic splicing to the work of Project Cadmus.[5]

Powers and abilities[]

As a human, Dr. Langstrom is a scientist. His focus is in the area of bats, but he also specializes in genetic mutation, particularly DNA splicing.

As Man-Bat, Langstrom exhibits characteristics to both man and bat. His strength vastly increases, and he gains the ability to fly. However, his body undergoes a significant mutation, and he appears as a hulking monster. Fortunately, effects of the mutation do not seem to linger when the transformation wears off.

Background information[]

The Man-Bat made two additional appearances in the tie-in comics The Batman Adventures. One is where Langstrom (as the Man-Bat) was captured by Dr. Emile Dorian along with Tygrus and the werewolf Anthony Romulus. Another return was where the Man-Bat was once again terrorizing Gotham, and Francine thinks her husband is back to his old ways. Meanwhile, a rival scientist named Perry, who once dated Francine, realizes the truth that Langstrom was the Man-Bat and is seeking to have Kirk discredited, as well as his marriage to Francine ended so Perry can woo her once again. When the Man-Bat reappears before Francine, she believes it to be Kirk, only to have a human Kirk suddenly appear, yelling at this third Man-Bat to leave his wife alone. Batman subdues the third Man-Bat, who is revealed to have been Perry after discovering Dr. March's files and replicating the bat DNA formula.


Batman: The Animated Series

The New Batman Adventures

Justice League Unlimited


  1. Reaves, Michael, Rogel, Randy (story) & Wilkerson, Cherie (teleplay) & Paur, Frank (director) (October 30, 1992). "Tyger, Tyger". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 30 (airdate). Episode 42 (production). FOX Kids.
  2. Brian, Mitch (writer) & Altieri, Kevin (director) (September 6, 1992). "On Leather Wings". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 2 (airdate). Episode 1 (production). FOX Kids.
  3. Reaves, Michael, Rogel, Randy (story) & Wilkerson, Cherie (teleplay) & Paur, Frank (director) (October 30, 1992). "Tyger, Tyger". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 30 (airdate). Episode 42 (production). FOX Kids.
  4. Perry, Steve, Saraceni, Mark (story) & Saraceni, Mark (teleplay) & Kirkland, Boyd (director) (November 12, 1992). "Terror in the Sky". Batman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 37 (airdate). Episode 45 (production). FOX Kids.
  5. McDuffie, Dwayne (story) & Goodman, Robert (teleplay) & Riba, Dan (director) (February 19, 2005). "The Doomsday Sanction". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 16 (airdate). Episode 16 (production). Cartoon Network.

External links[]