I have the DC Universe app and they have COMICS on there, so I decided to review comics on my blog.
2 Issue Series
Issue 1 Credits:
Written by Gerry Conway
Pencils by Steve Ditko
Inks by Al Milgram
Issue 2 Credits:
Written by Martin Pasko
Pencils by Pablo Marcos
Inks by Ricardo Villamonte
(Taken from the DC Universe app, linked above)
Issue 1 Synopsis:
“Beware the eyes of Baron Tyme.” The evil Baron Tyme has taken control of Man-Bat’s wife, Francine, forcing her to try to kill one of his colleagues. Even with the aid of Batman, Man-Bat will be hard-pressed to contain his wife and capture the evil baron.
Issue 2 Synopsis:
“Fugitive from Blind Justice.” He’s got eyes in the back of his head! He’s…the Ten-Eyed Man! And he has Man-Bat in the palm of his hand!
I wanted to read a short series this week, so that I could make sure to get my review up. I decided to select “Man-Bat” because Halloween had just passed by. I didn’t do a lot for the holiday (I plan to do more for Christmas, as that is my favorite holiday!). I wanted to give myself at least a little bit of a chill, or so I thought, for this time of year. This wasn’t the right thing to give it to me though. This series was a mess, to be nice about it. It felt like they rushed out a series only to make sure that no one else could publish a title with that name, since it was so close to its moniker title “Batman.” It makes sense, but they could have still tried to tell some decent stories in the few issues they had.
The first issue is largely about his wife having been given the same serum in another issue of something somewhere else, but it has changed her into She-Bat (yes, seriously). Someone is controlling her as She-Bat and forcing her to hurt others. His name? Baron Tyme. The issue is all about Man-Bat trying to get to this villain and having a few fights with him. Batman is included within this first issue, but you can definitely tell that he is there to prop up an otherwise unoriginal macabre character or series. It doesn’t feel that they would have enough material to sustain a series for very long. The writing feels somewhat forced and that it serves no other real purpose than that which I already mentioned. The artwork on this first issue was done well. It looked like the style of that particular era of comic, which was at least nice to read. This first issue, had it been the only one I was reviewing, would have gotten at least a solid 3 magic balls, but alas there was a second issue.
I read on a website that keeps a list of comics (Comic Book Database for those wondering) and how many issues, etc. that they have. I went to make sure that there were indeed only 2 issues of this Man-Bat series before I started it. I noticed a note, which stated that in the letters page it had been mentioned that they had put this out when there was a calling for macabre characters. The market, somehow, had changed drastically within 2 issues of the series and caused them to not want to continue with the series as a stand-alone. The character was being moved to a back-up feature within Detective Comics. An interesting choice and when I read the second issue, I agreed with that decision.
The second issue of “Man-Bat” (1976) suddenly has the main character in a new loft and suddenly new story attached to him. It was a very weird transition for a series. It didn’t seem to fit properly with what had been seen in the previous issue. Now it should be noted issue 2 came roughly 2 months after the first issue. I don’t know about the market of comics at that time, but maybe that is how they told stories back then. While we still have his wife suffering from her “She-Bat” condition, she is not seen attacking anyone within this issue. This story involves a villain with his eyes literally on his fingertips, it was a strange tale. I did not enjoy it. The writing seemed sloppy, at best. It felt that they were just trying to hammer something out. When you are given an inside, as the reader, to who hired this villain, it even makes less sense. It made me question if maybe the comic-code authority had more to do with shutting down Man-Bat than anything else. The villain seems to be somewhat in that type of league. Interesting to speculate, since I will never probably know for sure. I haven’t discussed the worst part of this issue, for me. The artwork is atrocious. I don’t know if the original artwork looked like this, but the version available on the DC Universe app is horrendous. The artwork seems rushed. It seems like someone through an issue together to just get it out on shelves. It is easy to at least see who is who, but it isn’t particularly well-done. The worst part is the colors. Every comic book has to be colored in and this just seems again lack of a better word, rushed. The whole issue felt rushed and uncared for. There was no love placed into this book and it is felt. It made me not like the other issue as much either. It felt like they put their love into that one single issue to be able to show that they had a copyright and screw the actual art. If that is what they wanted to do back then, then Bravo you did it.
As a result, I can’t give this book series very high ratings. I am still interested in seeing more of this character, but hopefully those other series he is featured in have more love placed into the character than was done here.
Man-Bat has had other books within the DC company, but most of them short-lived or mini-series, like this one. I will be reading the other series that is available on the DC Universe app as well. This will probably be next weeks review!