Review: Man-Bat #1

“Monster Bender”

Writer: Dave Wielgosz

Artist: Sumit Kumar
Color Artist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Review by Steve J. Ray

When DC sent us their first-look preview of Man-Bat #1, at the beginning of the year, I was worried for Kirk Langstrom. I’m a huge fan of James Tynion IV, and Ram V.’s Justice League Dark, where Dr. Langstrom finally tamed the beast within and became a truly quirky, funny and brilliant character. Thankfully, Dave Wielgosz has calmed my sorrow by setting this tale before Kirk’s membership in the League.

The version of Man-Bat we get in this issue is far closer to the original version of the character, as created by Frank Robbins, Julius Schwartz, and Neal Adams (Detective Comics #400, June 1970). The creature is huge, powerful, and angry. Having grown up with precisely this kind of Man-Bat, I found this issue hugely enjoyable, particularly when a certain Dark Knight appears on the scene.

Art That Soars

The art by Sumit Kumar and Romulo Fajardo Jr. in this book is first rate. I first saw – and loved – Sumit’s work a year ago, in Detective Comics Annual #3. I’ve followed his progress with great interest, and he’s impressed me every single time. His storytelling, particularly in the use of facial expressions and body language, is absolutely stellar. Look out for a page in the issue where Kirk asks batman a question he can’t answer… it’s a beautiful piece of work.

The great thing is, it isn’t just in the quiet moments where this artist excels, check out the action shots attached to this review, and you’ll see what I mean. Sumit Kumar is an all rounder, and like I said the first time I saw his work, a talent to watch. This guy deserves a regular monthly book.

As always, the story and art are enhanced by colors and lettering from two consummate pros, and firm favorites. Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Tom Napolitano are veterans and craftsmen. Fajardo’s city lights and sunsets are stunning, and tremendous Tom does great work with text, speech, (I love the title character’s dialogue) and that gorgeous Man-Bat logo, on the covers, and on page 5.

Thanks, gents.

Conclusion

Man-Bat #1 delivers a great start to what promises to be a terrific mini-series. The character work, dialogue and visuals are all of an extremely high quality and have me excited to read on. From little tributes to Man-Bat’s first writer/artist (The Robbins Facility) and great interaction between Kirk and Batman, I got a sense of love for the character, and his history.

I’m really looking forward to reading more.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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