Detective Comics #458 (April 1976)
cover: Ernie Chua (signed)
title: "Peal of the Devil Bell!"
writer: Martin Pasko
penciller: Pablo Marcos
inker: Tex Blaisdell
editor: Julius Schwartz
The story picks up immediately after the events of Man-Bat #2, as the Welcome Home party has ended and the guests have gone home. Kirk's sister Brittney walks into his and Francine's bedroom to talk to them and finds Francine strapped to their bed. She starts to unstrap her when Francine begins to turn into the She-Bat again. Kirk bursts in and throws a sheet over her, incapacitating her long enough for him to give her a hypodermic antidote.
On the one hand, this is an interesting "sequel" to Man-Bat #2. Re-reading it brought back bittersweet memories of how cool Man-Bat could have been if given the chance.
On the other hand, this story is a mess. Francine switching to She-Bat is used as a plot device (again!) and she is a slave to some mystical menace (again!). In several ways, this story reminds me of the story from Man-Bat #1. We do get some more characterization of Kirk in his relationship with his sister, which is nice. She might have made a good supporting character, given the chance...
The art is good, but not great. Man-Bat looks down-right ugly in several spots, which I guess is the point, but doesn't make us really appreciate him as a hero.
There isn't much to the story itself (six pages) so it does read like a rush-to-the-finish, set-up for the conclusion. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but doesn't leave much to review.
Man-Bat Trivia Notes:
- Thanatos in Ancient Greek mythology is the personification of Death. Genus is a group of related animals that includes different species.
- Because this story is only six pages and has never been reprinted, I decided to re-present it here in its entirety.
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