A gifted scientist who was diagnosed with a rare condition that caused chronic deafness, Dr. Kirk Langstrom went to extreme lengths to develop a cure. Splicing his DNA with that of a vampire bat transformed Kirk into a hideous monstrosity known as Man-Bat. After seemingly killing his wife, Francine Langstrom, Man-Bat embarked on a deadly rampage across Gotham City before he was captured and cured of his affliction by Batman.
Before Arkham Knight Incident
Kirk met his future wife, Francine, in graduate school. The two aimed to cure human diseases by using genetic splicing. The two had a happy and functional marriage despite financial issues caused by the widespread skepticism towards their research.
Kirk eventually developed chronic deafness, providing him with a challenge and an opportunity to test his theory. Finally developing a method of splicing the DNA of desmodus rotundus (the common vampire bat) into human DNA, Kirk tested it on himself in hopes to cure his hearing loss. However, the effects were far stronger than Kirk anticipated, causing him to mutate into a human-bat hybrid. Out of control of his actions, the creature destroyed the lab, inadvertently and apparently killing Francine in the process, before escaping out into Gotham.
Arkham Knight Incident
Man-Bat traveled aimlessly around Gotham before he encountered Batman on Miagani Island. A brief battle ensued, during which Batman was able to take a blood sample.
While Batman investigated his history, Man-Bat continued to circle Miagani Island. Batman later injected Langstrom with the cure on Bleake Island. Finding it ineffective, Batman hunted Man-Bat down a second time, this time knocking him unconscious and injecting him again on Founders' Island. By the time the Batmobile arrived at the GCPD Lockup, Man-Bat had returned to normal. Langstrom was locked in an isolation chamber and broke down in tears upon discovering Francine's fate.
However, upon Batman's return to the laboratory, Francine's body had disappeared and the words: "Forever My Love" were written upon a broken screen, which implied that she had been afflicted by the serum through her wounds by Man-Bat, which appeared to have revived her.
When it's Halloween, or if one changes their system's date to October 31st, Man-Bat attacks Batman on Miagani Island yet again, before flying off into the night. Upon returning to the GCPD, officer Boulden informs Batman that Kirk had transformed back into Man-Bat and had escaped the building. His ultimate fate remains unknown, as does Francine's.
As a human, Kirk Langstrom was a gifted scientist and a loving husband, who did not have a bad bone in his body. He was ambitious and attempted to merge human DNA with a Vampire Bat. However, this resulted in an abomination. After Langstrom was cured and taken the GCPD Lockup, he showed genuine concern for the safety of the officers, should he transform back into Man-Bat. Once he discovered that Francine was dead, whom he unintentionally killed, Kirk was devastated and reduced to tears.
As Man-Bat, however, Kirk was reduced to a mindless, violent and animalistic beast.
Kirk and Francine Langstrom
Kirk and Francine Langstrom met as PH.D. students, and would go on to publish a joint-research paper on the treatment of human illnesses via gene splicing across species lines.
Marrying soon after graduation, Kirk and Francine continued to work together, despite struggles to find funding and widespread skepticism of their hypotheses.
In recent years, their work has become threatened by Kirk's encroaching hearing loss, though the pair believe they have identified an opportunity in his diagnosis.
- Gifted research scientist and pioneering gene therapists.
- Deteriorating hearing (Kirk).
- Highly acute hearing.
- Superhuman strength and agility.
- Natural sonar.
Powers and Abilities
- Enhanced Endurance: Man-Bat could survive impacts from falls as tall as buildings, without any notable discomfort or injuries at all. He also had increased stamina, since he was able to fly for lengthy periods of time without showing any signs of fatigue or exhaustion at all.
- Enhanced Strength: Man-Bat could easily kill a normal human with a strike, as well as break wall structures with his bare hands.
- Flight: Man-Bat could naturally fly thanks to his artificially generated wings.
- Claws: Man-Bat had sharpened claws which were strong enough to easily tear through flesh and muscle.
- Echolocation: Man-Bat could navigate through the air without sight by screeching, which bounced off potential obstacles and flew back toward the user, which in turn, alerted them to the hazard.
- Superhuman Senses: Like any bat, Man-Bat can smell & hear better than peak-human beings, such as Batman.
- Francine: I'm so proud of you, honey. Go on! Tell them what you've done!
Kirk: Er... Hello world... no, that's terrible.
Francine: Go on! Just be yourself.
Kirk: Okay. Full genetic re-splicing was a success. The recombinant molecules-
Francine: Honey, you're doing it again. How about in English?
Kirk: Yes, of course, sorry. So, what I've done is merge the DNA of Desmodus Rotundas, sorry, the vampire bat, into the human chain. This breakthrough could...will prevent and cure deafness in all humanity. How is that?
Francine: Perfect sweetie.
Kirk: Are you getting this honey?
Francine: I think so. Is the red light on? Kirk? Honey, are you okay? Oh, my god! Kirk?!
- "Wh... Wh... where's Francine? Wh...where is she?!"
- "No... she can't be... I didn't... What have I done?!"
- "What have I done? What have I done? What have I done? My sweet Francine...sweet, sweet Francine..."
- "I only wanted to help people... and I've killed the one thing I ever loved."
- "But I did, nothing can change that. I'm a freak...a monster. They should leave me to rot in here."
- "I didn't want this, you have to believe me."
- "My beautiful wife. I loved her more than anything."
- "Can I see her? Please, I want to see her body. I have to say... goodbye."
- "I... I feel different. I can't explain it. Something inside. A presence. What's happening to me?"
- "You synthesized the antidote. What do you think, could a permanent cure be found? I need access to my lab., what if I change while I'm here. I could kill someone."
- According to the sample of Kirk's DNA Batman took, Kirk had not examined the vampire bat DNA very well, as it displayed an unexpected aggressive and malignant reproduction that began to rewrite the host DNA.
- This is similar to what happened to the Marvel Comics character Dr. Conners, who tried regrowing his lost arm with lizard DNA; the result was the same, as the foreign DNA morphed Conners into The Lizard.
- Man-Bat was one of the few villains to not have been referenced at all in the past Arkham games before his appearance in the last game.
- However, in Arkham Origins, Alfred stated that a giant meat-eating bat creature, referred to as "King Bat", was living in the Batcave, which most people thought to be a reference to Man-Bat.
- Although, it's possible the "King Bat" was simply a somewhat mutated bat or another Man-Bat, as Kirk Langstrom had not started with the experiment that transformed him yet.
- King Bat might be the large, green-eyed Bat seen in several cutscenes through the game.
- This reference could also invoke the large semi-mystical Bat seen in Frank Miller's Batman stories involving his origins.
- Some fans were convinced that Man-Bat was an inmate in Arkham City, and was hiding out in the Bell Tower of the Church in Park Row. The first possible reference to this was found right before the stairs to the Bell Tower. A dead rat could be seen lying in the corner, looking like a huge bite had been taken out of it. In one of The Riddler's hostage rooms, another rat like that could be found. Fans even speculated Man-Bat made an appearance in the story. After Batman flies from the Bell Tower and it explodes, a big, black figure could be seen flying in the opposite direction from the Bell Tower. Many people speculated this to be Man-Bat himself. However, it was probably just a bird, like could be seen on more occasions in the game.
- This is a theory still going around the internet, even though it has been confirmed by the developers that Man-Bat made no appearance whatsoever in Arkham City. This proved to indeed be impossible, as Dr. Langstrom only transformed into Man-Bat during the events of Arkham Knight.
- Besides, Arkham City would never have been able to hold something like Man-Bat, unless he was restrained or locked up, as he could just fly away out of the prison.
- After the first encounter with Man-Bat, when grappling to a roof, there's a chance that the cutscene activates again, however, with The Joker instead of Man-Bat.
- The hallucination of Joker couldn't help but laugh: "The big, bad Batman scared by his own reflection" after the first encounter with Man-bat, where it surprised Batman.
- Should the player return to Kirk's Lab, they would find Francine's body to be missing with a message that read: "Forever my love", which implied that Francine may have turned into She-Bat after being attacked by Man-Bat.
- If the date on the console or computer the game was on was changed to 10/31/15 (Halloween), grappling around buildings would eventually make the Man-Bat jump scare occur once again. Returning to the GCPD and speaking to Officer Boulden would reveal that Kirk Langstrom apparently morphed back into Man-Bat and broke out of his cage, with Aaron Cash firing at him but missing due to the speed at which he flew. Batman would state how "He was afraid this would happen", prompting Boulden to reply with "Happy Halloween, huh?"
- This scene not only occurs when the date is Halloween of 2015, any other Halloweens will trigger the cutscene.
- Fittingly, Man-Bat's first appearance/jump scare could only be activated on Miagani Island, which was known for its long history of involving bats.
- Some Thugs saw Man-Bat flying through the sky, but mistook him for Batman, and commented on how he looks "more like a bat", and "is a little hairier these days". Militia can also be heard wondering about a "possible sighting of a second Batman".
- After leaving the Clock Tower the first time in the Main Story, and after Batman and Commissioner Gordon were done talking, Man-Bat could be spotted gliding near Panessa Studios, before dive-bombing offscreen.
- It's possible Kirk had just mutated into Man-Bat moments before.
- As there doesn't appear to be a way for the Langstroms' to watch the news, it's likely this is why Kirk didn't abandon Gotham with the rest of the citizens.
- Man-Bat was one of the few villains in Arkham Knight who didn't work with Scarecrow.
- Man-Bat can be found flying around without activating the jumpscare.
- Kirk is never directly referred to by the Man-Bat alias in the game, although Cash tentatively decides on the nickname for the Evidence Locker.
- Dr. Langstrom appears to be the only person in the game to not discover Batman's true identity. After Scarecrow reveals it to the world, every person at the GCPD building mentions something about it to Bruce, but Kirk never does this. This is likely because he was too caught up in his grief to notice what was going on around him, or he heard about it but simply was too grief-stricken to bring it up to Batman. Also considering he was not a criminal prior to his transformation, it's unlikely Langstrom ever had much reason to be concerned or interested with Batman and his true identity.
- Kirk is the only character in the series to be seen naked, although everything considered inappropriate is covered. The other character who can be considered naked is Clayface. He was given a pair of pants at some point between Batman taking him out of the Batmobile and being spoken to while in the isolation chamber.
- The character was voiced by Loren Lester who had previously voiced Dick Grayson in the acclaimed series Batman: The Animated Series and Its subsequent follow ups In the DC Animated Universe.