Francine Langstrom

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Francine Langstrom
Francine Lee-Langstrom.png
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #402 (August, 1970)
Created byFrank Robbins (writer)
Neal Adams (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoFrancine Evelyn Lee
Team affiliationsOutsiders
Notable aliasesShe-Bat
AbilitiesFlight, echolocation, enhanced sight and hearing, superhuman strength

Francine Langstrom is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe, a supervillain and occasional superhero, and fiancée, later wife of Kirk Langstrom. She is also known as She-Bat.

Publication history[edit]

She-Bat first appeared in Detective Comics #402 and was created by Frank Robbins and Neal Adams.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Francine Lee was the fiancée of scientist Kirk Langstrom at the time that she first encountered the Batman. It was the Batman who first revealed to Francine that her husband-to-be, Kirk Langstrom, had mutated himself into a hideous Man-Bat. At one point, the Batman had captured the Man-Bat and tried to give him an antidote to his condition, but the Man-Bat fought him at every turn. He even tried bringing Francine to the Batcave in the hopes that she could convince Langstrom to take the antidote willingly.

Kirk escaped, however, and when he next reunited with Francine, forced her to take the same bat gland extract that he had taken as proof of her love and devotion to him. Although Francine was terrified, she knew that somewhere within the Man-Bat's insanity lay the soul of the man she loved. Francine took the serum and like Kirk, mutated into a creature with bat-like qualities. The two "Man-Bats" decided to marry one another. At their wedding, they donned latex masks to disguise their features, but the Batman interrupted the ceremony and exposed them in front of all their guests. Batman fought against Francine and Kirk and was finally able to defeat them by using the cathedral’s bells to incapacitate them. Upon doing so, Batman administered his cure to both of them, turning them back to normal.

A few months later, the Langstroms traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, to study a rare breed of vampire bat that had surfaced following underground nuclear tests in New Mexico. While examining one of the bats, Francine pricked her finger on a fang and the toxin activated the dormant Man-Bat gene that still resided in her body. She transformed into a monster once again, but this time with more vampiric characteristics, including enhanced strength. In this iteration, Francine could only transform into a She-Bat during the nights of the full moon.

An uncontrollable savage, Francine began terrorizing the streets of Las Vegas, biting victims upon the neck and drinking their blood. When news of her rampage reached Gotham City, Batman believed that it was Kirk Langstrom who had become the Man-Bat. He flew out to Vegas and fought the She-Bat on the roof of a Vegas casino. After the initial fight, Batman deduced that his opponent was not Kirk Langstrom at all, but Francine. Finding Kirk, the two tracked Francine to a cave where Batman ensnared her with his batrope. He then administered the same antidote he had used in this past and Francine was once again cured.

This treatment did not last long, however. A year later, a professor of Medieval history from Antioke University known as Baron Tyme used his sorcery to take control of Francine. Turning her back into the She-Bat, he had Francine attack and kill a former colleague of his named Professor Raymond Arthur. Kirk Langstrom became the Man-Bat again and used hypnosis to break Baron Tyme's hold over her. Kirk defeated Tyme and the sorcerer apparently died in his tower chamber when the room caught on fire.

Batman consulted with Langstrom about his wife's condition and insisted that he give Francine a full blood transfusion. Kirk brought Francine to his home town of Chicago where she lived with him at the Lakeshore Manor Apartments. He kept a steady vigil over her condition and fortunately for them both, the blood transfusion appeared to have cured her.

The Langstroms had two children, Rebecca and Aaron. While Rebecca was a normal human (excluding the times when her whole family was mutated into Man-Bats), Aaron was born a mutant bat-creature due to the serum in his parents' systems. She also served as the lead scientist for the Outsiders to help them with their missions.

In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Francine is reimagined as a more villainous character. She met Kirk as a research assistant and supposedly loved him for his conviction in developing the Man-Bat serum for curing the deaf. When Kirk transformed into the Man-Bat to help cure the city of the Man-Bat epidemic, she decided to bring Kirk back so he could perfect the formula for its original purpose, then she would take the formula herself and transform into the She-Bat. With some reported deaths Kirk began to think that he lacked control over the beast, but he discovered that Francine's Man-Bat formula differentiated from his as the bat she used was a South American vampire bat. It is revealed that Francine only married Kirk to ensure the company that he would complete the serum and then have him killed so she could inherit a large sum of money. She developed her own serum after Kirk turned into the Man-Bat in order to keep her job. Kirk tried to help cure her, but she preferred her new form and attacked Kirk, but ultimately refused to kill him. Kirk combined the two serums in order to become a stronger beast and defeat Francine, and Francine mocked him by acknowledging that he could only beat her by becoming like her. She is later charged for the murders that she committed as the She-Bat.[1]

She is later released from Arkham by the Penguin and sent to attack Harley Quinn, demonstrating that she has much better control over her transformation than Kirk does. She injects the Man-Bat formula into Harley and her friend Tony to turn them into Man-Bats. However, Harley ultimately regains control over herself after Francine threatens Harley's friends and defeats the She-Bat.[2]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Her mutation into She-Bat endowed her with the same abilities as her husband. Her leathery wings allow for self-propelled flight and precision while in the air. She also possesses enhanced senses of hearing and a unique echolocation ability. Her physical strength is likewise superhuman in her transformed state.

Alternate versions[edit]

In the Batman Beyond comic, which is set years after Batman: The Animated Series, Bruce revealed that Kirk and Francine lived a normal life, started research in sonics, and had two children after the two Man-Bat incidents, but she developed an aggressive form of Parkinson's disease. Kirk tried to perfect the Man-Bat formula to save her, but was too late. Kirk's children left him, angered that he did not give as much attention to his wife during her final days.[3]

In the comic prequel to Justice League: Gods and Monsters, it is shown that this version of Francine was Kirk's best friend and first girlfriend in high school. However Kirk distances himself from her and her husband due to his obsession with science and his eventual transformation into the Man-Bat.[4]

In the Amalgam universe, she is Francine Sallis; her character is an amalgamation with Ted Sallis' (Man-Thing's) ex-wife Ellen Brandt.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Francine Langstrom was featured in Batman: The Animated Series, voiced by Meredith MacRae. She was featured in the first episode "On Leather Wings" where she met Bruce Wayne with her father and husband Kirk Langstrom. Francine later witnessed a fight break out between Man-Bat and Batman. After Batman is able to create an antidote to turn Kirk back to normal, Francine has her husband returned to her. The episode "Terror in the Sky" is loosely based on the comic book Man-Bat Over Vegas, although the setting has been changed to Gotham Harbor and she is not portrayed as a vampire bat. In keeping with the show's family-friendly nature, her character is instead made into a monstrous fruit-bat, but otherwise much of the story remains the same. Batman suspects Man-Bat has returned to Gotham, receiving reports of a giant man-sized bat terrorizing the Gotham docking area. Francine expresses concern over her own safety, and informs Kirk that she will not put up with these experiments anymore. After she leaves, Batman views Kirk as a suspect while Langstrom questions whether the antidote has actually made unstable transformations. When Batman wants a sample of Kirk's blood to test, a terrifying giant bat is encountered and Batman is lucky to find a lock of the bat's hair. Batman discovers Langstrom is innocent, and informs that another unknown person is using the Man-Bat formula. Langstrom informs Batman that Francine has left on a plane worried for her safety. He decides to get on the Plane himself and tell her the good news. Searching though the files, Batman then discovers that Dr. March (Francine's father) has recreated the Man-Bat mutagen on his own (even more powerful). When Batman asks where the new batch is, Dr. March reveals it was accidentally destroyed, but that he will use the improved formula to recreate it. He explains that in the middle of his work, he was startled by Francine, and dropped the beaker of the substance on the floor. Before March could react, she reached down to clean up the substance, and then she pricked her finger on the broken glass. Then Dr. March realizes that she was infected and that he has turned Francine into a monstrous She-Bat. Repentant, he finally sets fire to his Man-Bat research. Realizing the danger that Kirk is in, Batman rushes to the Batwing. On board the airplane, Kirk makes up with Francine, revealing to her that he is not the creature. Francine begins getting a headache, and makes her way to the bathroom, where she transforms into She-Bat. She went on rampage on the airplane's, kicking out the cabin door, and takes her husband Kirk with her. As Batman arrives in the Batwing, he sees She-Bat take off for the top of the Gotham Bridge. She drops an unconscious Kirk on the top of the tower, and fights Batman. He manages to inject her with the three antidotes, and after punching and sending Batman to the floor, she painfully transforms back into normal. Unaware of where she is or what is happening, she sees Kirk unconscious and walks towards him, but looks down and suffers from vertigo. Batman is helplessly too far away. But Kirk begins to come back to his senses, and wakes just in time to save her from falling off the tower. As Batman departs, Kirk reassures Francine that "the nightmare's finally over".
  • Francine Langstrom later made a cameo appearance in The New Batman Adventures. In the episode "Chemistry", she is seen with her husband at Bruce Wayne's wedding.

Film[edit]

Video games[edit]

Francine Langstrom appears in Batman: Arkham Knight. She and Kirk Langstrom were developing the Man-Bat serum to cure deafness, but Kirk went out of control upon transforming into Man-Bat and seemingly killed Francine. However, some time after Batman has cured Kirk who is locked up in GCPD, revisiting their laboratory reveals Francine's body is no longer there. The nearby television screen, where the video recordings of their experiences, Kirk's transformation and her supposed death were seen, is broken and displays the words "forever my love" written in blood indicating she survived the incident, but was infected as She-Bat.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Detective Comics #23.4 (Nov 2013). DC Comics.
  2. ^ Harley Quinn #35-36 (March 2018). DC Comics.
  3. ^ Higgins, Kyle. Batman Beyond 2.0 #13. DC Comics.
  4. ^ DeMatteis, J.M. Justice League - Gods & Monsters - Batman #1. DC Comics.

External links[edit]