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|First appearance||Detective Comics #402 (August, 1970)|
|Created by||Frank Robbins
|Alter ego||Francine Evelyn Lee|
|Notable aliases||Francine Langstrom|
|Abilities||Flight, echolocation, enhanced sight and hearing, superhuman strength|
She-Bat (Francine Evelyn Lee, later Langstrom) is a fictional character, a supervillain and occasional superhero, and fiancée, later wife, of scientist Kirk Langstrom in the DC Comics universe. She first appeared in Detective Comics #402.
Fictional character biography
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 laid 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 one 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 an underground 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 didn't 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 her whole family was mutated into Man-Bats), Aaron was born a mutant bat 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 The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), 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 that to bring Kirk back so he could perfect the formula for its original purpose, that she would take the formula herself and transforms into the She-Bat. With some reported deaths Kirk begins to think he lacks control over the beast, but he discovers that Francine's Man-Bat formula differentiated from his as the bat she used was a South American vampiric bat. It is revealed that Francine only married Kirk to ensure the company that he'd 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 combines the two serums in order to become a stronger beast and defeat Francine, and Francine mocks him by acknowledging that he could only beat her by becoming her. She is later charged with her committed murders.
Powers and abilities
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 researching 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.
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 Batman.
In the Amalgam universe, she is Francine Sallis; her character is an amalgamation with Man-Thing's ex-wife Ellen Brandt.
In other media
Francine was featured in two episodes of 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 Kirk. She later witnesses a fight break out between her transformed husband and Batman. Afterwards Batman is able to create an antidote to turn Kirk back to normal and returns him 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 Francine is not portrayed as a Vampire Bat. In keeping with the family-friendly nature of the show, Francine is instead made into a monstrous fruit-bat, but otherwise much of the rest of the story remains the same. Batman suspects Man-Bat has returned to Gotham, when he begins to receive reports of a giant man-sized bat terrorizing the Gotham docking area. Langstrom's wife, Francine, expresses concern over her own safety, and informs Kirk that she will not put up with his experiments anymore. After she leaves, Batman arrives and informs Kirk that he is a suspect. Langstrom questions whether or not the antidote has actually made his transformations unstable, believing that he might be transforming into Man-Bat against his will. Batman demands to take a sample of his blood to test it. As Batman is leaving, he encounters the terrifying giant bat, and after the ensuring fight, Batman is lucky to find a lock of the Bat's hair has been caught in his suit. After comparing the DNA, Batman discovers Langstrom is innocent, and informs him that another unknown person is using his Man-bat formula. Langstrom informs Batman that his wife, Francine, has left him, worried for her safety, and is about to board a plane leaving Gotham. Searching though the files, Batman then discovers, to his horror, that Francine's father, Dr. March, has recreated the Man-Bat mutagen, working at night on his own. He tells Batman that he has refined it, and made it 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 pricked her finger on the broken glass. But Dr March now realizes 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 plane, Kirk makes up with Francine, revealing to her that he isn't the creature. Francine begins getting a headache, and makes her way to the bathroom, where she transforms into She-Bat. She rips apart the airplane, kicking out the cabin door, and grabs Kirk. 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 antidote, and after sending Batman to the floor, she painfully transforms back into Francine. 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 revive, and wakes just in time to save Francine from falling off the tower. As Batman departs, Kirk reassures Francine that "the Nightmare's finally over". Francine later makes a cameo with her husband at Bruce Wayne's wedding in the episode "Chemistry" of The New Batman Adventures.
Francine appears in Batman: Arkham Knight. She and Kirk were developing the Man-Bat serum to cure deafness, but Kirk seemingly went out of control and killed Francine upon transforming into Man-Bat. However, some time after Batman has cured Kirk and locked him 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 and became She-Bat.
- Higgins, Kyle. Batman Beyond 2.0 #13. DC Comics.
- DeMatteis, J.M. Justice League - Gods & Monsters - Batman #1. DC Comics.