Francine Langstrom

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Francine Langstrom
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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
AbilitiesAs She-Bat:
  • Flight
  • Echolocation
  • Enhanced sight and hearing
  • Superhuman strength

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Francine Evelyn Langstrom (née Lee) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, usually in stories featuring the superhero Batman. She is the fiancée, later wife of Kirk Langstrom, who unwittingly transformed himself into the feral, bat-like creature known as Man-Bat. Francine would later use the same Man-Bat serum to become She-Bat, operating as both a supervillain and superhero.

Publication history[edit]

She-Bat first appeared in Detective Comics #402 (Aug 1970) and was created by Frank Robbins and Neal Adams.[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Francine Lee was the fiancée of scientist Kirk Langstrom at the time that she first encountered Batman. It was Batman who first revealed to Francine that Kirk had mutated himself into the feral Man-Bat. At one point, 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 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.

The New 52[edit]

In The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), Francine Langstrom is reimagined as a more villainous character. In this new timeline, she met Kirk as a research assistant and supposedly loved him for his conviction in developing the Man-Bat serum for curing deafness. 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.[2]

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.[3]

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 set decades after Batman: The Animated Series, Bruce reveals that Kirk and Francine lived a normal life, started research in sonics, and had two children, but she developed an aggressive form of Parkinson's disease. Kirk tried to perfect the Man-Bat formula to save her, but by the time he did, it was too late. Kirk's children later left him, angered that he did not give as much attention to Francine during her final days.[4]

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.[5]

In the Amalgam universe, the character is renamed Francine Sallis and is an amalgamation of the original Francine and Ted Sallis' (Man-Thing's) ex-wife Ellen Brandt.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Francine Langstrom appears in media set in the DC Animated Universe, voiced by Meredith MacRae.
    • Introduced in Batman: The Animated Series's first episode "On Leather Wings", she meets Bruce Wayne with her father Dr. March and husband Kirk Langstrom before later becoming caught in the battle between Batman and her husband after he was mutated into the Man-Bat. After Batman cures Kirk, Francine is reunited with her husband. She returns in the episode "Terror in the Sky", having been exposed to a fruit bat-based serum Dr. March was working on in an attempt to recreate the Man-Bat formula and transformed into She-Bat. However, she loses all memory as She-Bat when she reverts back and believes Kirk had taken the formula again when the Man-Bat seemingly returns. This eventually leads to her leaving Kirk, believing he lied to her, but Kirk proves her wrong with Batman's help and convinces her to stay. While Francine transforms into She-Bat and kidnaps Kirk, Batman pursues her and administers an antidote, curing her.
    • Francine also makes a cameo appearance in The New Batman Adventures episode "Chemistry", attending Bruce Wayne's wedding alongside Kirk.

Film[edit]

Francine Langstrom appears in the animated film Son of Batman, voiced by Diane Michelle. She and her daughter Rebecca are taken hostage by Deathstroke to force Kirk Langstrom to create multiple Man-Bat serums, but are later rescued by Batman.

Video games[edit]

Francine Langstrom appears in Batman: Arkham Knight. She and her husband Kirk Langstrom were developing a vampire bat-based serum to cure deafness, but Kirk transformed into a feral, bat-like creature upon testing it on himself and attacked Francine, seemingly killing her. While investigating the Langstroms' laboratory, Batman finds Francine's corpse. If Batman revisits the lab after curing Kirk and incarcerating him however, he finds Francine's body gone and a broken television screen with the words "Forever my love" written on it.

References[edit]

  1. Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 229–230. ISBN 9780345501066. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Detective Comics #23.4 (Nov 2013). DC Comics.
  3. Harley Quinn #35-36 (March 2018). DC Comics.
  4. Higgins, Kyle. Batman Beyond 2.0 #13. DC Comics. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  5. DeMatteis, J.M. Justice League - Gods & Monsters - Batman #1. DC Comics. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png

External links[edit]


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