Villain Overview


There are no innocent people. Life is a contact sport, son. Which makes everyone a combatant. You never figured that out. You were always weak--naïve. A stain on my name. I remember at the club, when we'd cross paths with the "great" Thomas Wayne. How embarassed I'd be to have you at my knee. Whereas Bruce--now there was a boy. Stoic. Focused. Disciplined. Even then. And what did I have? You. An abject failure. And even now. Your Man-Bat was a weakling, easily beaten, easily broken. The only thing of your own and still you required me to take it over, to improve it, to give it wings and make it soar. Stay out of my way, Kirk. I've held your head above water long enough. But you should know now... I'm not above a filicide.
~ Abraham threatens and warns his son Kirk.

Abraham Langstrom, better known as Man-Bat, is the main villain of issues #28 and #29 of the Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) series, titled Corporate Raider and In The Shadow respectively.

He's the father of Kirk Langstrom, the original Man-Bat, a corporate raider and the CEO of Patriarch Biopharmaceuticals. A very prolific and cold man, Abraham injected himself with the Man-Bat serum to find new thrills and became the new and most dangerous incarnation of Man-Bat in the New 52 continuity.

Appearance

As Abraham Langstrom

Abraham as seen in Issue #29, drawn by Jorge Lucas

Despite being twice as old as his son (for reference, Kirk in the New 52 continuity is somewhere between his 20s and 30s), Abraham still keeps himself in excellent condition due to his training regiment. When he's first seen in issue #28, he is depicted as a very large and extremely muscular man. While still bulky in the following issue, he appears to look quite smaller.

He has tan (pale shade of brown in the first part of the story, blonde in the second) colored hair and eyebrows, and only a handful of wrinkles in spite of his age (which are drawn more pronouncedly in the second part of the story).

As Man-Bat

Abraham as Man-Bat, drawn by Jorge Lucas

As the new Man-Bat, Abraham is much larger than his son or anyone else who has ever taken the serum, with bigger muscles, enormous jaws and a much thicker neck. He was nearly twice as tall as he was in human form while as Man-Bat, with a wingspan many times that of his own height. Only a few pieces of his clothing remain after the transformation.

His eyes were red and his hair was the same color he had in human form, but his skin changed to match that same color.

Personality

Microchiropteran bat DNA is a valuable resource. Helps regrow the tympanic membrane, stimulate the auditory nerves. Lets deaf folks hear ultrasonic frequencies, navigate via biosonics, echolocation. The world is their oyster and all that. Kirk understood this, sure, but he couldn't see past the top of his test tube. Me, on the other hand, I don't see people as deaf or disabled. I see them as dollar signs. There are thirty-three million people in the world who have some form of deafness. That's a lot of dollar signs.
~ Abraham on how he sees those in need.

Abraham is a very greedy and despicable man, with nerves of steel, focus and ambition, qualities he seemingly always had. Loathed by his rival Thomas Wayne as well as Thomas' wife Martha as explained by Lucius Fox and Alfred Pennyworth to Bruce Wayne, he described Abraham as the perfect foil to Thomas and Patriarch Biopharmaceuticals being the precise opposite of Wayne Enterprises. Whereas Thomas gave his life blood to Gotham, Abraham and his corporations always sucked from it.

He despised his own son for never measuring up, for lacking his ambition and for not being as stoic, focused or disciplined as his rival's son (Bruce) who he held great affection for, perhaps because he reminded him of himself. His hatred went as far as threatening to kill him if he got in his way, and as shown during his attacks to homeless shelters, Abraham has no qualms about killing young people or children, especially if they're homeless, who he sees as the dirty side of Gotham who take a toll on the city and who he must clean up, the people who don't contribute and won't be missed, those with no relatives to stay on top of the police, to press charges or to bring influence to bear. When his company was developing the new Man-Bat serum, he told them not to trash the faulty version they came across, but to dump it in Africa since no one was watchin, even with a 13% possibility of blindness being a side-effect.

Abraham is a very hard man, much like Batman, sharing toughness, discipline and determination. According to Alfred, what set Batman apart from him was a moral compass.

Biography

Background

Somehow, some way (though likely mostly through questionable means), Abraham became a very successful individual in Gotham City, earning his first million dollars by the age of 22 and his first billion by 30. As a billionaire, he did many things over the years: he took three companies public and tore them apart, flew a private jet, hiked Kilimanjaro, won two America's Cups, among likely many others.

At some point, Abraham had a son with an unknown woman, this son was named Kirk, who Abraham always saw as a failure.

His family often overlapped with another that also held a lot of power in Gotham, the Waynes, who weren't very fond of Abraham himself, especially Thomas Wayne who despised the man. Abraham became a rival to Thomas Wayne, whereas Thomas and his company Wayne Enterprise gave more life to the city, Abraham and his corporations such as Patriarch Biopharmaceuticals always sucked it away, plucking out what was valuable and discarding the rest: Workers, pensions, jobs... Whatever it took. Despite the animosity with Thomas Wayne, however, whereas he always thought his son Kirk never measured up, he held a great affection for Thomas' son Bruce, who was stoic, disciplined and focused, qualities he liked.

However, the road to success and fortune left him with little else to do for the thrills. That was, until his disappointment of a son created the Man-Bat serum.

The New Man-Bat

Abraham's debut, drawn by Ethan Van Sciver

After becoming aware of the Man-Bat virus that struck Gotham at one point and that behind this accident his own son was responsible, he gathered all he could find across the world, buying it from his son, his son's wife Francine and even Talia Ghul (who had been using it to turn the League of Shadows into an army of Man-Bat super-soldiers), among countless others.

For a week or more, Abraham used the serum to transform into the new Man-Bat every now and again, killing the homeless of Gotham, at least three per week.

Since many citizens of Gotham had become Man-Bats before, no one suspected Abraham aside from his own son. Batman discovered who it was by interrogating Kirk and fully analyzing saliva taken from one of Abraham's victims. After killing another homeless man, Abraham paid a visit to his son, telling him not to try anything.

Batman VS Man-Bat

Abraham was sneak-attacked by Batman one night as he hunted for new victims, and he easily defeated the vigilante, dropping him to the streets below, though Batman managed to anchor himself to two buildings and saved himself from the fall. Batman warned commissioner Gordon, but due to a lack of evidence, they couldn't go after Abraham.

Later on, while Abraham had dinner in Langstrom Mansion, Batman came to intimidate and interrogate him, and while the hero wasn't successful on the former, Abraham spilled out his objective, revealing why Man-Bat targeted only the homeless. By searching through some data on his Bentley's GPS, Batman noticed Abraham had passed by a homeless shelter, and correctly he deduced Abraham would strike there that night.

After transforming and attacking the shelter, Abraham faced Batman one more time. He bit down on the vigilante, sucking his blood, but Abraham had been outsmarted, as Batman had administrated the antidote to the Man-Bat serum into his bloodstream. Abraham turned back into a man and was taken in by the police, and to court a few days later, where he was deemed not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.

He was free, and bragged in his way out while talking to the press, but was interrupted by a little girl, whose father was one of the homeless Abraham had killed. Feeling seemingly miserable, Abraham went back to his mansion, telling the press to stop asking him any more questions.

As he settled back home, he looked out of a window, staring down Batman who remained vigilant from a nearby rooftop.

Powers and Abilities

Kirk: My God. It's true. I didn't want to believe that you could make the mistakes I've made.
Abraham: The mistakes you made? Is that what you think? That I'm following in the footsteps of my miserable failure of a son? Look at me. Look at what I can do. I am nothing like that piddling airborne beast you became. You had a notion, sure, but as with everything else, you had no idea how to execute. You couldn't stabilize the serum. Couldn't monetize it. Couldn't enhance it into something grand.
Kirk: Stabilize it? That's what you call this? Stable? Look at you--
Abraham: Yes. Let's look at me. I'm twice your age, and I'm fitter, leaner, tougher than you ever were.
~ Kirk and Abraham

Abraham's trap door

As a human, Abraham wasn't quite as intelligent as his scientist son, but he was a very bulky and tall man, presumably quite strong due to his size in spite of his age. He installed a trap door in his mansion, from which to fly through and out after turning into Man-Bat.

Batman is unable to defeat Man-Bat in their first battle

While mutated as Man-Bat, Abraham doesn't appear to lose his sentience as other Man-Bats did as he's still self-aware and can hear his own thoughts, but he becomes a rabid and ferocious beast with enough flight speed to match Batman's plane and enough strength to smash through thick concrete walls with ease. His skin was much tougher than the average Man-Bat, as shown when Batman tried to administer the antidote via a syringe, which snapped as soon as the needle made contact with Abraham's hide. Additionally, Abraham possessed incredibly powerful jaws, capable of biting through Batman's bulletproof suit and piercing through his ribs. Through his incisors, he could suck out all the blood in a human in a minute or less.

Quotes

Abraham Langstrom

Julie: Morning, Mr. Langstrom.
Abraham: Please, Julie. You can call me Abraham.
Andrea: (whispering to Julie) Better not.
Julie: The stockholders meeting is at three o'clock--
Abraham: Push it to tomorrow.
Julie: But the top investors flew in from Shanghai--
Abraham: Did I express curiosity about the travel schedule of secondary shareholders?
~ Abraham and two of his secretaries.
Abraham: No, don't trash faulty serum--dump it in Africa.
Scientist: We'll get pennies on the dollar.
Abraham: If you get enough pennies, they add up to dollars.
Scientist: But we had 13% side effects of blindness on top of--
Abraham: Thus, Africa. Who's watching?
~ Abraham and two of his workers.
How much would you pay to hear again? To give a new life to your little daughter or beloved newborn? More than you'd pay for your laptop? Your car? Your house? If not, if you prioritize your material needs over the health of your children... what kind of person does that make you?
~ Abraham, thinking to himself.
We've got eighty percent market share. A full pipeline. But best of all... I've got a new toy.
~ Abraham about the Man-Bat serum.
It's an addiction. Like money. Like power. There are highs--soaring highs. And withdrawal. I can make it through the day. Without. But at night... the hunger comes.
~ Abraham transforms.
The brain doesn't turn off, but thoughts? They made beneath a white-noise rush of sound. Body and mind are hooked into something more primal. Muscle memory. Animal instinct. Years of evolutionarily selected behavior rising in the blood. The need for speed, sure. But more than that... the need to feed.
~ Abraham as Man-Bat as he sucks out all the blood from a homeless man.
The blood of others, it invigorates me. Slakes the thirst and yet quickens it, too. I can feel it thrumming through my veins. Turning me into something stronger. Something better. Something as pure as the driven snow. Few people are ever in a position to realize that once you achieve everything, life loses its charm. And yet I found it again. Found it in a needle. A rush of color into a world gone gray. The thought of the hunt possesses me. And the memory of the blood feast sustains me in between. It's an addiction, yes... but one I don't want to quit.
~ Abraham as he comes home and trains while hanging upside down.
Abraham: Okay. You're here. I'd heard about the thin-air trick. So bravo. Color me impressed. Now what are you gonna do? Kick out my teeth?
Batman: Thought I might elbow them out. New boots and all.
Abraham: Hey. Look at that. It's got a sense of humor. Middling, but still...
Batman: I know what you've been doing.
Abraham: That's a list so long I can't say which line item you're referring to.
Batman: Man-Bat
Abraham: Coming from Bat-Man, that's rich. Listen. This is my house. Every brick, every 2x4, every nail was paid for by my vision and talent. Who are you to come into my kitchen and cast aspersions? Clearly there's a lack of evidence, which is why you're here instead of a legitimate officer of the court. Every time you show your face, it's like a last gasp of desperation from Gotham herself.
Batman: When you'll slip, I'll be there.
Abraham: You haven't done your homework very well, then, world's greatest. I don't slip.
Batman: I'll get evidence on you. Catch you in the act if I have to.
Abraham: If I was Man-Bat--and I'm not saying I am--you'd never catch me. Because I'd be so much more powerful than you. Powerful enough to, say, snap a needle right in half before an antidote could be administered.
Batman: Why the homeless?
Abraham: Theoretically, of course?
Batman: Of course.
Abraham: Well, I believe Man-Bat's cleaning up those who take a toll on the city. Those who don't contribute.
Batman: Those who won't be missed, you mean. No relatives to stay on top of the police, to press charges, to bring influence to bear.
Abraham: And there's that.
Batman: Guess what? I miss them.
~ Batman interrogates Abraham.
Abraham: Of course I was temporarily insane. I was a giant friggin' bat! I don't know how that serum got into my bloodstream, but I can assure you that moving forward, Patriarch Biopharmaceuticals can give every assurance that nothing like this will happen again.
Reporter: Are you concerned at all about the judgements you were ordered to pay?
Abraham: I've got an umbrella policy with a cap of thirty mil. I'll let them untangle all that. I suppose that's the thing with homeless people, though, who's really gone sue? Besides, at the end of the day, how do you assign worth to people who don't contribute to society?
~ Abraham as he walks out of court with the press surrounding him.
Most of the work-a-day folks out there are too smart to fault me. They know that if they were in my calf-leather shoes, they'd do exactly what I do. I'm a modern overlord. And overlords have to make the tough choices. They have to ensure the system runs smoothly for those who matter. Because only those who matter can run the system smoothly. So that's what I do. I look for openings. Vulnerabilities. A company on its last legs... an industry that needs to be privatized, so it can run with efficiency. And profit... a bum who bloodsucks valuable resources from contributing citizens, straining Gotham's social services, cashing another welfare check. I wait. And I watch. And the city...? ...It watches me right back.
~ Abraham while at home, as the Batman remains vigilant outside and the two stare each other down.

About Man-Bat

Commissioner Gordon: My God. Third one this week. The pace... it's accelerating. Same distinctive puncture wounds at the upper chest. The body... literally bloodless.
Officer: It's like he's been suctioned out.
Commissioner Gordon: Which raises the question... What could do a thing like this?
~ Gordon, two officers and a paramedic inspect one of Abraham's victims.
Batman: Alfred? What's wrong?
Alfred: I must confess, master Bruce, of all your foes--and they are a delightful array...
Batman: What?
Alfred: Man-Bat has always unnerved me the most. He is the reverse of you, and not just in name. Where you patrol the skies, searching out injustice, he rules the air, hunting for prey. Where you preserve life, he leeches it.
~ Alfred deems Man-Bat the creepiest of Batman's foes.
I spot him below. A thing of the night. Like an airborne virus... like a winged curse... like me.
~ Batman encounters the new Man-Bat

Trivia

  • As issues #28 and #29 are the last two from the Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) series, that makes Abraham the final antagonist Batman faces in that run.
  • Abraham's training regiment may be inspired by Batman's own in the 1989 film, as they both train while hanging upside down in a bat-like way.
  • Abraham has a statue of Atlas in his mansion, perhaps in reference to the disorder named after the Titan.
  • In Detective Comics #1003 a Man-Bat-like character can be seen imprisoned in Arkham Asylum. Given its large size (dwarfing even Clayface), it's likely that this is Abraham, but this hasn't been confirmed.
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