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On Leather Wings
Season 1, Episode 2
On Leather Wings Title Card
Air date 6 September, 1992
Directed by Kevin Altieri
Written by Mitch Brian
Music by Shirley Walker
Airdate Sequence
Previous
The Cat and the Claw Part I
Next
Heart of Ice
Production Sequence
Previous
-
Next
Christmas with the Joker

On Leather Wings is the pilot episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It introduces the iconic villain Man-Bat to the show and explains the background story behind the character. This episode also marks the first appearance of Harvey Bullock, Harvey Dent, Alfred Pennyworth, Hamilton Hill, Dr. March and Francine Langstrom. This is also the first time on the show that the Batmobile and the Batcomputer are portrayed.

Despite being the first produced episode, it was the second to be aired. (See Notes.)

SynopsisEdit

Batman is labeled as the culprit in a series of aerial attacks on pharmaceutical companies. But the caped crusader's own investigation leads him to Dr. Kirk Langstom, whose experiments at crossing species have turned him into the fearsome Man-Bat.

PlotEdit

All seems quiet in Gotham City, until a half-bat/half-human creature ghosts past the Gotham Air One police blimp, breaks into Phoenix Pharmaceuticals, and assaults a security guard before stealing assorted chemicals from the laboratories. This is the latest in a series of such break-ins at pharmaceutical companies.

On Leather Wings 07 - Batman is wanted

Batman is wanted by the law

The report from the blimp and the wounded security guard leads Detective Harvey Bullock, after an unauthorized interview with The Gotham Glazer, to petition Mayor Hamilton Hill for a special task force designed to eliminate the strange "Batman" that has appeared around the city. Commissioner James Gordon objects, stating that the police are already on the case, but the mayor grants the request and D.A. Harvey Dent promises Bullock immunity.

In the days following the Phoenix break-in, Batman investigates the robberies. Sneaking into the crime scene by dosing the guarding police officer with knock-out gas, Batman is spotted by two scientists. They notify the police, and Bullock radios for his squad to join him at the scene.

Batman investigates and discovers an audio tape of the creature as well as some hair samples. The police task force tries ineffectively to trap him at the crime scene but ends up merely blowing out the third floor of the building, allowing Batman to escape with the samples.

As Bruce Wayne, Batman takes the samples to the Bat Exhibit at the Gotham Zoo, where he meets a married couple on staff, Drs. Kirk Langstrom and Francine Langstrom, and her father Dr. March. March seems quite obsessed with bats, which he insists are the only creatures able to survive the next evolutionary cataclysm, while humans aren't. Bruce asks the zoologists to analyze the evidence from the crime scene, passing it off as a pest problem at Wayne Manor.

On Leather Wings 32 - Kirk Langstrom and his formula

Langstrom's mysterious serum

In the Batcave, the Batcomputer has failed to match either the sounds or the hairs with any species known to man. Dr. March calls back and gives a perfectly plausible scientific explanation: the hairs are from a common brown bat, while the sounds are actually a mixture of sounds from the bats and a nest of starlings fighting in the chimney. The explanation proves false, given the Batcomputer's inability to find a match with either species. Batman concludes that March is lying, and the zoo staff are somehow involved.

Later that night, Batman enters the zoo laboratory and finds Kirk working alone. Working from his father-in-law's theories, Kirk has created a formula that temporarily transforms him into a Man-Bat creature. Kirk has become addicted to the formula, to the point where he thinks of the Man-Bat as its own independent being, taking the necessary steps to continue its existence, such as stealing the chemicals necessary to keep making the formula. Now that he has destroyed Batman's evidence, Kirk is only one component away from a formula that will make the transformation permanent, but now Batman has interrupted the process.

On Leather Wings 49 - Batman fights Man-Bat

Batman fights Man-Bat

Then Kirk finally transforms and attacks Batman. Man-Bat has the upper hand until he recoils at the sight of his wife who came to his lab and he leaves in shame. Batman uses his Grapple Gun to get a hold of Man-Bat's leg and Man-Bat drags Batman through the sky across half of Gotham. Both of them fly past a police helicorpter, allowing Gordon and Bullock to see that the Man-Bat and Batman are in fact two different people. Batman causes Man-Bat to crash against a building, knocking him unconscious.

Batman takes Man-Bat to the Batcave, he analyzes the chemical makeup of the formula and reverses the transformation. He then delivers an unconscious but fully-restored Kirk to Francine, and Batman tells her that Man-Bat is gone, for now.

CastEdit

Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne/Batman
Police Blimp Pilot (uncredited)
Bob Hastings Commissioner Gordon
Richard Moll Harvey Dent
Security Guard (uncredited)
Batcomputer (uncredited)
Lloyd Bochner Mayor Hill
Robert Costanzo Harvey Bullock
Clive Revill Alfred Pennyworth
Police Blimp Radioman (uncredited)
Marc Singer Kirk Langstrom/Man-Bat
Rene Auberjonois Dr. March
Pat Musick Female Lab Technician
Meredith MacRae Francine Langstrom

This article uses material from the On Leather Wings article at the DCAU Wiki and is licensed under the CC BY-SA License.

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