|Batman: The Animated Series episode|
|"On Leather Wings"|
|Airdate:||September 6, 1992|
|Animation Services by:||Spectrum Animation Studio|
|Written by:||Mitch Brian|
|Directed by:||Kevin Altieri|
|Episode images (7)|
"On Leather Wings" is the second-aired episode of Batman: The Animated Series, though the first to be produced.
Act one Edit
All seems quiet in Gotham City, until a half-bat/half-human creature ghosts past the Gotham Air One police blimp, breaks into the fourth floor of 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.
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.
Act two Edit
Batman, investigating, 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 and Francine Langstrom, and Francine's father, Dr. March. Dr. 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.
In the Batcave, the Bat-Computer 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 in the chimney. The explanation proves false, given the Bat-Computer's inability to find a match. Batman concludes that March is lying, and the zoo staff are somehow involved.
Act three Edit
Later that night, Batman enters the zoo laboratory and finds Kirk Langstrom working alone. Working from his father-in-law's theories, Kirk has created a formula that temporarily transforms him into the Man-Bat. 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—i.e., 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 Batman has interrupted the process.
Then Kirk finally transforms and attacks. In the fight, the Man-Bat drags Batman through the sky across half of Gotham. Both of them fly past Gotham Air One, allowing Gordon and Bullock to see that the Man-Bat and Batman were, in fact, two different people.
Batman manages to subdue the Man-Bat. Taking him 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 his grateful wife.
- In Batman Beyond, Kirk Langstrom's formula would later be the basis for Abel Cuvier's Splicing formula.
- In Justice League Unlimited, Professor Milo claims to have collected Kirk Langstrom's notes for use by the genetics division of Project Cadmus.
Background information Edit
Home video releases Edit
- Batman: The Legend Begins (VHS)
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume One (DVD)
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Batman: The Legend Begins (DVD)
Production notes Edit
- Although this was the first episode made, the first aired episode of the series was "The Cat and the Claw, Part I", which was likely due to the success of Batman Returns.
- Danny Elfman's theme from the first Batman movie is strongly used in one scene.
Production inconsistencies Edit
- In the robbery report on the Batcomputer, the Carson Chemicals burglary is misspelled "buaglary".
- This episode was the first one to feature Batman bleeding. Bruce Timm stated on the DVD commentary for this episode that he and Paul Dini fought with the censors to allow this shot, which was deemed inappropriate for younger viewers.
- Producer Eric Radomski says in the commentary that he had a crush on Meredith MacRae, who voiced Francine Langstrom.
- Batman answers Dr. March's phone call saying "What's up, Doc?", Bugs Bunny's catchphrase.
- Dr. March's line "They're survivors", referring to bats, was similarly said by Batman in Tim Burton's Batman, "They're great survivors".
- This marks one of the very few times in the series where Batman speaks using Bruce Wayne's voice. It later happens in "Heart of Steel, Part I".
- For the Batman Beyond episode "Splicers", Will Friedle was given a tape of this episode to help him prepare for voicing his Man-Bat transformation.
- This episode's opening with Man-Bat's flying through Gotham is reversed shot for shot in the end of the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue" (which was originally written as the last aired episode in the DCAU) with Terry McGinnis. As such, the blimp pilot (voiced by Kevin Conroy) who asks "Did you see that?" is mirrored by a Gotham police officer (also voiced by Conroy) asking the same question as the last line spoken in the episode.
- In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Destroyer" (the actual DCAU's finale), Batman (Conroy) say the second to last line (of the DCAU) to Superman which mirrors Conroy voicing the second line of the DCAU.
- The opening of the episode is also mirrored in the opening scene of the Supernatural episode "Like A Virgin" with a small plane passenger asking the pilot if they "saw that" flying outside the window that looked like a large bat. Perhaps in respect to this, Batman is mentioned later in the episode.
|Kevin Conroy|| Bruce Wayne / Batman|
Police Blimp Pilot (uncredited)
|Bob Hastings||Commissioner Gordon|
|Richard Moll|| Harvey Dent|
Security Guard (uncredited)
|Lloyd Bochner||Mayor Hill|
|Robert Costanzo||Detective Bullock|
|Clive Revill|| Alfred|
Police Blimp Radioman (uncredited)
|Marc Singer||Kirk Langstrom / Man-Bat|
|Rene Auberjonois||Dr. March|
|Pat Musick||Female Lab Technician|
|Meredith MacRae||Francine Langstrom|
(first lines of the series and the DCAU)
| Previously produced episode:|
| Episodes of|
Batman: The Animated Series
| Next produced episode:|
"Christmas With the Joker"
| Previously aired episode:|
"The Cat and The Claw, Part I"
| Next aired episode:|
"Heart of Ice"