Thirteen year old junior high school student Tim Quan doesn't show up at Barbara Gordon's for a tutoring session. When Barbara learns of a Bat sighting by an abandoned warehouse from a call from her father, she rushes to the scene and en route by bicycle notifies Katana in her role as Oracle to warn Batman. Katana advises that they are aware of the situation and that the GCPD and Batman are after the same target — Man-Bat. Batman notices something different with Man-Bat; he's smaller, faster, and emotional, but the creature manages to get away. Barbara enconters the younger version of Man-Bat in an alley and he reveals himself to be Tim Quon, who explains he followed what he thought was Batman (but really Man-Bat) into a building and accidentally doused himself with chemicals trying to find a light switch. Barbara offers to call her dad for help but a heavy wing flap from a panicked Tim knocks her out and he flies off with her.
Meanwhile, Batman has tracked down Man-Bat, who explains he was working on a cure and that Quon got exposed to chemicals causing his transformation and if not cured soon, could be fatal to him. Finding Quon's notebook, Batman learns Quon is a movie and astronomy buff, must like the movie "Rebel Without a Cause," and has taken Barbara to the Gotham Observatory. There, Batman, Katana and Man-Bat find them. Man-Bat manages to give Tim one dose of serum but it's not enough. Batman convinces Man-Bat to give Tim another dose (his last) since he's young and this was an accident. Tim, calmed by a revived Barbara who adminsters the serum, is then cured.
The story presented the reader with details that already seemed to be pre-established in this continuity, but it's not known when these events happened. To wit, how and when did Barbara adopt this Oracle persona; come to be an appararent aide of Batman and get Katana's phone number? When did Baman previously encounter Man-Bat, as Batman already knows Man-Bat is Kirk Langstrom? How did Kirk Langstrom find out he couldn't initially turn back to his human form? All likely moot questions. With only two issues left (the series has been cancelled and will stop with issue #6), I don't think we'll ever get the answers. Taking the story "as is," I thought this was fast-paced, established a romantic interest to Barbara Gordon, and I enjoyed it. This was the best issue of series to date in my opinion.
Beware the Batman #4:
Reviewed by Chris Karnes