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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Bat Lash 4 - between Mexican soldiers and bandits


Cardy and O'Neil send our antihero south of the border in Bat Lash 4 (April/May 1969).


Once again Bat Lash has to flee a town right at the opening of the tale. The Laurel and Hardy gravediggers get a cameo in this scene.


Then Bat Lash comes to the aid of a young woman whose stagecoach is being robbed. He protects her and her gold, though he then "offers" to ride off with it, and bring it safely to the stagecoach office. Only when she mentions millions does Bat Lash change his mind, and decide to accompany her.


It proves to be a dangerous decision. The stagecoach is set upon by government soldiers, and then bandits as well. Bat Lash barely survives, but the bandits keep him around. The young woman gets tossed into a prison, and a young boy, the girl's younger brother, explains to Bat Lash how they are trying to prevent corrupt officials from enslaving the population, and getting aid from the governor. Bat Lash and the boy pull a dramatic escape from the fortress, a scene duplicated on the cover.


But they plunge into a freezing river. Bat Lash carries the boy back to his town through a horrible storm, but the boy dies along the way.


So even though Bat Lash succeeds in preventing the evil officials from killing the governor, and frees the young woman, and wins the love of the people for overthrowing their oppressors, he still winds up feeling like a shit, for taking payment, and not being able to save the boy.

Bat Lash just has so much more depth, and humour, than any other western series DC had released. And the art just pushes it all into brilliance.

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