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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Bat Lash 6 - the origin of Bat Lash

Bat Lash 6 (Aug/Sept 69) ventures into the dark past of the title character. Aragones, O'Neil and Cardy are joined by Mike Sekowsky on the inks for this tale. That's kind of unfortunate. The story simply doesn't look as good as the previous issues.

It is a darker story overall, though, so perhaps that was an active choice. The tale opens with Bat Lash coming across a preacher saying the last rites at a funeral. Bat Lash recognizes the man, and kills him, leaving the preacher lying in the open grave. The sheriff arrests Bat Lash and takes him to jail, where Bat Lash explains the story behind his murder.

We see the young Bartholomew Lash with his parents, younger brother Tom, sister Melissa, and his girlfriend, Bitsy. A travelling preacher, the same man we saw Bat Lash kill, draws the Louisiana farming family's attention to some oil on their property. He convinces the Lashes to temporarily sell their farm and invent in oil drilling equipment. The father does this, and they begin drilling but find nothing. Well, not until they discover an empty oil drum near the pool of oil the preacher had shown them.

Bart heads to the sheriff''s office to report the fraud, but the deputy is working with the preacher. Bart winds up killing the deputy to save his own life, but now has no way to prove that. Returning to their camp, he finds it on fire, and his parents dead. The two girls were off picking berries, and have no idea what happened to the brother.

Bart took the girls to a nunnery, leaving them there as he set out to find his parent's killers.

So throughout the series we have seen so far, although there really had been no hint of it, Bat Lash had been hunting down the Midas Gang, who had scammed many families the same way. Over the years, Lash had found and killed all of them, except the preacher, until coming across him at the top of the tale. The sheriff believes his story, and decides to let Bat Lash go free.

Bat returns to the nunnery, only to learn that his sister and Bitsy are now about to become full out nuns. His sister says she no longer knows him, that he has become too scary and violent, and refuses to even let him see Bitsy, which is really kind of assholish. Bat Lash is pissed off, but leaves, and never returns to the nunnery.

The next issue is sort of a follow up to this one, as we find out what happened to his younger brother.

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