Bat Lash #1 (2008)

Bat Lash #1 (February, 2008)
“Guns and Roses, Chapter 1: Splendor in the Sage”
Writers – Peter Brandvold & Sergio Aragones
Artist – John Severin
Letterer – Pat Brosseau
Colorist – Steve Buccellato
Editors – Rachel Gluckstern & Michael Wright
Cover Price: $2.99

During the late 2000’s, I had kind of given up on my hopes of ever being a professional writer of any sort.  I was rapidly approaching my thirtieth birthday, and it just felt as though if it were going to happen… it already would have.  I have very little confidence in my writing ability and doubt very highly that anything I’d ever write would have any appeal to anyone other than myself.  At the time I was managing a branch of the company I worked for, and decided to curb my creative pursuits and go “all in” on my profession.

A good friend of mine noticed that I had stopped maintaining the blog I had been writing on for a few years prior, and reached out.  I was fairly unresponsive, too creatively depressed to even entertain doing any more writing.  It was late in the year 2007 when he told me to gear up for the upcoming Nanowrimo event.  I figured I didn’t have anything to lose, and said I’d give it a shot.

In the lead-up to November, I decided to stretch my writing muscles by writing comic book reviews.  I didn’t want to pursue anything wholly creative, as I was saving that for my attempt at the Great American Novel… I figured reviews would be a fun writing exercise.

During that time, I reached out to a few of the comic book news sites about submitting reviews to them.  To my surprise, most of those I contacted were actually interested in my writing for them.  I wrote reviews for a handful of sites for the next several months, and for the first time in as long as I remember I was enjoying writing again.  It all unfortunately came to an end when the company I worked for closed its doors and… for all intents and purposes, I kind of fell off the face of the Earth.

Why am I writing this?  Well, I recently came across my ancient 256mb thumb-drive (that I remember paying $50 for) that contained all of my old reviews.  I think it may prove a fun exercise (for me, anyway) to revisit some of them sporadically (not too often) to see if my impression of these books has changed or remained the same.  It will also afford me the opportunity to add pictures and some odd discussion.  I’d say maybe I could clean up the writing and grammar… but, I do believe that train has already left the station.  I write like I speak, and I most definitely do not speak grammatically sound.

This Bat Lash review was originally published on Broken Frontier during the week of 12/12/2007.  It is no longer accessible via their site, so I do not see the harm in reprinting it here…  First, however, a summary.

Bat Lash is playfully chasing his would-be gal Dominique Wilder across the West Texas landscape.  He finally catches her, and they fall into an embrace.  Nearby, Sheriff Brubaker (who believes Dominique to be his betrothed) and his men spy the proceedings and head off to nab Bat.

Bat’s lassoed, and dragged to a nearby tree to be hung.  At the last moment, Lash is saved the the local Comanche tribe.  It is revealed that two years earlier, Bat had saved the life of a young Comanche tribesman from a buffalo stampede.

Brubaker visits with Dominique’s father to inform him of the recent goings-on, and it is decided that Bat Lash will have to be killed.  Dominique overhears this conversation and mounts her horse in attempt to warn Bat about the pending attempt at his life.

Brubaker is able to catch her before she makes it to Bat, forcing himself on her before dragging her to a nearby cabin.  He stands before her, undoes his ammo belt and we are… [to be continued…]



2008:


Romance and Intrigue in the old West.  DC has brought back Bat Lash… but, was anybody actually asking for him?
 
Let me preface here by stating that I do not enjoy westerns… rather dislike them, actually.  I groan at the sight of them in film or print, and roll my eyes at the countless hours of Gunsmoke and Bonanza that clog up the weekend’s cable line-up.  All that being said, Bat Lash isn’t too bad of a book.
 
This having been my first exposure to Bat Lash, (and DC’s Western Comics entire library as a matter of fact) I feared I would find myself
lost in ages-old continuity and not be able to keep up.  Fortunately, the issue starts off in an easily accessible en medias res… introducing the characters suitably, and giving them all decent little personalities for an opening chapter. 
 
The characters, are too be expected… a bit cliché.  This is after all, a piece of writing that is predicated by both its environment and its era. In this case it’s the golden-haired “good” cowboy against the crooked sheriff of the county who’s clad in all black. Both are vying for the affections of a sweet young thing that seems to have more of an eye for Bartholomew Lash than Sheriff Brubaker.
 
The art, provided by John Severin is perfectly suited for this type of story… some of the panels look as though they were pulled straight
out of an old history book.  Walt Simonson’s cover is also a treat.
 
As I’d mentioned, I’m really not into Westerns.  That having been said, Peter Brandvold and Sergio Aragones have crafted a fun little story that left me a bit intrigued to see where this story’s headed.  Though, it’s unfortunately not so intrigued that I will actively pursue further issues of this series.  Great for what it is… just not for me.
 
 
2016:
 
Well, there’s my review… warts and all.  Upon rereading Bat Lash #1, I find that I have a much better appreciation for it.  I cannot remember if my if my more dismissive (if not outright negative) 2008 review is a result of my genuine disinterest, or if I did not want to come across as too “easy” of a reviewer.  This was a fine issue, and honestly, I would not mind seeking out the rest of this mini-series at some point down the line.  This was a perfectly fine set-up issue, and had an intriguing cliffhanger.  DC’s Digital Site has the entire series up at $0.99 each issue and Instocktrades has the collection in stock (currently at 45% off cover price).  Worth checking out if you’re into Western Comics.  John Severin’s art is such a departure from much of mainstream comics’ output that it is a real treat to behold.
 
 
Interesting Ads:
I dream about one day transferring my collection from the 60 longboxes I’ve got them in to these drawers
Too bad the cost as much to ship as they do to buy…
Zuda: DC’s relatively short-lived attempt at producing web comics.
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