glprime: (Default)
[personal profile] glprime posting in [community profile] scans_daily
So I was going to finally start getting Profile posts up for Resurrection Man today (his new series came out last week), but digging through my collection and trying to organize things, I came across a Batman one-shot title I had long seen the cover art for, and always wondered what it read like. Hold on to your hats, dear readers, as we travel back in time and space to 1998 Cardiff, Wales Scotland.

So this little work was authored by Alan Grant with art by Frank Quitely, (with colors by Eisner award winner Matt Hollingsworth), two native lads of Scotland who get an excuse to put Batman in the home country for a bit of fun mystery and adventure. I have some gripes, but let's start out strong.

Bruce Wayne is in country as a representative of the Wayne family to the re-burial of Sir Gaweyne de Weyne, knight of the Scottish Court during the Crusades.

I do like that they specify how the Wayne bloodline came into Scotland, but the name "Wayne" itself actually does come from Old English, not French origins.

Bruce notes that each of the gravestones of these Crusade era graves have had chunks broken off, very deliberately and very recently. On the ride back to town, he asks Alfred if he remembered to pack the costume.

Bruce tries to do his usual stealth thing, but runs into several goons with sledgehammers. Oh, no. Not sledgehammers.

Okay, Grant Morrison's "Bat God" this is not, but Bruce is actually caught more than once by surprise (by the same guy no less), so it seems a little more Cliched Action Hero failing than anything else.

Captain Ethnic there is one Sheona, and you have to like her for nothing else than the fact that she makes dramatic entrances with flags and she has attack birds. The birds may actually be more awesome than her.

A sudden mist descends (as it dramatically tends to do) and the grave defilers run off. Sheona has a camp site nearby and leads Batman to it. She asks Batman if he's the supernatural creature some say or he's just a guy in a suit. Batman says, and I quote, "I plead the 5th" and Sheona recognizes he's an American like her. She's in Scotland looking for her brother, but doesn't go into more detail. So since neither wants to explain what they're doing at the grave site, she tells a story...

So of course this awful sheep baron has his men shoot any dissenters and force them onto a ship (he even whips an old woman in the face). Ah, the history of my father's people, filled with grand romantic heritage and stories of one clan screwing over another in ways that make you hate humanity. The thing I don't get is the crew is ordered to take these people all the way to America. Why? Wouldn't it be cheaper to just sail down the coast and drop them far beyond their lands, hell, even in England?

Whatever, back to the main plot.

A car pursues Bruce's and starts opening up with heavy weapons. Alfred busts out the sick driving skills while also commentating on the beauty of the countryside... that they're missing at 80 miles per hour. The pursuing car runs over a barrier and lands on a deep shore. Bruce briefly interrogates the passengers and then leaves them for the police.

"Not involved with the local law"? Because there's gonna be so many luxury cars on the road out this way, Bruce?

As the plot involves Templars, things take a turn for the Dan Brown. Bruce visits the Chapel during the day, where a wild-haired "historian" makes a huff about the tour guide leaving out a lot of facts and information. Gee, wonder what his deal was?

Later that night, two of the grave defilers are now upping their game to church defilers.

Okay, that's a pretty pimp lair.

Well, I don't think it's completely untouched if you just smashed a bunch of Crusades era golden treasure with that heavy scepter. Seriously, dude, that crap easily deforms. Simmer down.

Batman gets caught by the same guy as before just outside, leading to a scuffle that ends with him being thrown off a cliff by the villain (certainly to his death, I'm sure... yeah, no).

Back at their Crime Shack, the villain continues on the story of what happened to all those people forced aboard that ship.

Technically, pockets of bubonic plague were still occurring long enough on in history to be considered part of the Industrial Revolution... just not really in Northern Scotland.

More implications than you can imagine there.

Bruce ruminates on the current holes of this case while Alfred enjoys what accounts to a vacation for him.

This came out several years after Azrael's debut, so this was less a precursor origin story than an extension of the mythos (or an excuse for the mugs to actually be dangerous as opposed to just lucky).

Bruce and Oracle figure out Fergus Slith (descendent of those put on the boat) is devising a way to kill the MacDubh clan wholesale. The best way Bruce can see how is by blowing up the pretty red bridge he's currently sailing under.

I like to imagine the process did nothing but make them think they have superhuman power, and they're actually just bending twigs, hoisting logs and shattering their hands.

Here's where the narration starts to just get in the way of Quitely's art.

Deadly plague virus? In a common mixing flask? Really? I would've googled if any labs actually HAD bubonic samples around, but I'm on enough government lists.

Apparently some of those old Asian masters Bruce studied with taught him the art of Calling Your Attacks. Or Grant is just downright allergic to allowing Quitely's art to Show rather than Tell.

Bruce stops all but the lead car from derailing in a way that REALLY violates basic physics.

On to Bruce's final night in Scotland, the family reunion in Edinburgh castle, which must be a swank and fancy affair equivalent to kings and movie stars-

-Or your high school prom.

I can't help but imagine Bruce has had one too many greasy weiner snacks and the last panel is the result. #istwelve

Bruce slips away and dons the costume for one final battle with Mr. Slith.

Yep. Definitely allergic to pictures telling the story.

Sheona (that's her being shielded from Bruce's apocalyptic bowel movement) then reveals that, of course, the villain is her brother. But unlike him, she's accepted the origins of their family and doesn't hold a homicidal grudge against the MacDubh (though it's stated in the flashback the grudge would be passed on "from father to son," so maybe that's why).

HA! Denied by birds. Awesome birds.

Unfortunately, Sheona has to tackle her brother over the side of the castle to stop his murderous rage. I wish I could say, "and they never find the bodies," but Quitely pretty explicitly shows us a panel of their shattered corpses on the shore. Yeesh.

And then Alfred gives Bruce a stuffed animal on the plane ride home.


Good morning, good day, good afternoon, good evening and good night, everybody.

Dial-up warning: 22 and 1/3rd pages from 68 pages of Batman: Scottish Connection.

Date: 2011-09-22 12:07 pm (UTC)
eyz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eyz
I remember reading this one in the TPB "BATMAN INTERNATIONAL"
Very fun lil' read :)
Too bad it didn't get any mention in the end of Morrison's Batman & Robin though...

Date: 2011-09-22 12:09 pm (UTC)
cainofdreaming: b/w (Default)
From: [personal profile] cainofdreaming
That's no plague mask. There's no room for the bergamot oil.

Date: 2011-09-22 12:44 pm (UTC)
aaron_bourque: default (Default)
From: [personal profile] aaron_bourque
Jesus CHRIST, Bruce. How many protein shakes do you down in a day?

Date: 2011-09-22 01:50 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Wait, the Scots allowed an Englishman to drink in their pub? I call bullshit.

But this is ALFRED. Even if he wasn't able to mimic a Scottish accent (Which I have no doubt he could with his stage career) he's ALFRED.

Alfred could walk up to a Glasgow Orange Order march and have them agree to change their route so it takes in the Cathedaral, so they can stop in for Mass.

And I may have to follow up this post with a posting of the Golden Age "Batman in Scotland" story "Lord of Batmanor"

Date: 2011-09-22 02:36 pm (UTC)
filthysize: (Default)
From: [personal profile] filthysize
This art. THIS ART.

Frank Quitely. Absolutely amazing, as always. Look at those shadows!

Date: 2011-09-22 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
Is that the same Wayne ancestor who was referenced in the begining of "The Chalice"?

Date: 2011-09-22 05:59 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Technically, pockets of bubonic plague were still occurring long enough on in history to be considered part of the Industrial Revolution... just not really in Northern Scotland.

True, though this is more to do with the Highland Clearances which took place in the 18th century too.

And apparently relocation to the Americas did happen in some cases.

Date: 2011-09-22 09:20 pm (UTC)
stubbleupdate: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stubbleupdate
Wait, the Scots allowed an Englishman to drink in their pub? I call bullshit.

I call an ignorant poster.

Date: 2011-09-22 09:39 pm (UTC)
stubbleupdate: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stubbleupdate
I'm saying that suggesting that English people would not be allowed by local punters to drink in pubs north of the border is ignorant, unless you're in the sort of local pub for local people were every non-regular gets told to jog on.

Date: 2011-09-24 09:54 am (UTC)
kenwyn89: Luke Skywalker (Default)
From: [personal profile] kenwyn89
It has precedence in both Wales (to a lesser degree, but more in central and the north of Wales) and Ireland (to a much larger degree- as in, I was once warned don't go into a particular pub across the street in Dublin as some of the group were English Students). I'm a celt though, but yah, English people need to be wary crossing the border sometimes (the hardcore elements- and if there's footy or rugby derby on).

Date: 2011-09-22 11:01 pm (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
I'm so on the fence about Quitely art.

Part of me likes it and another part of me thinks that every character looks like they're straining out a tough shit.

Date: 2011-09-23 12:25 am (UTC)
blackruzsa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blackruzsa
I do wonder if anyone saw when Bruce's kilt went up that high.

Date: 2011-09-23 02:56 am (UTC)
riddler13: (Default)
From: [personal profile] riddler13
Wait... so Bruce Wayne, one of America's most easily recognized sons, is in Scotland. The same night, the Bat is seen.

Oh Bruce, you could at least TRY to keep it a secret!


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