The Brave and the Bold #93: "Red Water, Crimson Death"

The Brave and the Bold #93
"Red Water, Crimson Death"
December - January, 1970-71

Creators: Writer: Denny O'Neil.  Artist: Neal Adams.  Editor: Murray

A running figure peers anxiously over his shoulder to see if he's still
being pursued, then continues on his way towards a nearby house.  He
tries the doorknob and find that it's locked.  Seeing someone standing
inside the house, he demands entry, and is refused by the owner.  Before
the gunman can bring his weapon into play, he hears the approach of the

Beefy isn't going back to prison as long as he has a gun in his hand, and
as the masked manhunter runs up the wooden stairs, he trips on a loose
board.  KLIK  There's been a misfire and Beefy's one chance for freedom
is gone.  Commissioner Gordon and the police arrive to take the criminal
into custody, while the darknight detective knows how close he came to
being killed.

In his profession, a single mistake may prove costly, indeed.  The
Commissioner knows how his friend has been busy uncovering a
counterfeiting ring and stopping a prison break.  Even a man as driven as
the Batman can't function if he doesn't have a rest.  The lawman offers
the masked manhunter a steamship ticket to Ireland.  His nerves would no
doubt benefit from a change of scenery.  Even so, the darknight detective
is reluctant to leave Gotham City.  The Commissioner assures him that
they'll be able to handle things while he's away for a month.  The Batman
is on his way to a locale which will cheer him and chill him to the
marrow... "Red Water, Crimson Death."

The steamship is making its way across the Atlantic, and the man standing
at the rail is millionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne.  The Arin Isles
off the north coast of Ireland are in view and it provides a setting
where the vacationer from Gotham City can clear his head.  A child's ball
bounces by him, and as he hands the boy his toy back, the steamship
enters a storm area. 

Bruce watches the storm from the safety of his cabin, with the ship being
bounced around on the waves.  He sees the boy he met earlier in danger of
being swept over.  With waves about thirty feet high, the boy's chances
are grim, but the millionaire philanthropist must try to reach him.

Bruce reaches the boy, then wonders how long he can support their weight
in the choppy waters.  Sean calls out for his grandfather, and both see a
man's face take shape in the oncoming wave.  The cold waters start to get
to them, but before they can succumb, the ship's crew hurl a life
preserver their way.  Bruce and Sean are taken aboard and are treated for
hypothermia.  The vacationer from Gotham is praised by the ship's doctor
for his swift action.

The millionaire playboy is weary from his heroic actions and he wonders
if he'll ever recover.  When he opens up his suitcase for some pajamas,
Bruce sees that Alfred took the liberty of packing his Batman uniform.
With his health at stake, Bruce Wayne is on vacation, and the Batman's
costume is giving a burial at sea.  The steamer stops to drop off Sean,
whose family lives on one of the Arin Islands.  Bruce decides to join the
boy in the launch and spent some time on the quiet, isolated island.

The launch docks at Kennamora and Sean is greeted by his Uncle Derry.
When they learn how Bruce saved the boy's life, the stranger is given a
warm welcome to stay with them.  That night, the millionaire playboy
enjoys his plate of Mulligan Stew.

It's soon Sean's bedtime, but the boy doesn't want to stop his reading.
The lad's uncle tells Bruce that since his parents were killed, Sean has
been reading up on the stories of King Hugh, the former ruler of the
island.  When he asks how the parents died, Derry tells his nephew's
rescuer that many have died from the red sea.  The island's waters had
begun to change color about a year ago, a curse that's killed both fish
and man.  He had hoped a visit to America would have cheered up the boy,
but it hasn't.  After saying goodnight to Derry, Bruce remembers that red
water could be a result of dinoflagellate poisoning, which usually clears
up in a matter of days, but according to Sean's uncle, it's been a year.

Realizing that he's supposed to be on vacation, Bruce turns in for the
night.  His sleep is disturbed when he feels a hand rousing him to
wakefulness.  The ghostly image of a warrior strides past his bed, and
the only thing that's more startling is the fact that he's in costume
once again.  As Bruce dons his cowl, Sean has gone off to find King Hugh,
and ask for his aid in finding his parents. 

The masked manhunter leaps out into the night, pursued by a group of
villagers who have been startled by his sudden appearance.  The darknight
detective is careful in defending himself and disabling their makeshift
weapons.  They see the Bat-Man in their midst and he must convince them
that he's a friend.

He explains to them that his mode of dress is due to his profession.  The
villagers reluctantly lower their arms and ask if he has anything to do
with what's been happening at the castle.  The home of King Hugh, dead
for three hundred years, has become occupied once more.  The villagers
wonder if their former ruler has come back to haunt them.  They have seen
ghosts and heard the cries of the banshees, as the red tide began
appearing around the island.

OWWOOOOOOOO  They hear the banshee's howl and the masked manhunter looks
towards the castle, where a young boy is racing for a meeting with King

He could let the villagers handle it, but the Batman wouldn't let an
innocent boy be hurt.  A storm has begun, preventing him from seeing the
boy, and keeping Sean from hearing his cries.  A ghost appears on the
horizon, but the masked manhunter decides to test its reality with a
rock.  The screen which projected the three-dimensional hologram from the
castle.  It hasn't been the supernatural which has been haunting the
island's inhabitants.  Sean has made his way across the bridge.

Not knowing what to expect inside the castle, the darknight detective
must decide what to do before the gate closes.  CHUNGGG  The decision is
made and the gate spikes close behind him.  The Batman is now inside the
castle, which is a house, and with no idea of what to expect, he is now
in the House of Mystery.  There are 50 yards of open area between him and
the main building, but a sudden lightning flash would give his presence
away.  Feeling a tap on his shoulder, the masked manhunter turns to see
no one behind him.  The entrance to a secret passage is now at his feet.

After walking down the underground passage, he hears voices ahead of him.
The voices belong to the owners of the hologram equipment, now broken,
and whose boss is eagerly awaiting the departure of the villagers so that
he can corner the fishing rights on the island.  The two men are to
poison the boy and have his body be found in the morning.  The Batman has
heard enough...

A left to the jaw and a backhand sends one thug to the ground, while the
other races for a weapon on the wall.  WH-IIISSSHHH  THWACK  He is able
to deflect the deadly blade, then uses a wooden chair to disarm the
would-be swordsman.  The boy and their boss are located down the

PUNT  The Batman has suffered a deep cut from the blade, but there's no
time to treat the wound.  When he comes to two possible corridors, an
unseen force pulls at the darknight detective.  Whether it's a dream or a
nightmare, the masked manhunter will see it through to the end.  Instead
of suffering from exhaustion, Batman finds that his sense of fatigue is
gone.  At the end of the corridor, he hears sounds of a struggle.

Sean struggles against the two men who want him to take a drink of water.
WHOMPP  For the Batman, anyone who would threaten a small child is
beneath contempt, and he regrets that it takes only one punch to take
down the poisoner.  The boss is Aloysius Cabot, the owner of a fishery.
It was he who stirred up the talk of ghosts so he could make his deadly
chemicals in private, and dump them into the sea.

The darknight detective finds that he is now barely able to stand and
Cabot points to the cut on his arm where some of the poison has been
splashed into.  He has now less than a minute to live.  The owner of the
fishery offers a fighting chance for the masked manhunter.  There are two
beakers on the table, one which contains water, and the other which
contains an antidote.  He has only time to choose one.  His vision
blurred by the poison, the Batman looks towards the portrait of King

He sees a finger pointing towards the test tube at the rear of the table.
It is now Cabot's turn to become surprised, as Batman drinks down the
antidote, and ignores the two beakers containing death.  It will take him
a minute to recover, and in that time, Cabot plans to shoot him down.

AGGH!  The heavy picture frame falls onto the head of Aloysius Cabot, who
has received a massive concussion, and sudden death.  In all the
excitement, the boy had fainted, and the murder of his parents has been
avenged.  Even so, the darknight detective can't understand the run of
coincidences on his vacation.  His costume's return from a watery grave,
finding the entrance to the secret passage, and picking the right
corridor to save a life.

The portrait of King Hugh helped him to choose the right antidote and
fell at just the right time to stop Cabot from shooting.  He doesn't know
why the boy went to the castle, anymore than he knows why Sean came on
deck during a storm.  The boy wakes up from his sleep, then asks what's
been happening.  Even for a darknight detective, there will be some
mysteries which will remain unanswered.  The owner of the House of
Mystery knows and tells the reader that King Hugh may have left the world
of men, but he cannot abide anyone disturbing his rightful slumber.

The House of Mystery is the epitome of "It's a nice place to visit, but I
wouldn't want to live there."

Cain tends to be selective when it comes to the quality of his tenants.

I wonder if Commissioner Gordon would have checked the passenger list of
the steamship to see if millionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne went on
the same trip as Batman?

Bruce gets to see plenty of action, especially in saving the life of a
small boy from drowning at sea.

Do the clothes make the man or is it something more?  Whether in costume
or not, Bruce Wayne is the Batman, and he will always do his best to help
those in need.

When I was about Sean's age, I'd spend my time reading the back issues of

Leave it to the masked manhunter to part the red water surrounding the
island.  (Holy Moses, Batman!)

Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot, but the ones under the
employ of Aloysius Cabot sought to prey on the villagers with their own

In reading this story, I was delighted to see my surname used as a sound
effect, and it's probably the closest I'll ever come to having my name in
a story by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams.  (Holy Sound Mind, Batman!)

If Aloysius Cabot had lived to stand trial, he could have said that he
was "framed."  (Holy Cabot Cove, Batman!)