There was always something about pulp heroes I found intriguing growing up. For one thing, they were nearly impossible to find except for random magazine articles or movies on TV late at night. I think what I found most fascinating was that these heroes existed in another era, back when my grandparents were young. Also, I knew almost nothing about them. Now comes a new addition to this pulp pantheon in the form of The Black Beetle: No Way Out #1 and it is pure enjoyment.
WRITTEN BY: Francesco Francavilla
ART BY: Francesco Francavilla
PUBLISHED BY: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: 16 January 2013
In the town of Colt City, two mob families are meeting to decide the fate of each other’s empires. Stalking on the rooftops is our super-heroic sleuth, The Black Beetle! He is geared up and ready to take them all down, but his plans are abruptly interrupted. The rest of the story is a treat for the eyes as Francesco Francavilla’s energy spills out of every panel. Black Beetle’s creator has put so much care and passion in this world. It feels secure in itself already. You can tell from all the details, colors, and designs that this must be his dream project, which got me excited to read the issue.
I regret not following his previous work on “Black Panther”, but I do remember his striking covers. His unique dark style and intimate details make everything from the buildings to Black Beetle’s toys look amazing. Francavilla’s selective color palette is another great tool used here to set the tone of the tale. Colt City’s red skies remind me the Batman: The Animated Series. It adds to what most readers think of when we think of “Noir”.
My favorite part about is that even though this character has been around for only two issues (counting the one-shot from December), readers know nothing about him! Our mystery man is literally that. We don’t see his face. It works here just like in “Judge Dredd”. His face isn’t the important part of the story, his adventures are!
I want to know more about our hero, his brilliant opposite of a nemesis, and how his beetle-winged cape works. I want this pulp hero and someone like The Rocketeer would team up! I want more gorgeous letter pages and postcards in the back of this issue. It all has an incredibly consistent look and feel. I want more. That is a great start to a new book. And this is only the first part of a four part story. You know it has an ending but I hope it is the start of something bigger we can all look forward to reading.
Rating: 4/5 Skulls
Reviewed by: Your Friendly Neighborhood Brady