When the artwork for this book started to leak out a couple of months ago, people started getting pumped. A book written and drawn by Francavilla is a dream come true, especially a crime noir book that packs a punch like this one! “Night Shift” shows us a story about an ancient relic that has the potential to give the user extraordinary occult powers. This interests the Third Reich, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it. Meanwhile, at the Colt City Museum of Natural History, Dr. Howard is studying this relic, and she’s about to get deep into a situation that could end up getting her killed. Enter The Black Beetle!
What a fantastic start to this series. The book has a very old school feeling to it. Something like Robert E. Howard or Harry Steeger must have inspired. The story was quite good in the sense that you’ll want to keep reading even after the last page. That’s something, because very few books can do that right now. You also get a glimpse into the history of the relic, and those two pages had a few interesting clues in them. The action scenes were top notch, too, so if you inspect the issue cover to cover, you see the quality and amount of time that was put into this.
Anyone that is a fan of Francavilla’s (and if you aren’t, what’s wrong with you?) needs to grab this series, even if crime isn’t your thing. Why, you ask? Because it’s a gorgeous book. You’ll be hard pressed to find anything to nit pick about, for sure. The gun fight inside the museum was probably the best from a visual standpoint, but everything holds up very well. What a great last couple of pages, too. We see the Black Beetle acting very suspiciously himself, then a robed figure who has a past history with him that makes for an even more exciting next issue!
Do yourself a favor, go out on a limb and grab this book, especially if you’re a traditional superhero book reader. This will give you a better perspective on everything else out there that the comic book world offers that isn’t from the big two. It’s easy to get hypnotized by all the advertisements and hoopla surrounding Marvel and DC, but the quality of this issue is unsurpassed. Rating 5/5