February 25, 2013

Dark Horse Reviews: The Black Beetle #2

The Black Beetle #2
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Francesco Francavilla
Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Letters: Nate Piekos

After a quick recap of the last issue, the enigmatic Black Beetle is surrounded by the police. He’s a vigilante, so they want to question him about the recent explosion that killed the mob bosses. Well, he rigged an explosive for a distraction just in case this happened. He detonates it, then dives into the water, and makes his escape. Outside of Colt City a meeting takes place between the man behind the Nazi attackers, and a man that has “special skills” that he’s hiring for a job.

The Black Beetle must start from square one, so he goes back to the scene of the mob bosses’ hideout, and searches for clues. He finds a secret hatch in the ground, and goes into the depths to find out what it’s used for. He initially finds a ring and a match book, and for a while after that, nothing but rats. Just as he’s on the verge of a possible breakthrough, he feels a presence behind him that pushes him into the rat infested waters below!

This series is nothing short of incredible. Francavilla has crafted a marvelous universe, albeit within only one city (Colt City). Nevertheless, this book feels like something totally original, even though you can see bits and pieces of other things in it (Batman, The Spider, The Shadow, etc.). The new villain is great, too, and along with the Nazi splinter terrorist group, you get a feeling that the deck is really stacked against the hero. It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Black Beetle, but he wouldn’t have it any other way!

Artistically, Francavilla’s artwork is fascinating. He owns a style all his own, and is probably going to be looked back on as a trendsetter years from now. He’s one of those guys that needs no introduction, you see the work, and you know it’s his. This issue is just as compelling as the first two. Not as many big action scenes, but more detective work. It was a nice change of pace even if it was very subtle. The cover is great as well, and nothing short of brilliant. His covers for The Spider, Dark Shadows, Captain America, etc., have all been top notch. This one is no different, and you can see the hard work he puts into each one. A flawless book from cover to cover. Rating 5/5

Billy Dunleavy



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