Wednesday, February 20, 2013


DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

CREATOR/CARTOONIST: Francesco Francavilla
LETTERS: Nate Piekos (of Blambot)
SKETCH: Darwyn Cooke
COVER: Francesco Francavilla
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S.

“No Way Out” (Part 2 of 4)

One of those most enjoyable reads of the year returns with a second issue. The Black Beetle is a comic book series created by Eisner Award-winning artist Francesco Francavilla. Blending the aesthetics of pulp fiction, mystery, noir, and the superhero, the Black Beetle is a super-heroic sleuth, and his base of operations is Colt City, a classic pulp and noir-type urban landscape.

The Black Beetle’s new comic book series finds the hero attempting to infiltrate a meeting of Colt City’s two crime families, the Galazzos and the Fierros. Shortly after he arrives at the site of the meeting, the place goes up in a tremendous explosion – killing everyone inside. One of Don Pasquale Galazzo’s nephews, Constantino, is still living and is holed up in The Fort, an Alcatraz-like prison. The Black Beetle arrives at The Fort in time to witness Constantino’s murder.

As The Black Beetle: No Way Out #2 opens, our hero is fighting not to become the newest resident at The Fort. Then, it becomes a fight for his life. Freedom and a return to Colt City mean a return to the bomb site. That is where the Black Beetle is brought face to face with a wily adversary, the enigmatic Labyrinto.

It is good when a comic book series proves itself not to be a fluke after a dynamite debut issue. How does a creator prove that? Francesco Francavilla does so by creating a dynamite second issue.

Comic books are a visual, or more specifically graphics-based, medium, and Francavilla composes The Black Beetle with striking graphics and arresting static images. Page layout, panel design, color, lettering, and captions combine to create a visual flow that moves, hops, skips, and boogies to a pulpy Film-Noir beat. Readers looking for pure pop comics will find it in The Black Beetle: No Way Out.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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