Black Beetle #1 Review

The Black Beetle #1 Review

If you dig the pulp stories of the ’30s and ’40s, if you dig crime, and noir than prepare yourself for Black Beetle #1.

Black Beetle #1

Creator Francesco Francavilla has been working on Black Beetle for quite some time. He’s had a standing webcomic on his Pulp Sunday blog for several years, lots of art, and three appearances now in Dark Horse Presents (all of which combined to make up Black Beetle #0), so I imagine he feels pretty good about Black Beetle finally getting his own miniseries.

And to his credit, it’s well deserved.

“Put simply, this is good comic booking.”

When Mr. Francavilla describes Black Beetle as “the quintessential pulp hero” he means it. Anyone who’s a fan of noir or classic crime tales will immediately feel comfortable in the pages of this book. It’s dark, it’s big city, it’s mob bosses, and it’s someone out to protect the streets. These streets are Colt City, the Beetle’s own New York (or even better, Chicago). And when a bust goes bad the Black Beetle discovers someone is beating him to the punch, and in lethal fashion, leaving him in the company of cops and loaded rifles. It’s a story that would fit right in with some of the most fameous of pulp magazines of their time.

Perhaps the most distinctive quality to the whole comic is Francavilla’s personal touch, some might even be familiar with his work in Detective Comics and Black Panther. He has a unique style that embraces the noir genre while still standing on it’s own, just ever so separate from the norm. Every page feels like it’s own individual work of art, using every inch of the page, with stunning colors and well-placed shadows. His creative paneling is unlike your standard comic, giving the illustrations air to breathe, keeping the story center stage.

Francavilla is in his wheelhouse, working on something he’s passionate about – the evidence is everywhere.

Black Beetle #1 Interiors

It’s also refreshing for a #1 issue to skip right over the origin’s of the character or story and get right to it. The Black Beetle is indeed a man of mystery, as is the actual story, and putting together both puzzles piece by piece, perpendicular to each other, is just as fun. A good story will give us all the information we need to know, which is exactly what happens. And long time Black Beetle fans will be excited too at the threads carried over from the web series and various appearances.

Black Beetle #1 The Beetle

My favorite part I think, the Black Beetle actually looking like a Black Bettle.

Put simply, this is good comic booking. From the moment you flip the cover you’re going to be entertained, and left wanting more. For my two cents Francesco Francavilla has created something worthy of sitting next to any of the other popular crime books out there right now. If you haven’t already, go get this.


Pros Cons
Everything you’d want from a good crime comic. Creative and well designed art with a mystery to match. There isn’t enough.


1 Comment

  1. Penny Dreadful says:

    Love the style! The mix of noir with superhero is always one of my favorites.


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