In Review: The Black Beetle #0

The cover: A solemn shot of our title character above the title “Night Shift.” Below a policeman walks through a door, stumbling upon someone with a gun. I love the pulp look and I love this cover by Francesco Francavilla. Overall grade: A

The story: This is a reprint of a three part story that was reprinted in Dark Horse Presents. “Night Shift” is the introduction to the Black Beetle to Colt City in 1941. Writer/artist/creator Francesco Francavilla captures the pulp flavor of classic action heroes well. The issue opens on a homeless man digging through trashcans in a back alley who witnesses flying Nazis, who make short work of this man as they make thier way to Colt City Natural Museum to claim a sacred amulet known as the Hollow Lizard. This is only the first three pages! On Page 4 we meet Dr. Antonia Howard, who is examining this artifact when “stuff” begins to happen. Enter the Nazis, enter the Black Beetle, and let the action begin! Now it’s not just non-stop action, there’s some Beetle backstory, the establishment of an archenemy, and some history on the Lizard. This is just flat out fun! Overall grade: A

The art: This is some gorgeous art! I enjoy reading pulp novels and comics, and this book gave me some new sights I’ve never experienced before: the Werwolf Korps, Page 8, and Page 22–all are “Wows!” Francesco Francavilla has got a mastery of this universe and shifts us around it expertly. I cannot wait to see where he takes us next! Overall grade: A

The letters: Just about every font in this book appeared sloppy to me. Yes, I get that the style was intentional to create an old time classic comic feel, but it didn’t work at all for me. I would have liked a cleaner, crisper look from Nate Piekos of Blambot. Overall grade: C

The final line: Nice intro to the character, who I’ll probably check out again. Overall grade: A-

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