As the first, and hopefully not the last, story arc in the adventures of The Black Beetle comes to a close, it is stunningly clear that Francesco Francavilla has delivered the goods. Though not as dramatic an ending as one would hope, the story was still a rollicking, rip-roaring, knuckle-sandwich loaded nod to pulp-noir that keeps you starving for more, and more!
As I commented in my previous review of Black Beetle #2, the only thing that this book suffers from is a clichéd plot line. This being Francavilla’s first foray into scripting, however, it’s easy to overlook, because his sheer love of the genre is evident on every single page. And as it so happens, completely necessary. Despite the rusty writing, he managed to tie up any loose ends quite nicely. The only exception to said ends (which in my humble opinion is a good thing), is that Black Beetle’s identity still remains a secret. Never underestimate the power of mystery, as it so pervasively sets its sights and grip on a fan’s psyche.
The best thing about this book still remains his illustrative abilities. Clearly a master traditionalist, Francavilla is one of a dying breed of amazing illustrators that still hold true to the skills that made comics the entertainment art form that it is today. It’s refreshing, in this world of computer generated comics, to see that there are still artists out there who love getting their hands dirty by dipping their brushes in an inkwell. What Francavilla conjures with old school brush & ink technique is still so stylistically striking and bold, it makes the reader wonder why publishers ever turned to computers at all.
Supply and demand one would imagine, but any true fan of the comic book medium should demand more beautifully constructed books like Francavilla’s. More so than the latest, mass produced, multiple cover variant, so called “event” comics on the stands today (if you can find a “stand”, that is).
More Black Beetle would be great. More Francavilla, period!
Black Beetle #4 Review