Review: The Black Beetle #4

20130708-213007.jpgIf this were orange juice, it would be labeled ‘lots of pulp.’ Cover artist extraordinaire Francesco Francavilla‘s debut series, The Black Beetle, is wonderfully saturated with mobsters and mayhem of a bygone era. In this final issue of a four part story arc, we find our insect-inspired crusader in the outskirts of Colt City on the heels of a supposedly dead mafia boss. GASP, the maze worthy Labyrinto has beaten him to the punch, leading up to a big reveal in this satisfying finale.

Francavilla’s noirish twists and turns fit perfectly in this creator owned series. His use of voice overs as a narration tool keeps up the pace and lets us into the Black Beetle’s head. That being said, five issues in (including #0) and we still lack a backstory on our hero. We might know what he’s thinking, but we know nothing else about him. Fortunately, the story resumes this fall in Necrologue, which I can only hope will include more of the ‘who’ and ‘why.’ This will help because, having grown up on ‘justice is due process’ superheroes like Batman, it is still a little jarring to see the Black Beetle shoot someone point blank in the forehead. Like I said, lots of pulp.

The accompanying artwork gives the right amount of flare to the lines, colors, and shadows of the 1940s. Every detail is accounted for, from the overhead shot of him leaving Colt City (gotta love those interstate numbers) to the symbol on his chest. As the writer and artist, Francavilla is in complete control of this series, let’s hope Dark Horse keeps it that way.

Unless they are fresh in your mind, I highly suggest re-reading the previous issues in order to fully understand the big reveal. I know I’m late to this party, but for those in the same boat or who happened to miss this the first time around, Francavilla’s The Black Beetle is a must read.

Story: Francesco Francavilla Art: Francesco Francavilla
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


  • Sean A. Guynes

    That first line of your review, man that’s good stuff. If you don’t like pulp, you’re crazy!

  • Thanks! I couldn’t agree more, pulp is definitely back.

    • For fans of that type of comic, there’s some amazing stuff being put out right now. Dark Horse has a few, Daredevil, Hawkeye, Dynamite’s new line, lots of Image comics, so much that’s so good.

  • I highly recommend Waid and Samnee’s Daredevil and Dark Horse’s Captain Midinight.

    • Daredevil is one of the two best comics Marvel is putting out right now. Both story and art are fantastic. The other is Hawkeye and I struggle which is the better of the two.

  • Haven’t read Hawkeye, mostly because I was worried it was falling victim to the hype created around the character by the Avengers movie. I’m also not really an Avengers fan.

  • The covers alone make me want to check out Hawkeye. There’s so much out there right now.