COMIC: The Black Beetle - "No Way Out!"

Writer: Francesco Francavilla
Artist: Francesco Francavilla

Francesco's cover work for established titles are little more than works of art.  His 1930's styled Noir-Superhero The Black Beetle was one of the most anticipated comics to come out of Dark Horse in a while.  Since No Way Out however the party has cooled and the forthcoming adventures in Colt City are... well... still forthcoming.

No Way Out! is a four-issue run that has BB face off against Labyrinth (a masked menace who's costume resembles... well... a labyrinth).  Francesco's artwork is ridiculously impressive, as you'd expect from the man behind Batman 1972.  He has the clearest understanding of how to create tension, suspense, pace and scale through his creative use of paneling.  There are half-a-dozen pages per issue that are nothing short of jaw-dropping.  Take a moment to imagine just how amazing a Batman or Daredevil book could be if he was given freedom to let his creativity roam across the panels across a volume. 

The story is pretty strong for the most part.  It has a real Pulp feel, a solid mystery, and some extremely well-conceived set-pieces.  The final quarter of the final book lands a little flat... which is unfortunate.  The build-up to it was so strong but there were a lot of peripheral characters introduced and it took more than a couple of minutes to figure out the significance of the genre-required Scooby-Doo reveal.


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