The Black Beetle in “No Way Out” #4

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Written & Directed by Francesco Francavilla

This is the fourth and final issue of the No Way Out mini-series from prolific creator Francesco Francavilla. In this issue we see the gripping climax of a thrilling mystery. We see more of The Black Beetle’s cunning and intelligence in this issue as we find out once and for all who is under the mazed mask of Labyrinto. Although I had already guessed who was under the mask, it was still exciting. The excitement came not from the reveal of the villain but from how The Black Beetle was going to stop him.

Francavilla has cemented himself as an excellent writer with this short series. It is often difficult for talented artists to be taken seriously as writers as well but that will be no problem for Francavilla. He knows how to create tension and excite his readers. I often wondered when reading The Black Beetle why Francavilla doesn’t have more writing gigs. His writing, like his art, is of the highest calibre I have seen in the industry. He writes noir like no other, he can be dark and sombre but light hearted all in the same story. His character, The Black Beetle, became one of my favourites very quickly. In just four issues Francavilla has laid out foundations for a character that could easily have a solo ongoing title at any publisher.

I can’t imagine that Francavilla ever considered letting someone else have art duties on this title. Why would he? This is his baby and only he truly knows how to tell his story. The artwork, as ever, in this issue is too great to describe. I’m no artist but I know good artwork when I see it. Francavilla’s work often leaves me gobsmacked and that was the case with this issue. There are two pages that are just comic book art in its most perfect form. If you’ve read the book then you’ll know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t think about The Black Mirror. In my review for Part 3 of 4, I mentioned the change in palette. In this issue Francavilla changes back to his oranges and yellows and still blows me away. His gritty, pulpy, noir style is one to be envied.

I look forward to the return of The Black Beetle later this year.

10/10

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The Black Beetle “Night Shift” Part 1 of 3

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Written & Directed by Francesco Francavilla

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “does this broad ever shut up about The Black Beetle?” “Francavilla this, Francavilla that”. You’re right to think that because ever since reading The Black Beetle “No Way Out” #1 I’ve been hooked. I’m an extremely impatient person, “Night Shift” will be collected in the Hard Cover release of “No Way Out” but I simply cannot wait, and since I can’t get my hands on The Black Beetle #0, I’m doing it the hard way. Issues #11, #12 and #13 of Dark Horse Presents hold parts 1,2 and 3 of “Night Shift” and #11, I believe is the first in print appearance of The Black Beetle (correct me if I’m wrong). Each part is only 8 pages long so the reviews will be short and sweet. My reason for doing separate reviews for each part is simple, I only have parts 1 and 2 so far and I like to be consistent.

Having already read the first 3 issues of The Black Beetle “No Way Out” I was already a little familiar with the story of “Night Shift”. As ever with Francavilla the artwork is impeccable, he really knows how to create mood with his work. One thing that attracts me to Francavilla’s work is his colour palette. At a first glance it can seem very limited, he uses a lot of oranges and yellows and a great deal of black. Looking through his work on The Black Beetle in particular, this is true but it also works brilliantly. I must note that in The Black Beetle #3 he uses a much larger palette, including soft pinks and blues, he integrates these colours wonderfully into the existing palette. Francavilla truly is a master at what he does and this can be seen in all of his work. Francavilla knows his readership, he knows what they want from a comic book, he gives them everything they want and more.

As with “No Way Out”, “Night Shift” is remarkably well written. In his writing, as with his artwork, Francavilla creates tension and mystery in a way I’ve never seen before. He manages to incorporate fun and excitement into his work. All of this can be seen in the the first 8 pages of “Night Shift”. This book encompasses the 1940s, it has Nazi bad guys and a badass detective. It’s gritty and cool, it’s everything a comic book should be. The 1940s is the perfect setting for this character, it allows Francavilla to play with genres like mystery, noir and pulp all of which he does perfectly. This marks the beginning of something incredible. The Black Beetle is here to stay.

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Who is Labyrinto?

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WARNING: This post contains theories on the identity of Labyrinto in The Black Beetle, I may be spoiling it, I may not. Read at your own risk.

Earlier today creator of The Black Beetle, Francesco Francavilla tweeted the following:

 

“now that U have 3 chapters (out of 4) of @TheBlackBeetle, have U figured out yet who Labyrinto is? There might be a prize for the winner ;)”

“I have left plenty of clues in all 3 issues: it’s a detective book after all and wanted you all to play along with the Beetle :)”

“The reward is ONLY for the FIRST who guess right. NOTE: Not going to reply publicly to any guess cause I don’t want to spoil #4.”

“Winner will be notified after #4 is released. I will just write down the name with the note: “HE KNOWS TOO MUCH…” ;)”

Now anyone who knows me will know I pride myself on figuring out who did it in CSI and similar shows. This is no different, I am super competitive and I have to win. I believe I have figured out who Labyrinto is. Jimmy Galazzo. The “deceased” son of mob boss Don Pasquale Galazzo. Now I know what you’re thinking but hear me out. I believe that everything is done for a reason, the first time we hear of Jimmy in issue #1 of The Black Beetle his name is bold. It stands out you’re meant to notice it.

We don’t hear of Jimmy specifically again in any of the issues but later in issue #1 The Black Beetle says “The prime suspects are either dead at the pub or they’re previously deceased.” This is located directly above a panel in which you can see a photo of Jimmy Galazzo and his name right above it. This could be a hint.

Later in this issue The Black Beetle goes to see Constantino in prison, Constantino says the following “No I’m not crazy! I’ve seen him with my own eyes! A few days before the meeting at Spencer’s… It can’t be possible…” This is how you would talk if you’d seen a man you believed to be dead. After this Labyrinto appears, he knows and calls Constantino by his first name, he’s familiar with the man.

The last clue I found came in issue #2. The Black Beetle finds a partially melted ring with the initials “I.G.” on them. The ring is partially melted remember, I believe the initials on the ring are in fact “J.G.” for Jimmy Galazzo. Labyrinto says he left it behind, it’s his ring.

So there it is, my theory on why Labyrinto actually is. I’ll be surprised if I’m wrong.

Hope you enjoyed the ramblings of a crazy person. Thanks for the read.

Follow me on Twitter @olivia217

The Black Beetle #3

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Written & Directed by Francesco Francavilla

Francavilla has done it again. He has created a comic that literally makes me swoon. If you read my review of the first two issues, this is just more of the same. As if issues #1 & #2 weren’t exciting enough, this issue takes the excitement level through the roof. I can’t fault this book. It has no flaws. Francavilla continues to come up with clever ways to intrigue and consume the reader. The man is a genius, the first page with the sheet music, it’s like nothing I’ve seen before. I’m still in awe at the sheer quality of this book. Both the writing and the artwork surpass everything else on the market. The genius doesn’t stop on the first page either, it flows through the book and is evident in both the writing and art.

If you haven’t been reading this four-parter then I highly recommend that you change that ASAP. It’s just such a fun and exciting book, with a likeable and often relatable protagonist in an utterly thrilling tale. How could you say no? Francavilla has solidified himself as my favourite comic creator right now. You can see his passion for what he does in all he does. It’s rare for me to fall so completely in love with a comic book but that’s exactly what has happened here.

Please pick this book up, you won’t regret it.

10/10

Francavilla and The Black Beetle are nominated for a few Stumptown Comic Arts Awards too which you can vote for here: http://www.stumptowncomics.com/awards.php (I also suggest voting for Ibrahim Moustafa for High Crimes)

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The Black Beetle in “No Way Out”

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Written & Directed by Francesco Francavilla

Wow. Absolutely astonishing. I can’t give Francavilla enough praise for this ingenious book. I didn’t know it was possible to be completely immersed in a comic book until I read The Black Beetle. In a world ruled by Marvel and DC, it’s a Dark Horse title that has stolen my heart. I remember people buzzing about this title when it was first released and I couldn’t get my hands on it until last week and now I know why it took me so long to get it. It’s clever and fun and immensely exciting. The writing is well paced and the art is just spectacular, I can’t think of enough positive adjectives to describe the pure brilliance that is this book. I love a good detective tale but this is so much more than that. It will completely blow you away like no other comic book can. It’s so different to everything else out there and Francavilla is a talent that should not be overlooked. After reading this book, I will read anything Francavilla works on.

This is the best book around and #3 is out next week, don’t miss out.

10/10

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