The plot in #2 picks up right where #1 left off. Usually in comics, there needs to be a nice middle point between dialogue and narration. Francavilla throws this notion out the window, and it is for the better. Reading the Black Beetle’s thoughts during his escapades adds another layer to the noir feel. I can almost hear the noir styled music as I read the Beetle’s dialogue. The lack of information involving the Black Beetle, and how little I care about the omission, continues to surprise me. The book is having a lot of fun, and the reader doesn’t need to know who the Black Beetle is. All you need to know is that he is the good guy. In future series, which there better be Francavilla, some development into who he is as a person would be interesting. Is he like Superman, where the average persona is the real mask for the hero? I’m invested in him as a character, so I want to know more about him.
The only thing that I wish Francavilla would work on is the idol itself, the Black Lizard. It is just a McGuffin, but I’d like some details on WHY it is such a wanted relic. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, the audience had a great feel for why Indy needed to find this thing as soon as possible. It’s not a huge problem, but one that will hopefully be fixed by next issue. With this miniseries having only two issues left, we need some plot development in that category. Francavilla should consider writing comics for the big two publishers. He clearly has an eye for writing a great comic. Many of the writer/artist books seem to flounder under the writing or art not receiving enough time (although this doesn’t happen with Sean Murphy). Dead lines are bitch. But Francavilla makes it work effortlessly. I’d love to see him write/pencil a new Black Panther book. Hell, bring John Hickman in as well for cowriter if need be. That would be one hell of a book.
What is there to say about Francavilla’s pencils at this point? The book is beautiful. Many pages could be framed. Francavilla’s panel usage is perfect. Black Beetle feels like a movie at some times. The sewer scene is the standout scene for the book. The new villain might not have much in explanation yet, but he has a great look too him. I was quite tempted to scan the image and solve the puzzle on him. Black Beetle is a book that becomes a bore to review, as I have to dig out my thesaurous each month to find new ways to say, “Francavilla’s artwork and you should buy this book so it stays around.”
The Black Beetle #2 gets 4/5.