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The Black Beetle, Vol. 1: No Way Out

(The Black Beetle #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  561 ratings  ·  81 reviews
After witnessing an explosion that decimates the city’s organized crime community, killing dozens, the Black Beetle—Colt City’s sleuthing sentinel—is on the hunt for answers and justice! Follow Francesco Francavilla’s critically acclaimed pulp hero as he searches island prisons, dank sewers, and swanky nightclubs for the mysterious man known as Labyrinto.
Hardcover, 152 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Dark Horse Comics
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Showing 1-30
3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  561 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Evildoers in Colt City beware! The city is under the protection of... The Black Beetle!

I got this from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley!

Without giving too much away, The Black Beetle is a throwback to the pulps of the 1930's and 40's. While visually he looks like a mix of Batman and Blue Beetle, The Black Beetle most resembles Norvell Page's The Spider in my mind. Or early Batman stories where he gunned people down fairly regularly. He goes out of the frying pan and into the fire so many times h
Jan Philipzig
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
A vigilante hero wearing a beetle-helmet, vicious Nazis, organized crime, night clubs, a damsel in distress, an ancient amulet, black magic, explosions, backpack helicopters... Another homage to the pulps of the 1930's, you get the picture, and Francesco Francavilla ensures that the picture you get is a pretty one indeed. There are many beautiful panel compositions and inventive page layouts to be admired, and if that is all you are looking for in a comic book you will likely be very satisfied w ...more
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comix
Harken back to the days of radio serials, when real men tangled with Nazis bent on world destruction, smacked around mobsters, and rescued good looking dames with nice gams. This is an atmospheric throwback to pulp stories of the thirties and forties, without most of the redundancy and camp.

The Black Beetle is Colt City’s strong armed sleuth/vigilante; quick on his feet and adept at getting out of the most precarious situations.

The artwork is a stylized mixture of expressionism, shadows and prim
Sam Quixote
Oct 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Set in the 1940s, a vigilante wearing an insect-like helmet and calling himself the Black Beetle is taking on organised crime and Nazis.

That’s pretty much it, and if I don’t seem that interested in the plot, it’s because I’m not. I feel like I’ve read this story at least half a dozen times in the last year or so. Black Beetle is superhero-ish (as in dresses the part but doesn’t have superpowers) noir in the vein of Mike Mignola’s last Lobster Johnson book, the Marvel Noir line, Green Hornet, Ma
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, superhumans
Stylish and fun, Black Beetle is a pulpy, 40s superhero mystery comic. The title character reads as a tribute to really old Batman stories, when Bruce still carried a gun around. It's a hugely entertaining read, though I felt like the main storyline might have been too short. It was only four issues, and one or two more wouldn't have hurt. That said, I love the art, which reminds me a big of Mignola, and I admire the care that was put into the title. The covers, for example, look perfectly vinta ...more
David Schaafsma
The point of this book is nostalgia, to reclaim the Golden Age of comics, to in a sense have you imagine what it might have been like in the forties to invent a superhero to save the day. The Black Beetle is set in 1941, the war years, in the U.S., and further imagined by a wannabe Stan Lee Italian comics guy. The writing isn't good. The dialogue is stilted, nothing is surprising about it at all, it's all canned Golden Age plot and resolution. The art is, however, both homage to the era and ener ...more
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Yes, Yes and Yes!

Pulpy goodness with FF art! While the story doesn't really break any new ground(yet) the art is just fantastic.

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm kind of over the moon with Francavilla and his artwork. I became aware of him several years ago when his name started popping up and loved the work he did on Comic Twart and his gorgeous vintage movie posters. In other words, I'm probably a little biased but if you like artwork with lots of blacks and heavy color contrast (think Frank Mi
Travis Starnes
As the comic moves on to the main story we see that this guy has no luck; he gets blown up, breaks a few ribs, gets saved by uncleared up trash in an alley, tries to break into the predecessor of Alcatraz and gets caught by the guards while the real criminal escapes. I have left out the really good parts from that brief description because I do not want to spoil the story, but I can say that there is a really fun passage of pages where he is searching for someone, and the comic shows only brief ...more
Online Eccentric Librarian
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
The Black Beetle (not to be confused with the DC Comics villain) is a pulp noir modern graphic novel by Francesco Francavilla. This volume collects comics 1-4 of the No Way out arc. The story continues in the next arc: Necrologue.

The Black Beetle is a 1940s masked superhero somewhat reminiscent of hard boiled superheroes like the Punisher. Although we aren't told much of his background or history (true to the genre), we know he has martial arts training and that he is very good with inventions.
Wayne McCoy
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
In a great homage to pulp heroes, Francesco Francavilla's Black Beetle is a cinematic hero in a graphic novel filled with eye popping art. Panels careen around the page. Action swirls amongst sheet music. You can almost envision it as animated.

Sometime in the 1940s in Colt City, a masked hero with bulging red goggles and an array of cool gadgets fights crime. His real identity remains a secret, even from the reader. His true face is never seen.

As I mentioned, the art is the real star here. Color
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
The artwork is phenomenal, and there is a great mix or standard story telling and unique full page spreads. The story is a bit simplistic, but that is standard for a pulp, and also with the limited size of the story (only 4 issues). That being said, there is good suspense elements, gadgetry, sex appeal, and action sequences. there really isn't much that this story misses out on. Definitely a story worth reading, and if you can't wait for the collected edition to come out, the single issues are s ...more
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sequential-art
Da sitze ich also breit grinsend auf dem Sofa, in der festen Überzeugung, 14,- Euro noch nie besser angelegt zu haben. Familie und Freunde meiden mich momentan, da jeder, der ins Zimmer kommt, aufgefordert wird, zumindest ein Panel oder eine der fantastischen Splash-Pages zu bestaunen. Begeisterung will geteilt sein, kann offenbar unbeteiligte "Opfer" aber auch nerven.

Francavilla ist eine Ausnahmeerscheinung, ein Comic-Genie. Den BLACK BEETLE hat er selbst erfunden und entwickelt, ebenso die Sto
Nicola Mansfield
Dec 23, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm really getting into these "masked" hero tales and this one interested me from Dark Horse, a publisher I always seem to be pleased with. This time we are in the time period of the Nazi's but pre-WWII so sometime in the 1930s. The art is absolutely gorgeous. Using techniques of the old 30s/40s movie posters & lobby cards (in fact these have even been added as extras!) the book has a real old-timey pulp look to it and is a visual feast for the eyes. I wasn't, however, as taken with the stor ...more
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
The Black Beetle Volume 1: No Way Out (Dark Horse) collects Francesco Francavilla's brilliant neo-pulp. Clad all in black save for red eyepieces and a red chest insignia, the mysterious Black Beetle battles Nazis, super villains, and even the police on the streets of Colt City, an obvious paean to Will Eisner's Spirit. Drawing inspiration from The Shadow, The Spider, and their ilk plus artists such as Eisner, Alex Toth, and Darwyn Cooke, Francavilla produces a dazzling new addition for the long ...more
J Perez
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
My first introduction to pulp style comics, and I'm VERY impressed by it. The story is a well told classic tale of mystery that introduces the character of Black Beetle like a hero in a black cape wielding a couple of colt .45's, an archetype that feels very familiar (since this is my first pulp, that's just fine by me). But what really puts it way up in my comic list, is the art of Francesco Francavilla wich is just fantastic. If every artist would invest as much talent and work in their books ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am not familiar with pulps, but I love everything about this title. I read the entire thing in one sitting (a rarity these days), but it wasn't for lack of content. The story moves along quickly without feeling rushed, and at the end I felt excited for future installments, without feeling like I didn't get a complete story. As wonderful as the writing is, I think the art is even better. I rarely noticed panel structure/layout, but here I get the feeling that Francavilla spent just as much time ...more
Wonderful stuff!
Francavilla has been an artist I've been very interested in for a few years now and The Black Beetle pays off in a big way. A beautiful blend of noir, hard-boiled, pulp adventure and action. Fans of The Shadow, The Spider, The Avenger, The Whisperer, The Phantom Detective and Doc Savage can rejoice as there's a new crime-fighter/adventurer here to fight the forces of crime. I hope for a long and exciting career for Francavilla's Black Beetle.
Jun 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 21c, comics, noir
Read in single issues. I heart Francavilla's art and layouts, but the story is a bit humdrum. I like noir, and I liked the way this drew on those familiar hard-boiled tropes, but I really wanted more characterization of the lead. The mystery would have had to be a lot more clever to carry the story on its own.

Donald Armfield
A pulp noir comic. The Black Beetle is outstanding, crawling with action and mystery.

A cross between Barman and The Green Hornet comes Francavilla's masterpiece The Black Beetle. Dark Horse comics presents the new mysteries of The Black Beetle coming soon. I'm on stand by.

Mission Out!
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Fantastic book, 100% Francavillian gold. You can check out my review on my site here:
'kris Pung
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great pulp comic.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I almost didn’t read this comic book. After all who wants to read a superhero that’s named after a bug (beetle) that I find gross? But the pulp feel of the comics in which the stories takes place in early 1941 and the beautiful colors and artwork that I gleamed from flipping through the book made me reconsider to give this comic book a chance. And boy did the writer and illustrator did not disappoint! I give this work a five out of five since the writer and artist Francesco Francavilla gave us a ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
I’m very happy for Francesco to be doing his own series. I love him as an artist and I think it’s so great he’s fully taking the reins on a story. Personally, I don’t get the greatest kick out of reading pure mystery books but I can appreciate this for what it is -especially because of the gorgeous aesthetic!! It was also kind of cute in a way to read Francesco’s explanations to extra content he added in the back. There was a concise note that was very insightful to how he’s able to project such ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've been a fan of Francavilla ever since I set my eyes on 'Black Mirror'. I love his art and this one is no different. You could put up any page on your wall and it would look great. The layout, the art, the coloring are simply gorgeous. So much that you kind of forgive him a rushed story with conventional elements. Overall is a great book just because it's so beautiful and fun to read.
Oliver Ho
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Solid vintage-style, pulpy action. A good introduction to a longer story.
Josie Boyce
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great pulpy superhero stuff. every page a work of art, just the right tone to be both old fashioned, and a modern pastice/homage to the genre. looking forward to finding more Black Beetle
Shawn Manning
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
What a great example of modern pulp writing. The writing and art compliment each other wonderfully. I sincerely hope there is more in the series.
Sam Quixote
Set in the 1940s, a vigilante wearing an insect-like helmet and calling himself the Black Beetle is taking on organised crime and Nazis.

That’s pretty much it, and if I don’t seem that interested in the plot, it’s because I’m not. I feel like I’ve read this story at least half a dozen times in the last year or so. Black Beetle is superhero-ish (as in dresses the part but doesn’t have superpowers) noir in the vein of Mike Mignola’s last Lobster Johnson book, the Marvel Noir line, Green Hornet, Ma
Justyn Rampa
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
So I met Francesco Francavilla at my first and only Comic Con experience at Emerald Con. He was sitting at a table right when I walked in the door and there was an employee trying to get people to get his work signed. It seemed...a little humiliating for him. Additionally, in the state of awe and wonder I was in I got him accidentally confused with Francis Manupal, who was the artist on the New 52 Flash.

So I got a signature from Francesco must still be with my Comic-Con stuff...
Gayle Francis Moffet
A solid pulp story that comes out of the gate swinging and in full regalia, The Black Beetle could shape up to be a lot of fun. Francesco Francavilla both writes and arts for this book that’s set in the fictional port city of Colt City in 1941. In the first arc (which this trade collects, plus an issue #0), our hero goes up against gangsters, a bad guy in some truly ridiculous pajamas, and even a group of Nazi necromancers. It’s a busy life the Beetle has, and it’s certainly not dull. It should ...more
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