The Nazi Werewolf Korps of Hitler's Third Reich are searching Colt City for an ancient Egyptian artifact of great and mysterious power named The Hollow Lizard. Unwittingly inherited by the Natural History Museum of Colt City, and currently in the charge of archeologist Dr. Antonia Howard, The Hollow Lizard's presence at the museum sets the stage for a thrilling battle between The Black Beetle and the Werewolf Korps...
Harkening back to, while paying homage to, the pulp classics and matinee serials of the 1930s and 1940s much in the vein of the Indiana Jones films, Francesco Francavilla's The Black Beetle begins his solo issue adventures with the thrilling The Black Beetle #0 "Night Shift." Mixing the type of World War II era themes of international intrigue and breakneck speed adventure that the aforementioned Indiana Jones film did with cape (or superhero) aesthetics, The Black Beetle is one of the most fun to read genre stylized releases this year. Firmly planting his fictional Colt City and its mysterious protector firmly in a defined era, packed with all the nostalgic charms one would expect of a fiction set during this time period (zeppelins, huge Zenith radio sets, and period military and civilian costumes), The Black Beetle has the potential as an action/adventure series to rival the Indiana Jones and The Rocketeer series of comics and films (another similar time period hero).
Francavilla's very Kubert-esque style is a perfect fit for the dusty museum corridors, stuffy Nazi uniforms, and shadowed masked adventurer's capes and cowls of The Black Beetle's setting. He creates some great action scenes and bounces effortlessly between this issue's highly kinetic and darkly atmospheric panels while maintaining a continuity of look that only a sequential art master can.
Easily one of the year's best debut issues, The Black Beetle #0 is opening salvo of what looks to be one of the best ongoing series of its kind.