Colt City's protector, The Black Beetle, finally has Colt City's crime boss families right where he wants them, until someone else makes justice for them all unrealizable...permanently. Who is doing Black Beetle's job for him, with deadly results instead of just ones? It appears that Colt City has has the makings of a crime family coup on its hands...or does it?
There isn't much about the storyline in The Black Beetle #1 "No Way Out" Part One, that is terribly unique, but the mixture of characters, the look and feel of The Black Beetle himself, his pulp-noir city, and the surprise reveal at the end of the issue all combine to make a unique comic book reading experience. It's one that we haven't seen much of recently: a relatively straightforward story (with sufficient twists) involving a Golden Age-ish masked "mystery man" in the grandest tradition of pulp and early 20th Century mystery and mayhem serials and fictions. Francesco Francavilla's dimly lit cityscapes and shadowy pencils and colors make The Black Beetle one of the most realistic looking, yet sci-fi and grimy, comics on the market.
The last time I read something set in this time period with the type of grainy, newsprint-like, and action/mystery packed feel to it was when I re-read a reprint of Detective Comics (1939) #27. Everything about this issue, from its stylish 399cent (as in $3.99) cover price to its uneven and blocky logo, The Black Beetle drips pulp fiction. This is going to be the must read of 2013.