I like to say that I’m a big Bat-fan. For years, that only meant Batman, but now it also includes an action-packed comic from Dynamite Entertainment called The Black Bat.
I fell in love with this pulp hero revival the moment I opened the very first issue. And it’s continued to soar ever since, please pardon the pun.
Previously in THE BLACK BAT: “To save Carol Baldwin’s life, the Black Bat must do the unthinkable and break his most hated enemy out of prison. But will doing so cement his status as an outlaw? Also, the police start to lose their grip on the city as vigilantism takes hold with disastrous results.”
A LITTLE BLACK BAT HISTORY
The Black Bat first appeared in the pulp series “Black Book Detective” way back in 1939, even before I was born! The hero continued on in sixty-five stories over the next 14 years before pretty much vanishing from public view. Now, there have been several attempts to bring the character back, but they often involved pretty drastic changes, such as putting someone else in the outfit other than the original Anthony Quinn.
Although the new series happens in modern times, it keeps the tone of its pulp roots feel with a dark, corrupt city in need of a hero, and it finds one in the former District Attorney who loses his sight after defending a criminal boss in a legal case. Thankfully, some high-tech allies help him get the ability to see in the dark and has heightened senses, which allow him to outmaneuver most criminals.
There’s an interesting coincidence regarding Batman and The Black Bat. The two original publisher ended up in a legal dispute with DC Comics regarding the similarities of the Black Bat and Batman, and also disputing which character came first. Looks like whatever problems there were have been resolved or else the series wouldn’t have made it up to this issue, number nine.
THE SCRIPTING KEEPS THE PACE MOVING STRONGLY FORWARD
The writer providing the scripts for The Black Bat is Brian Buccellato, a favorite comics creator of mine. He does an excellent job of sprinkling in surprises just when I don’t expect them to appear. And he keeps the action coming at a fast clip so I never get bored.
One of the elements of the hero that I enjoy is that Quinn is “blind as a bat.” It does keep people from suspecting he’s the hero he is because, after all, who would expect a blind guy who hasn’t been hit by a barrel of radioactive waste to fight crime?
The author also does a great job of keeping the denizens of this comic realistic. For example, in this issue, The Black Bat gets hit with a huge surprise, and he’s actually stunned. I really liked that.
Also, the people we see are very different from each other, so I never have had trouble keeping them apart. I wish more comics were like this!
THE ART ACCENTUATES THE STORY
Mr. Cliquet does a great job of “telling” the script that Buccellato provides. He knows just when to use larger panels and frames and when to keep them small.
‘He also does an excellent job in both the action and dramatic sequences. I love when the combat begins just as much as I enjoy his ability to create the facial expressions needed to help us understand what the characters are feeling. The coloring is often subdued, which sets the tone very well.
It’s a combination that makes this book stand out to me among the recent pulp hero revivals!
Oh, and the Jae Lee covers are very cool!
THE BLACK BAT IS A GREAT HEROIC COMIC
Especially with the number of Batman comics coming out today, it’s a challenge to tell a street hero’s adventures that we haven’t seen before.
The Black Bat does it with a mix of powerful action, engaging drama and surprises I don’t see coming.
If you haven’t added this “bat” to your comics collection, I highly encourage you to pick up the title! Every time it hits the stores, I go crazy until I get my copy! Don’t miss it!