I totally biffed on reviewing the first issue of this series. I meant to get around to it, but then it never happened. I wish I had though because it was a great first issue and just slightly better than this issue. I’ve been very impressed with Dynamite’s pulp line of books and this series in particular is very different from the other titles, but in a good way. There is something very modern about it and at times Buccellato’s writing comes across as Daredevil meets a young Batman. That’s one of the many charms of The Black Bat, he makes plenty of mistakes. Because this is a brand new series and for most people a first introduction to the character, the story is bouncing around between the past and present. Our main character Tony Quinn was at one time a mob lawyer, but it ended up costing him his eyes. Now he has empty sockets where his eyes once were and has deemed that life is not worth living. He’s managed to find his way up on the ledge of a bridge and is planning to kill himself when he hears a voice behind him. It’s an attractive woman (not that he would know) and she gives a quick rundown of his life and then asks him what he wants. He drops his sunglasses and says, “To Die” and jumps off the bridge.
In the present he and his junkie informant Silk are looking for a base of operations and Tony thinks he’s found the perfect spot… which is probably the same place he had his eyes taken from him. All they need now is the cash to buy it. Tony heads back to his hotel room and finds a present from Carol. She’s left him a case of guns and ammo and rings him as he opens the case. He says that he’s not a killer, but she tells him it’s better to have it and not need it. Tony gears up as the Black Bat and stakes out a transaction on the docks, he’s looking to score drug money, but he ends up finding the right hand man of Snate. Snate is the man responsible for his downfall and the right hand man Anton is never far away. Tony gets anxious about the possibility of facing Snate, so much so that he blows what little of a plan he has.
I’m not kidding when I say this reads like Daredevil and Batman combined to form one kick-ass hero. It reminds me of a “Year One” style of story in many ways, but mostly due to Tony just getting started and making mistakes. He’s working out of a hotel room; he jumps into situations without having a plan or at the very least an exit strategy. He’s a fucking mess and it’s great for the reader. I hope that he stays that way for a while because realistically most superheroes are experienced due to the writer assuming they are because of how long they’ve been around. Real people jumping into situations are bound to make a lot of mistakes and considering that being a vigilante is unlike any other job… the learning curve is high. Buccellato brings a fresh take to the genre and this character.
The art is some of the best I’ve ever seen on a Dynamite title. I hate to say it, but a few years back you really couldn’t count on the interior art of a Dynamite title being good. It was a crap shoot, but those days seem to be behind them. The art is very detailed a great fit for the story. The visuals are as sharp as the line work and the action is easy for the eye to follow. Personally, my favorite scenes in both issues have been Tony without his sunglasses and seeing his jacked up eyes. It’s chilling really.
This series is definitely worth checking out especially if you’re a fan of “Year One” style of stories in which the main characters is still getting their bearings. The well plotted story is perfectly matched by the masterful artwork, making for one help of a pulp filled vigilante story.
Writer: Brian Buccellato
Artist: Ronan Cliquet
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment