By Brian Buccellato, Ronan Cliquet & Mat Lopes
The Black Bat has been away for a few months, and it’s good to have this series back. Brian Buccellato’s take on the character has a lot of substance to it, while many other pulp reboots remain fairly shallow in terms of their overall vision. The Black Bat #7 dives headfirst back into the plot, but it felt a little confusing.
The story in the latest installment jumps around quite sporadically. The aftermath of the courthouse explosion is covered in bits and pieces from a number of perspectives, while the Bat himself appears to have been set upon another course of action. However, we never really got a lot of insight regarding who was pulling the Bat’s strings before and so the internal switch of Carol and Tony on this new path didn’t have the impact it could have. It remains relatively uncertain who is who throughout the book, and the many scene jumps featured make it all the more confusing. Despite this fact, it remains interesting to see Tony becoming more and more vicious in his alter ego during the few action scenes featured.
The artwork in this series remains superb. Black Bat #7 had a particularly impressive noir sensibility to the visuals; Mat Lopes’ colors are incredibly ‘smooth’ and really add a lot of depth to each image. Ronan Cliquet’s illustrations are also very well-detailed with a lot of realism emphasized by excellent shadowing and lighting effects. There were some really epic spreads in this latest installment as well, including the images of the Bat emerging from the flames of the explosion, and later storming the enemy compound. The action sequences in particular are very dynamic but the colors really give this book the necessary pulp feeling.
The Black Bat has been an interesting take on the concept of vigilantism but the story could use some additional exposition at this point. The cast of characters and their motives continue to become murkier, which made issue #7 more confusing than it could have been. However, the artwork is a shining example of what pulp comic books should look like. Furthermore, the protagonist remains an enjoyable character to follow and the story still has plenty of potential. It was interesting to see a number of cops questioning why the department is covering up for one of their own while casting the Bat as the villain; this was a fairly unexpected dynamic which will hopefully continue in future issues.