Mad Robot Comics brought a new caped vigilante story to life through Kickstarter last year with Bete Noir, and it seems to have nestled in my review pile ready to strike……and strike it did.It all opens on a world weary figure rising from his slumber at the midnight alarm he has set and gearing up for a nighttime task from his “to do” list and the narration kicks in to give us a real feel for the slog this is for him. The reasons behind that quickly become evident and through the first section of the book we are truly focused on central character James and the mind-set he has.
He finds his way to his destination but the rug, world and everything else is pulled from under him as the familiar face of an enemy steps out of the shadows to mess with him yet again. This is where the story flips our perceptions and focus switches to the newly appeared figure from the shadows as the story evolves into an altogether different beast than we first expected.
Writer Andrew Clemson has managed to create an indie superhero book that feels different from the flood of books we already see in the mainstream and the misdirection leaves this with a far fresher feeling than I was maybe first expecting. That’s an undoubted win to begin with but that’s backed up with suitably gritty & atmospheric art from Kris Wantowhy who gives the world a weight that hammers home the twists in the tale. Similarly, HdE’s lettering is on point and well measured to keep the story flowing and let the shadowy world on the pages tell the story it needs to. It’s worth mentioning the cover from Kris and variant cover from Sachi Ediriweera with colours by Dan Lee too, as both help to punctuate the story that unfolds & the whole vibe of the book exceptionally well too.
All in all, this feel like a slick addition to the growing list of “must-have” books from Mad Robot Comics and I’m sure Matt Hardy’s editing has had a part to play in making that fit in so well. The creative team are firing on all cylinders with this one and it feels like the start of a new 6-part series that will have or get, a solid fanbase to keep momentum going with it. Here’s hoping we see more soon and from a purely selfish stand-point I’d like a hardback collection once it’s complete.