Current Reviews


Black Coat #1 (of 4)

Posted: Friday, May 5, 2006
By: Kevin Noel Olson

Writers: Ben Lichius, Adam Cogan
Artist: Francesco Francavilla

Publisher: Ape Entertainment

Ben Franklin is widely recognized as an American pioneer in publishing. While comic books did not exist as a format at the time, if they did, The Black Coat would crowd the then non-existent newsstands of the Revolutionary War era along with Poor
Richard's Almanac
(which of course would have carried then non-existent Outland comic strip, but that's beside the point). In fact, in this issue, Ben Franklin makes a cameo appearance, albeit perhaps unapproved.

Writers Ben Lichius and Adam Cogan with inker Jeremy Colwell and colorist Jim Charalampidis have captured an era that education has left sadly and erroneously idyllic. That's not to say that the era did not have its good points, but the creative team of The Black Coat presents a realistic view of the era while offering a believable fantastic aspect. It skims topics such as the racism and sexism that existed at the time without being preachy and still contains an admiration for the founding fathers of the United States.

The character of The Black Coat controls a series of agents not unlike many pulp-era heroes (The Shadow being perhaps the most familiar reference). Starting out this story is the same preview offered in the earlier Comixpress version of the book, but the additional material following makes this an excellent read. After leaving his semi-atavistic submarine (let's not forget the era's Turtle invention) The Black Coat faces off with a pirate captain named Blithe who is attempting to attack a ship carrying the illustrious Mr. Franklin. The brief encounter is packed with action, with the result being the destruction of the pirate's ship accomplished single-handedly by The Black Coat. Later, The Black Coat is made aware of the death of a woman and the removal of her arms, but what exactly is the conspiracy behind this murder?

The Black Coat is a phenomenal book with incredible artwork by Francesco Francavilla and a credible but amazing storyline. With a brilliant cover by Francavilla colored by Euan MacTavish, The Black Coat is a product Benjamin Franklin would have been proud to publish, and any comic collector would be thrilled to own.

This book hails a new type of hero fiction set in the Revolutionary War era ("Patriopunk" anyone?). Along with films such as The Patriot and Sleepy Hollow and comics like The Black
and the upcoming Revere by AliasComics, the future for fans of "Patriopunk" looks bright!

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