"Call to Arms" Part Three
Writer: Adam Cogan
Artist: Fracesco Francavilla
Publisher: Ape Entertainment
The time, pre-Revolutionary War. The problem, weird individuals bearing a resemblance to the monsters of fiction see opportunity in the colonies. They believe they are ripe for conquering and provide an excellent supply of maidens to slaughter. The solution, The Black Coat and his band of operatives.
Last issue the Black Coat deduced the location of the abomination responsible for the serial killings occurring in his territory. These killings include the slaying of one of his operatives and the ghoulish butchering of her that served as the signature for the psychopath. In a pitched battle, the Black Coat did everything imaginable and unimaginable to kill the creature but to no avail. He barely escaped with his life. Meanwhile, Black Coat learned of a spy in his organization, and his trusted confidant Ursula through the aid of an old friend from her pirate days plotted a trap in which to catch him.
This issue the Black Coat is being hunted for the crimes of the creature. Indeed, already a vigilante and saboteur against the Red Coats, he makes for a fine scapegoat. Once more Ursula comes to his rescue with a scheme to absolve him of the blame, win back the hearts of the colonists and capture or kill the monster roaming the streets and turning them into charnel roads. The dangerous plan however backfires and puts Ursula in a sticky, unwelcome situation. What happens next? Unfortunately, we’ll have to find out next issue.
The rich tapestry of characters ahead of their time but fitting to their period draw you into a dastardly plot against history. The seemingly unstoppable creature poses a real threat to Black Coat and his operations, and Ursula is in serious danger mainly because Cogan does his best to make these characters worth something and not just hollow ciphers that are fodder for the plot-beast. Cogan shows that these characters are smart and resourceful but sometimes that’s simply not enough.
The Black Coat swashes his buckle in fluid pencils and inkwash by Francavilla. The inkwash makes it appear that the book was published directly from the pencils. This technique gives the artwork a striking look and a rewarding amount of depth signified by the varied textures and grains of the period. Detail increases with the unveiling of Ursula’s customized firing piece, a nasty looking weapon given an artistic respect that aims it out of the confinement of the panels.
With outstanding writing by Cogan and an opulent tapestry of black and white uniqueness from Francavilla, The Black Coat once again arrives as welcome pulp adventure.
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