I entered Bête Noir #1 with little inkling as to what to expect. I had read a shortened blurb, and yet I still wasn’t quite sure what would unfold within the pages. Sometimes, that’s the best way to go into a new world. The story took hold of me from page one, lulled me into a sense of thinking that I understood the plot, then smacked me back into reality with twist after twist.
Writer Andrew Clemson must have done something to me. Put a spell on the ink, perhaps? His writing is so graceful and soothing, carrying the reader through the backstory in each panel as if we’ve always known these characters. The narrative is almost beautiful and melodic against a dark, scratchy background that eludes to something deeper, something disturbing. It’s a fine talent to be able to accomplish this. To grip the reader and make them beg for more pages after the end. Twenty-eight pages went by as if it were nothing. And yet, while he was able to do create something magical, he kept the pace and tension high throughout this John Wickian wonderland with witty dialogue, subtle humor, and brilliant subtext.
Artist Kris Wantowhy does not disappoint. With every page, you know something is definitely wrong, and it works to bring about a great contrast to Clemson’s writing. The reader can feel the heat of the shower, smell the corridors of the facility, and hear the squelching of blood. The lettering is on-point with each scene, especially in the action panels. It leaps off the page at the reader, again adding to the high quality of the comic.
An incredible rush of adrenaline that you never want to end, this is the first in a six-issue run – and thankfully so. I can’t wait to see where Bête Noir takes me next.
Creative Team: Andrew Clemson (writer), Kris Wantowhy (artist), HdE (letterer), Variant Cover: Sachi Ediriweera (Colors by Dan Lee) , Matt Hardy (editor)
Publisher: Mad Robot Comics
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