The Black Bat-The Purple Scar
Faces of Fear
By Ron Fortier
Illustrations by Rob Davis
Guest Reviewer – Michael Housel
Just finished the novella, THE BLACK BAT/THE PURPLE SCAR: FACES OF FEAR, the latest crossover adventure from Moonstone Books. Gotta say--whoa!!! This one sure overflows with action and intrigue. It's also written by Black Bat raconteur and Airship 27 Publications founder, Ron Fortier (a good sign, if ever there was one, for no one weaves a New Pulp yarn quite like Captain Ron). The adventure is also graced by gripping illustrations from his creative pal, the legendary Rob Davis!!!
Faces of Fear deals with the evident rise of dead criminals within Black Bat/Tony Quinn's NY turf. It appears that the insidious, porcelain-faced Mr. Mask is responsible. Naturally, Black Bat (accompanied by his faithful assistant, Silk Kirby) leaps in to tackle the situation. However, as the weirdness mounts, another enigmatic figure enters--that hard-hitting, rubber-masked avenger, the Purple Scar, aka Miles Murdoch.
After the Black Bat rescues the Purple Scar from a sticky situation, the crusaders decide to join forces to untangle the perplexing manifestations.
As with Fortier's Black Bat comic-book entries, Faces of Fear moves at a rapid clip, but the blistering action never blurs the characterizations, which remain distinct throughout, courtesy of the author's crisp, engaging style. The story also does an excellent job probing concepts of identity and the secrets people tuck beneath their various facades.
Davis' wonderful illustrations give a film-noir ambiance to the tale: each image projecting a moody, almost three-dimensional depth that pulp fans will relish.
By the adventure's conclusion, one side triumphs over the other, but I won't reveal exactly how. Experiencing the way Black Bat and Purple Scar (or more precisely, Fortier and Davis) make it click is all part of the fun.
Incidentally, the stunning hardback-cover artwork is by Davis, with Eric Enervold having rendered the dynamic, softcover version. Cool!!!
Give Faces of Fear a try. You're guaranteed a rousing treat, with either edition you buy. Heck, why not splurge for both?