The Black Hood #1-4 (Dark Circle Comics)

The Black Hood #1Following in the footsteps of The Fox, Archie/Dark Circle Comics continue their resurrection of forgotten superheroes by unleashing The Black Hood back onto the streets. Guided by Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos, can The Black Hood reclaim the comic shelves from the bad guys (or rather Marvel and DC) or will becoming a success be too much for one man in a mask?

The Black Hood #1

Publisher: Archie Comics/Dark Circle Comics
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artists: Michael Gaydos, Rachel Deering, Kelly Fitzpatrick
Price: £2.49/$2.99 from ComiXology

[yasr_overall_rating size=”large”]

When police officer Gregory Hettinger is shot in the face while responding to a call of a drug deal gone bad, he ends up reacting on impulse and firing a shot off which ends up hitting and killing the original Black Hood. Now, severely scarred, this “Hero Cop” Hettinger finds himself stealing drugs to cope with the constant pain, an act the local kingpin doesn’t take kindly to, who frames Hettinger for a crime he didn’t commit. Now, Greg decides to put on the mask of his victim and become the new Black Hood in order to clear his name.

Despite a rocky start which leaves the reader wondering what direction this book will go, Duane Swierczynski has crafted a truly terrific story which is incredibly captivating and does a good job of keeping you on the edge of your seat, clambering for more once you reach that final page. The story is tight and feels very ‘the wire’ like in how it’s portrayed, but the real draw is the main character, who feels like he walks that fine line between hero you root for and anti-hero you wanna hate, but without allowing you to get to that point. This title also properly honours what has come before by maintaining the original character behind the mask, utilising a nice passing of the torch moment without making it too obvious.

Meanwhile, the art is absolutely beautiful and Michael Gaydos’ lines, along with Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colours, give the book a very dirty, grim and nourish feel which is reminiscent of David Mack’s Daredevil run, though it feels a lot more suited here. However, this series isn’t perfect as the past tense narration gets a little iffy in places, causing you to struggle to understand who is really telling the story. That said, it’s a minor quibble which can be easily overcome as you continue on.

pd_review4“The Black Hood should very well be considered the flagship title of the Dark Circle Comics brand. While, very much an anti-hero story, Swierczynski, Gaydos et al have crafted what is an exciting, beautiful crime story which dips it’s toes into superherodom. It might not be to everyone’s tastes, but that simply means more people should try something new, in which case, start here.”