It feels like you can’t go a month without the name ‘Matt Garvey’ appearing on a new comic book. As he continues his one man mission to fill up our review pages, this month he brings us Glass Hood, a prequel to last year’s award wining Red Rocket Comet and is another multi-genre tale of a supervillain bringing his feud with a hero to a head..
Publisher: Labrat Comics
Writer: Matt Garvey
Artist: Grayham Puttock, Stefano Pavan (Art/Colours), Roberto Cloma (Flats), Matt Garvey (Letters)
Price: £6 from mattgarvey.bigcartel.com
Victor Day is the Glass Hood, but that was a long time ago. Having finished his 20 year prison sentence, Victor is out and has one thing on his mind – revenge against the man who put him away. The subject of his ire, superhero Commander Justice, a.k.a. Maxwell Marshall. Our story begins with Day holding his former nemesis held at gunpoint, with the pair having reached the destination for their final showdown; a graveyard in the black of night. But what is Victor’s ultimate plan for Max and what could have happened back in the day to have brought them both to this place?
As with Red Rocket Comet, Matt Garvey has produced a really enjoyable and captivating comic, which effortlessly weaves two stories and multiple genres together to create something really fantastic. On one side, we get to see the two super characters interact within a dark and gritty noir-esque story set in the present day, which features gritty and moody art from RRC’s Grayham Puttock. While on the other side we flash back to see them in their prime, in a more silver age, superheroic story with vintage inspired artwork from Gravey-verse newcomer Stefano Pavan.
It’s a format that works really well, and in both scenarios, the lead characters feel wonderfully written. They are distinct from each other, but also from themselves across the different time periods. This is most definitely the case with Victor, the titular Glass Hood, as his character feels very cold and calculating in the present. While in his earlier incarnation he feels more of a generic villain. Yet when we discover the reasons behind his actions it makes him much more sympathetic and intriguing as a result. Meanwhile we see Max alternate between valiant hero and pathetic victim, which continues Garvey’s themes of subverting superhero expectations which he started in RRC.
As with RRC, the artistic duties are split between Red Rocket Comet alumni Grayham Puttock and new Garvey-verse collaborator Stefano Pavan. Both offer some seriously fantastic art throughout this issue, with their respective styles contrasting perfectly. Puttock’s gritty black and white pages feel like they could have been plucked from a Jock book, while Pavan’s feels more like 70s and 80s Marvel (reminding us of Sal Buscema’s work on Spectacular Spiderman). While both men display remarkable skill with their work, Puttock’s use of real world models for some of his characters sees him base a witness on comedian Joe Wilkinson and his wife is based on Hattie Jacques. While this may have worked for Bryan Hitch in Ultimates, it is a bit too close to the bone here and can be distracting to the reader (assuming you recognise these people in the first place!). Meanwhile, Pavan does a fantastic job of following in Andy Clift’s foot steps, but they are big shoes to fill. He does an admirable job, and it helps that the style is a bit more modern than Clift’s pulpy inspired work. However it lacks some of the polish that Clift brought to the series.
With Glass Hood, Messrs Garvey, Puttock and Pavan have crafted a fantastic comic, which is both an entertaining and mesmerising story, as well as being a visually stunning feat. While it doesn’t quite reach the same dazzling heights as Garvey and Puttock’s previous collaboration, Glass Hood is nonetheless a beautiful and compelling story with a smart post-modern look at the superhero genre which is definitely worthy of your attention.