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Advanced Review: THE BLACK HOOD #1

Duane Swierczynski and MIchael Gaydos relaunch the character under the new Dark Circle Comics imprint at Archie Comics.

Note: THE BLACK HOOD #1 is on sale February 25, 2015. Final Order Cut-Off date is February 2.

The Good

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The Black Hood is a character that has been around since 1940. Who is the Black Hood? You don't need to worry about the past individuals that went by that name as we are introduced to Philadelphia police officer, Greg Hettinger.

We've seen many superhero origins before. They often involve a tragedy affecting the character, inspiring them to become a hero. THE BLACK HOOD's story does involve a tragedy but it's not quite in the way you'd expect. Duane Swierczynski gives it all a gritty and more realistic feel. When coming across a gunfight, Hettinger is shot but manages to fire his gun as well. We get an interesting glimpse at what type of situation might possible feel like. The repercussions and events that follow really establish who Hettinger is and will be. Even though we have an idea how the story is going to go, you still feel like you're not quite sure what's coming on the next page.

Michael Gaydos's art fits the mood of the story perfectly. If you've ever seen his art before, you likely have, you know exactly what to expect here. The visuals immediately pull you into the story. There's a great balance of it all having a real feeling to it despite being a comic about a vigilante wearing a mask. You simply feel the emotions and vibe pouring off the main character.

And let's be clear, this is a mature title. There is a little profanity here. We're also talking about a guy getting shot in the face. It doesn't feel over the top or gratuitous but readers should be aware.

The Bad

The only real 'bad' thing is the funk you'll feel as the character goes through the events following the gunfight. This isn't the most cheerful book you'll read, and it's not meant to be. This issue shows it like it is for our main character. I don't think anyone will come into this looking for a cheer-fest.

The Verdict

Get ready for a new take on an old character. The set up for THE BLACK HOOD is great. It feels like we're reading something new. It's something we haven't necessarily seen time and time again in the past. Duane Swierczynski does a great job in creating a new character in Greg Hettinger and fleshes him out nicely. We know superhero origins often involve tragedy but Swierczynski gives us one with a different perspective. Michael Gaydos' art along with Kelly Fitzpatrick's colors are perfect in topping off the tone of the book. If this is any indication in what we can expect in future Dark Circle comics, we have a lot to look forward to.

5 stars out of 5.

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