The Black Hood is a new comic series from Dark Circle Comics by Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos. Dark Circle Comics is a new imprint from Archie Comics and The Black Hood is one of the first comics published under it. If The Black Hood is any indication, then I might be checking out some more upcoming titles from Dark Circle Comics.
The Black Hood follows the story of Officer Greg Hettinger, while responding to a police call is shot, in turn shoots and kills a masked vigilante known as the Black Hood. Hettinger’s life is slowly spiraling out of control as he deals with the aftermath, living with his face being scarred from the shotgun blast, knowing that he killed someone who was trying to do good and being called a hero for it just really makes Greg feels like a monster. Greg becomes addicted to painkillers and becomes more secluded from the outside world, finding escape from his situation behind the black hood that his partner snatched for him as a trophy. That is, until his speech therapist slows up at his front door and Greg attempts to avoid her end up with him confronting a group of muggers while wearing the black hood.
The story is a dark and gritty tale about a man slowly descending into self-loathing, only to find redemption in the guise of vigilantism. Personally, I hope this story will be along the lines of an realistic and gritty antihero, tough as nails hardcase with a chip on his shoulder and ammo to spare. One where Greg Hettinger confronts the criminal underworld with guns blazing. Given Swierczynski’s previous work, my wish might becoming true.
Michael Gaydos’ artwork compliments the story very well. It helps set the overall dark mood of the comic. The art has a very noir style, it reminds me of another comic I read years ago, but the name escapes me. The colorist, Kelly Fitzpatrick, has done a splendid job adding to the atmosphere of the story. There’s a washed out and faded feel to the art that accompanies Hettinger’s downward spiral.
The biggest gripe I have with The Black Hood is that the antihero story has been done to death. However, The Black Hood is an established character going back to the 1940’s, so maybe a modern revamp for the character is a solid approach. Only time will tell.
The Black Hood is off to a good start. I hope that the team of Swierczynski and Gaydos can pull off a realistic antihero story without the pitfalls that accompany such stories. I’m looking forward to the second issue because I want to see what they are going to take Greg Hettinger as the Black Hood.