The launch of Archie Comics' mature division is spearheaded by The Black Hood #1. Reminiscent of the now classic tales of the Minutemen and resembling Hooded Justice from that team, you have a rather solid idea of what direction we can expect the new monthly title to move in. However, it is darker in tone if you can even imagine that.
The first issue of The Black Hood kicks off the five-part story arc entitled "The Bullet's Kiss." When Philadelphia police officer Greg Hettinger stepped into the middle of a gunfight, hot lead shredded his face—and he pulled the trigger, blind. Now Greg is waking up in a world where he’s a killer, hopelessly scarred and hooked on painkillers. What does a man do when he can no longer face the world, yet still wants to do good? He puts on a hood…
I really enjoyed the rough imagery artist Michael Gaydos conceived to bring Duane Swierczynski's tale to life for The Black Hood #1. Both the writing and artwork is a perfect combination of everything you'd expect from a gritty police procedural drama and the noir landscape of dark pulpy silver screen classics featuring Sam Spade and Mike Hammer. The story was tantalizing enough to keep me turning pages until the very end.
The Black Hood #1 is definitely for mature readers. It contains violence and gore, profanity, druge use, and frightening and intense scenes. Michael Gaydos' illustrations include blood splatterings, the deformed face of The Black Hood, and our hero downing pain pills.
Dark Circle Comics' The Black Hood #1 is a great start for the mature superhero Archie imprint. Duane Swierczynski's modern noir foundation and gritty storytelling is masterfully complimented by Michael Gaydos' grim artwork. If you're a fan of classic crime thrillers of the 1940s and 1950s as well as vigilante films like Dirty Harry and Death Wish, you'll find something to love inside this promising first issue.
The Black Hood #1 is available in print and Kindle editions.