‘The Black Hood’ Ramps Up Tension As It Heads To An Explosive Conclusion

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Black Hood

Greg Hettinger, formerly known as the Black Hood, was living as a vagrant in California after giving up his life of turmoil as a masked vigilante in Philly. He just wanted trouble to stop following him wherever he went, but even living on the fringes of society couldn’t prevent that. His need to help others and stop to stay hot on his trail. The Nobody’s been scouring the country to find Greg, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. He’s dead-set on undoing Greg’s heroic work, creating a higher body count everywhere that Greg has stepped foot. Now it’s up to Greg to retrace his footsteps all the way back to where it all began—but what will he find there?

Black HoodThe Black Hood Season 2 #3
“The Nobody Murders Pt. 3”

Written by Duane Swierczynski

Art by Gregg Scott
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Lettering by Rachel Deering
Published by Dark Circle Comics, an imprint of Archie Comics

Writing

This issue of The Black Hood REALLY ups the tension and suspense, as the confrontation between Hettinger and the elusive Mr. Nobody finally happens, albeit just for a moment. Duane Swierczynski writes with precision, as we get sharp-edged interior monologs for Black Hood that truly depict the desperation the ex-cop is feeling. It continues the ‘hard-boiled’ style and flow that has been such a good part of this comic.

The Nobody also comes across as a deadly, yet entertaining villain (the best kind in my opinion), who, misguided as it is, has a philosophy for his violent rampage. I find myself thinking about HIS backstory and what created such a human monster of a man.

The pacing here is excellent, with a perfect ‘cat and mouse’ intensity that propels the narrative forward. We’re heading to a conclusion here soon, and you can feel the tension about to pop.

And then there is a surprising cliff-hanger of an ending that sort of turns the series on its head and brings into question some of what has happened not only in Season Two but in the set-up and origin of Greg Hettinger as Black Hood as well.

Art

Gregg Scott and Kelly Fitzpatrick drive the story with very cinematic panels and layouts, that really express the suspense of the narrative.  There are a lot of  ‘widescreen’ panels, scenes of driving, with claustrophobic depictions of Hettinger behind the wheel as we see slightly off-colored scenes of Nobody’s actions and their aftermaths. This juxtaposition makes the reader sweat along with the Black Hood, as we feel as helpless as he does.

As has been the case for the whole series, the linework and colors are refreshingly non-glossy and gritty. This work is comparable to what Sean Phillips has been doing for years, putting it in the BEST company for the crime comic genre.

Conclusion

Crime comic fans should really be reading this title, as it offers something unique with its mythology. It’s also a visual treat with a very taut narrative. Next issue seems to be the conclusion to this first Season Two arc, so it’s a good time to go back, catch up, and get ready for what is going to be one hell of a showdown between Black Hood(s)? and Mr. Nobody.

You can pick up The Black Hood and other Dark Circle Comics here or at your local comics shop.

This issue includes a backup,  a classic Black Hood story written by Robin Snyder and Marv Channing with art by Al McWilliams. It’s a fun bronze-age story from 1981 that will give you a nice sense of history regarding this character.

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Manny Gomez is a freelance writer based out of Florida’s west coast. He obsessively reads interviews, binge watches TV shows, loves comics, movies, punk rock, hip-hop, stand-up comedy, detective novels and the mythology of baseball. His best friend is a dog.

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