There are few publishers that live up to the promise of publishing a fresh, jumping on point for newcomers. But Dark Circle Comics did it. Maybe it has something to do with the editor Alex Segura or the strength of the creative team (I’m thinking it’s a bit of both), but The Black Hood chapter seven and eight provide a clear point of entry for those that long for a proper comic book experience.
There’s one small panel illustrated by Robert Hack that caught me off guard. He illustrates a shot of Greg Hettinger’s left eye through the black hood he wears. We catch a glimpse of Hettinger’s scarred visage and there’s something just so tragic about that one panel that a flood of emotions wallop me almost as hard as each strike Hettinger takes while he fights off The Crusaders. But I’m not about to gun down this asshole in cold blood. I’m supposed to be the good guy. But Greg Hettinger is the good guy. In his own way, yes. But, he’s still very much the good guy. Between Hack’s artisty and Kelly Fitzpatrick’s coloring, never has there been more pathos and humanity in a comic since possibly the 70’s Daredevil series. But it’s something about that one panel not more than two pages into The Black Hood chapter eight. It’s a bit of a tear beginning to form; the “white hot bolts of pain”, and a sense of an abused dog that keeps returning to its master that we know everything we need to know about Greg Hettinger. He is The Black Hood. His master is his addiction to the crusade of justice. And despite each bruise and beat down, we’re just glad to have a comic of this importance back on store shelves. And to have Hettinger back in Philadelphia.
Duane Swierczynski’s The Black Hood chapter eight gives us Greg Hettinger’s first confrontation with The Crusaders. We don’t know much about who they are and what they want, but it’s apparent that The Crusaders are something to be feared. Hettinger, as The Black Hood, takes them on and in a fight that continues into an alley way, we get a sequence that plays a little like the German mechanic vs. Indy fight from Raiders of the Lost Ark, but with more grit and horror. Swierczynski paces the action in a way that allows Robert Hack and Kelly Fitzpatrick to develop in a way that’s just as intense, if not more so, than sequences in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead volumes. When the fight concludes and Hettinger thinks “f****** finally“, it’s one of the most sincerely authentic moments in a comic I’ve read. And the relief is earned.
Chapter eight of The Black Hood contains several moments that work in a way that demands an emotional response. Sometime near the end of chapter eight, we meet a 15 year old boy who was kidnapped by The Crusaders. (Or so I believe) I won’t spoil the exact nature of this sequence as I have never reached a moment in a comic book that left me so positively angry and upset. Duane Swierczynski and Robert Hack are master story tellers and their commitment to The Black Hood is solidly robust. Dark Circle Comics are back. It’s 2016 and comic readers have their first must read and must pull title of the year. F****** finally!
The Black Hood chapter eight gets give stars!
Script: Duane Swierczynski
Art: Robert Hack, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Rachel Deering
The Black Hood #8 CVR A Reg: Francesco Francavilla
The Black Hood #8 CVR B Variant: Robert Hack
On Sale: Available now
32-page, full color comic