Reviewed by: Brett Israel
The Black Hood really came out of left field for me. I went in totally blind, with no experience in the character. and therefore having no idea what I was in for. After the book down, I shook my head; only because I really needed to continue this story.
This story is more or less one we’ve all heard before, Cop losing his way more or less for a reason I won’t spoil. The style which Swierczynski tells it, heavy first person dialogue, very hard boiled and noir type feel, is extremely well executed. We don’t see a huge amount of that in comics today, and seeing it sparingly like this is a breath of fresh air. If you love crime fiction, or just hard boiled style film, this is one to look out for.
The main character, Gregory Hettinger, starts as a man with strong conviction for doing right, who makes a tough character choice toward the end which leaves the reader not so connected to him. While he has humility in the face of fame, and even shame in the reason the fame came to him; his downfall almost hurt me; I just wanted to smack him upside the head. I’m hoping Jessie, his speech therapist, knocks some sense into him, which is the path we are appearing to be going down. That, or she’s gonna meet an untimely end, which would be crushing. Regardless, I want to know about these characters, which isn’t the easiest to achieve in a first issue.
The only piece of this issue which had me little hesitant was that it seemed more like a prologue than anything else, which is clear at the last page. I enjoyed the ride, but I was left wanting a little more. One could argue, however, that my desire for that is the team succeeding, really wanting the next issue.
Gaydo’s art style draws me right to Alex Maleev’s work on Daredevil with Brian Bendis, which is one of my favorite comics runs ever. His gritty, scratchy style fits the tone of this book perfectly, making the Philadelphia streets as dirty and dark as the story commands. I was sucked right into the world of this book. I’ve seen Gaydos’ work before and I feel like this is a step up. His shading style in this book is so unique, almost colored pencil like; I loved dissecting every panel. Fitzpatrick’s color work and palette complement both the pencil and inks as well as the story here, really nailing down the world.
I briefly wanted to mention the lettering as well. The letter here makes the book special and different from everything else on the stands. I usually don’t notice lettering much (sorry!) unless it’s done by hand, but this is just perfect for this book. Brilliant work from Deering.
This book was a lot of fun for me, and if you love this genre I mentioned, you should seek it out. If hesitant, I would recommend grabbing this either with issue 2 when it comes out, or just reading both together. Either way, I enjoyed this very much, and I’m glad I took a chance on it.
4 cheesesteaks out of 5