Monday, October 31, 2016

Review - The Black Hood Season Two #1 (@DrkCircleComics)


"Of course, I never sleep."

Fighting crime is typically left to the crimefighters such as the police and military. Very rarely do citizens take it upon themselves to do the enforcing. Greg Hettinger is one such man in The Black Hood Season Two #1 from Dark Circle Comics. The issue is written by Duane Swierczynski, illustrated by Greg Scott, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick and lettered by Rachel Deering.

The Black Hood is no more. Sure, there are rumors that the former cop known as Greg Hettinger is still out there, blending in with the homeless population—and emerging only to stop a violent attack before vanishing again. But the ruthless assassin known as The Nobody considers the Black Hood a loose end, and he’s willing to slaughter dozens to flush him out. How high must the body count rise before Greg steps forward to face an opponent he can’t possibly beat?

Swierczynski's approach in the issue is pretty basic yet surprisingly effective. The first half of the issue is spent reacquainting the reader with Greg Hettinger and his vigilante take on justice while the second half is focused on what's expected to be his upcoming opponent. Swierczynski uses each character as the narrative focus for their respective halves in a way that offers a dichotomy of conscience. In fact, most of the issue is narrated as stream of thought on the part of both characters and Swierczynski uses that technique in a way that doesn't slow down the pace of the issue. There's also a broader message that people can disappear into a crowd if they really want to and Swierczynski leans on that as a metaphor for wearing a mask.

The artwork is very rough. Scott's rather harsh approach to characters and scenery infuses the book with an appropriate amount of grit that's a good match for Greg and his approach. The extremely rigid panel layouts with slightly wider empty gutters in between give the art a cinematic quality to it. Scott frames panels to achieve this as well, in that many of the shots are establishing shots. Fitzpatrick emphasizes the seediness of the world Greg seeks to inhabit by washing the book out with darker tones of blues and blacks.

The Black Hood Season Two #1 is a strong opening salvo in Greg's continued war on the unjust. He's moved across the country and is seeking some anonymity--even more so than what just wearing a mask would get him. The script by Swierczynski is very straightforward and moves along at a brisk pace, getting character development out of the way for the good stuff down the road. Scott's artwork is presented in a way that looks and feels dirty, reminding the reader that there are both good and bad people in the world. The Black Hood Season Two #1 capitalizes on everything that worked in the first series and then some.

The Black Hood Season Two #1 is in stores now.

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