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REVIEW: 'The Black Hood' #3 by Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos



The Black Hood has already set the stage for gritty, dark themed crime stories so finding comparisons to the smash Netflix series, Daredevil, wouldn't be a stretch but Greg Hettinger is a little more tortured than even Matt Murdock. In issue three though, this man in the mask is shaking things up while finding his soul again. 

The ascension of Hettinger to heroic cop was almost as quick as his descension into drug abuse and reckless vigilantism. This character-driven drama adds more to the familiar tale of a vengeful protector taking on a hood and fighting crime. Imagine Bruce Wayne without the billions, without the gadgets and without the support of a butler/confidante. Just a cop looking for justice and the next high. 

The fact it's a first-person account gives us a running monologue that lets us in on his train of thought for better or for worse. Despite being framed as a junkie cop, Hettinger still finds time to put on the mask, but his desk duty has him reevaluating his life. He starts making changes for the better and putting him on a healthier path. Normally, I'd worry if your vigilante starts to find his happy place and starts making healthy choices but I'm confident Duane Swierczynski will throw some unpleasantries his way soon. 

It's refreshing to see a protagonist that isn't one thing. He's constantly evolving. Here we are at issue three and Hettinger has been through a lot already and now he's transitioning again. There's no flowery crusade or parent dead in the alley to avenge he's a working class hero finding his way. 

Michael Gaydos continues to do exceptional work giving The Black Hood it's weathered, beaten, and gritty urban landscape. Philadelphia, in all its Sephia glory thanks to Kelley Fitzpatrick's colors,  and Gaydos' character designs are great and varied. They look like real people not templates of one another. 

Like the titular hero, The Black Hood is finding itself, not settling to be just another vigilante book. It's just as concerned with the person beneath the mask as it is with the search for justice. Hettinger is flawed and scarred, certainly not the face of a superhero, but one that is riveting and that's what makes The Black Hood so compelling.



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