Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'The Black Hood' #5 by Duane Swierczynski, Michael Gaydos and Kelly Fitzpatrick

In a race against time, Greg Hettinger has to find The Connection and take down his drug empire before his identity is revealed to the public as The Black Hood. In the conclusion of 'The Bullet's Kiss,' Duane Swierczynski, Michael Gaydos and Kelly Fitzpatrick finish up the first arc with the same gritty action and grainy visuals that have made The Black Hood a must-read.

The Black Hood has been a compelling character study in vigilantism and addiction. Hettinger is one of the most complicated characters in comics who isn't easily defined. Sure, calling him a junkie cop with a penchant for wearing a mask and kicking criminal's asses at night would be fairly accurate but doesn't tell the whole story. 

Since the beginning of the series, Hettinger has provided the on-going exposition going on in his head and we've been privy to his mindset. He's very self-aware, but he's still a slave to his desires, to the next high, whether it's from breaking some thug's jaw or from drugs. It's this selfish pursuit that drives the action in this first arc. And it's what gets him in deeper and deeper in trouble. Not to mention stealing the drugs from The Connection's distributors makes him a target. 

The only place where the story falters a bit is in describing the criminal drug empire that only lurks in the shadows and during brief ominous meetings. There's a coordinated system of corruption that's a little too vague and perhaps it's purposely done to hide the reveal at the end. The result undermines the climactic impact of the final confrontation. 

Still, The Black Hood represents the same sort of deconstruction of the street hero that the Netflix version of Daredevil did. A man without powers, I realize Matt Murdock's heightened senses but it was downplayed, on a mission with incredible determination and resiliency. Despite the demons, Hettinger attempts to straighten himself out giving him a sense of humanity, flaws and all, that you don't see enough of in other comics.  

The artistry of Michael Gaydos and  Kelly Fitzpatrick has given the series the raw and unblemished facade of a Philadelphia that is in decline. A city seen through the grainy filter of an artist willing to reveal not only the ugly scars of its protagonist but that of his hometown. An artist whose lines travel a scraggly path unable to find the straight and narrow much like the characters on the page. Fitzpatrick tries to lighten the darkness with variegated color but is continually drawn to the shadows that envelope scenes with noirish flair. 

The Black Hood is the best of pulp fiction where heroism is a gray area as muddled and dark as the hearts of the villains. Hettinger walks a thin line of moral ambiguity but tries to redeem himself even if it is to save his own behind. Will he find redemption? Can he expose the corruption within the department and save himself in the process? Duane Swierczynski has crafted another compelling crime drama that will leave you riveted. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PREVIEW: 'Tet' #4 by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker

We've seen Eugene's story. But during his last day's in Vietnam, he finally learns how Ha survived the war. She's always been much stronger than him; and much stronger than he's given her credit for. With all their secrets gone, Ha and Eugene must decide how to move forward.

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #3 by Bryan Hill, Matt Hawkins, and Atilio Rojo

The story of Aphrodite is the focus of 'Cyber Force' #3. This compelling chapter continues to build the new world of Top Cow's reimagined original title. Corporate greed leads to murder and coercion until one doctor's obsession results in a powerful revelation.


CYBER FORCE #3 
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Editor: Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: May 30, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
Marc Silvestri released 'Cyber Force' twenty-six years ago and this second reboot of the former flagship series rests in the hands of writers Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins. It was only a matter of time before we'd get the whereabouts of the sentient android Aphrodite. Hill and Hawkins dedicate this issue to her story, and it's probably the best in the series so far. We get very little Carin and Morgan in order to give what is essentially an unnerving scientific horror story. 
Cyber Data is the or…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #2 by Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill, and Atilio Rojo

As Carin becomes accustomed to her new abilities, Stryker is determined to keep her out of the line of fire. He knows these "gifts" come at a price. Meanwhile, The Accuser recruits a dangerous ally.


CYBER FORCE #2  
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Edited by Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: April 25, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill set the foundation in issue one with the explosive and destructive arrival of The Accuser. In her wake was the shattered body of Stryker, who along with his paraplegic daughter, get an extraordinary chance to become not only whole again but enhanced. Carin has taken to her powerful working legs with enthusiasm and joy. Stryker not so much because he knows they're being used by C.O.I.It's an uneasy arrangement but origin stories are rarely simple and carefree. Whether one's powers are considered a gift or a curse, there is a price to pay i…

PREVIEW: 'The Ghost, The Owl' Hardcover by Franco and Sara Richard

On a cool evening on the swamp, a figure appears dancing across the water. A human figure, but far from a human form. A Ghost, a young girl spirit that seems to have lost its way. A good Samaritan owl decides to help against the wishes of his animal brethren.


What mysteries does the ghost girl hold the secrets to and what will happen when she and the owl unlock them together?  Will they find out what happened to her? Will she find her way to where she needs to be?  What will happen to the animals in the swamp and surrounding forest? An adventure with the most unlikely of pairs, the Ghost, the Owl.

THE GHOST, THE OWL HC
In stores on 5/2/2018 Writer(s): Franco Artist Name(s): Sara Richard Cover Artist(s): Sara Richard
48 pgs./ A / FC                   $9.99