Written by Duane Swierczynski
Illustrated by Michael Gaydos, Robert Hack,
Greg Scott, Rick Burchett,
Kelly Fitzpatrick,Rachel Deering
Cover: Greg Smallwood
Published by Archie Comics
Released 5/23/18 / $14.99
This is the best title to come from Archie’s Dark Circle line of books. Duane Swierczynski is a writer I’m absolutely fascinated with, and this is a huge feather in his cap.
While I’m not sure why it takes so long to get a trade from Archie Comics for anything, they are always worth the wait.
This book compiles the end of the first series of the Black Hood (another series did follow and it was excellent as well). You can’t get better than this.
At end of the first volume, Greg Hettinger needed to regroup. That didn’t end up so good for him.
So, after a failed stay in an institution, Greg returns to Philadelphia. Greg swears off the Black Hood and all the trouble it brings.
At the start of the book, Greg is doing all he can to push away the pull of the Hood.
Greg is also a recovering drug addict. That makes the book very real. It’s easy for the reader to connect because everyone knows a “Greg” in their life. He struggles with everything someone in recovery goes through. And you root for him to get past it all. Then, a band of wrongdoers called The Crusaders start causing trouble.
Needless to say, Greg can’t keep away from putting on the Hood for long. And once he does, it’s emotional and exhilarating for him. What ends up happening at the end isn’t like most books. It has some real and lasting effects. This isn’t just the story of a struggling hero. It’s the story of a police officer who has fallen from grace and is hurting. It’s the story of a real human being.
The art is really strong on this book. From Michael Gaydos right over to Greg Scott and more. Everyone does their best work. This is a hard look at what happens when you make the decisions to be a “hero.”
It will stay with you for a long time after reading this.