Dark Reign: The Hood #1 (Marvel Comics)
by Jeff Parker & Kyle Hotz
One of my favorite developments from Brian Michael Bendis’s New Avengers in recent years (which extended into the “Dark Reign” event) was the excellent use he’s made of Brian K. Vaughan’s the Hood. However, the character’s depiction in various Marvel titles as of late has been inconsistent, and it’s definitely strayed pretty from the character’s origins. Writer Jeff Parker advances the title character’s story here by looking back at his roots and who the man really is. Parker recognizes that Vaughan’s criminal creation is a guy who’s smart but who’s also in over his head. The Hood’s persona as a criminal mastermind and leader of super-villains is as much of a mask as his demonic hood. Parker explains why he’s been more effective as a leader of villains as compared to others who’ve taken on that role in the past as well. Ultimately, the Hood is nothing more than Parker Robbins, a crook who just wants to protect and provide for his family, opting to do so in the most dangerous way possible. It’s just the only way he knows how.
I love that Marvel acknowledges where this character came from by hiring Kyle Hotz, the artist on the first Hood limited series, to bring him to life in this spotlight once again. Hotz gets the dark edges of the Marvel Universe, the quiet but pervading supernatural tone and the extreme personalities that gather in this story. He handles the crowded villain scenes quite well, but even with his exaggerated style, he able to convey Robbins’s humanity in later scenes. 8/10