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The Black Hood #4

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by Duane Swierczynski, Michael Gaydos and Kelly Fitzpatrick

You know, it’s probably been said before, but there’s something about The Black Hood that just strikes all the right cords. Maybe it’s the sheer balls-out brutality of it all, maybe it’s the extreme, down-to-Earth nature of the story, maybe it’s just the magnificent art or, more likely, it’s a combination of all of those things and then some. Whatever the reason, Dark Circle Comics’, by way of Archie Comics, The Black Hood is an absolute winner.

Writer Duane Swierczynski has a story so full of grit that you put the comic down and find yourself spitting out little gains of gods know what. This story, and his take on The Black Hood, is so real and raw that there might not even be a metaphor that perfectly, or even adequately, describes it. Personally, there have been some misses from the Swierczynski catalogue that just haven’t resonated, so being tentative about this book was, well, natural. After that first issue, all tentativeness or hesitation was removed and replaced with a comic that strikes notes that you might not even know needed striking. It’s not even all doom and gloom, there are hints of humor and little bits light amongst the dark that gives The Black Hood more layers than you can imagine a little superhero book from Archie (essentially) could have.

A lot of that grit and real, raw feel can be attributed to the fantastic work of Michael Gaydos and colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick. As a quick, shameless self promotion you really should listen to our podcast with Kelly, because both she and the episode are awesome. Anyway, Between Gaydos’ charcoal-esque darkness and excellent character work and Kelly’s astoundingly perfect, limited and toned-down color palette, The Black Hood is one of those books that stays with you after you’ve read it. The impact of the art, the look of Greg’s face, the utter tone of the book is just unlike anything else you’re going to find out there right now. Gaydos and Fitzpatrick are a dream team, working on a book that seems absolutely tailor-made to their strengths and not only do they hit all the marks you could ask for in a good comic book, they do more. More than one can explain or describe; it’s just the feel of the book that they’ve achieved so perfectly.

The Black Hood is a winner; it’s one of those books that seems to be flying under the radar, and maybe that’s due to the new imprint, Dark Circle, from Archie and maybe it’s making people shying away from their books. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid of something new especially when it’s backed by a giant like Archie Comics. The Black Hood is down to Earth and real and once it’s on your radar good f’ing luck trying to forget it. It’s a modern masterpiece by a group of extremely talented creators. It’s everything that you didn’t know you wanted and maybe more than anything else out there it deserves to be on your pull list.

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