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Graphic Novel Review – The Hood

After having read a few dozen graphic novels this past year, I’ve started to track previous works of the writers I’ve liked so far.  That’s how I came across The Hood.  Written by the creator of Y: The Last Man, Bryan K. Vaughan, this story brings us the perspective of a villain and his inner demons and who he really is; yet that might be more rethorical than anything else.

The Hood tells the story of Parker Robbins.  He is a lower class citizen that leads a life of crime from time to time yet tends to have some principles and values.  The world of this story, being in the Marvel Universe, is pretty robust.  His father worked for The Kingpin and one of the first things he remembers from growing up was seen a fight between Electro and DareDevil.  Throughout the story, Parker has a pregnant girlfriend who he cares for a lot, yet continuously visits a Russian whore.  He has a mentally ill mother who he visits yet lies to her.  He has a recovering drug addict for a cousin that is always looking for “jobs” that tend to not end as they start planned. 

On one of those jobs they enter an empty warehouse full of satanic symbols and candles and then they are attacked by what seemed to be a Nisanti demon with a cape.  Parker shoots the thing and it seems to die.  While his cousin runs, Parker steals his cape and boots.  To make a long story short, the boots allow him to float and the cape makes him invisible and he starts planning to use them for his own personal gains getting the name “The Hood” like almost any other cape crusader/foe…from the press.

During the rest of the book he tries to rob from The Golem, an ex soldier for The Kingpin and gets his cousin in trouble.  He also kills a cop (which repercusions into another storyline at the end of the series)  The book goes on as one travels into the mind of this character and his decision-making process as he tries to do what he believes is right, while dealing with superpowers, a pregnant girlfriend, a sick mother and a gang of super villains behind him (Constrictor, Jack’O Lantern and Shocker and Madam Rapier who to my limited knowledge is not that well known) and the loot he stole.

This story was originally released in 2002 under MAX comics as a six issue series and later absorbed and released by Marvel Comics.  Since then the character The Hood has appeared in different storylines like Beyond! and New Avengers and Civil War.  Although I’m not used to reading traditional superhero comics, I decided to give this one a chance for his writer. 

Of course I’ve talked about him before, Bryan K. Vaughan, creator of such books like Y: The Last Men, Pride of Baghdad and Ex Machina (to be reviewed soon) is known for his reputation as a great storyteller and he is.  For a six issue series he was able to give the characters enough depth and a pretty good storyline to follow.  There are some holes in the story but I presume they where intended that way since the character was later adopted by Marvel and used as desired so the holes got sealed with different stories by different writers.

Another person on board is the penciller, Kyle Hotz, who is an American comic book writer known mostly for horror comics.  He is not a big name but he has worked for Marvel, DC and Image comics on different books.  He has worked with writers like Steve Niles in a comic called Epilogue.

So although I thought that the book was going to be a little bit more mystical, and meddle more into the demonology and satanic rituals found on the first issue, it ended up being more of a personal turmoil characterization of a villain and his loyalties while dealing with powers that give him some superiority over most of the people.  It was a good book; I guess I just expected something else.  For anybody into traditional comics it should be a must read.  Anybody looking more into independent books, maybe you should skip this one.

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