REVIEW: The Black Hood #7: The Lonely Crusade Part 1

Script: Duane Swierczynski
Art: Michael Gaydos, Rachel Deering, Kelly Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Archie Comics/Dark Circle

Back in Philly, after having his California dreaming turn into a bit of a nightmare, Greg Hettinger returns to his life or least the parts of his life that he allows himself to have.  Sure, he has his partner and sure he has Jessie, the kind of girlfriend who is not his girlfriend.  But he also has the scars of the of the previous issues, both internally and externally, making it difficult to give up his addictions.

Duane Swierczynski is continuing an impressive run on this book, maintaining  a darkness level that is ratcheted way past Gotham level.  This is the seventh issues and the darkness is still not getting boring….yet.  The melancholy Hettinger lives with is only slightly lightened by his cast so it comes as no surprise that it is one of the cast that actually pushes him back into his addiction as the Black Hood.  Hettinger may see himself as glass half empty, but the comments of characters suggest that the Black Hood has made quite an impression on the civilians and crusaders on Philly’s streets.  The monologue running throughout the book is as you’d expect by now, part gum shoe detective, part noir with dialogue that may sound cheesy from a lesser writers pen.

Michael Gaydos is still around with his dark on dark pencils.  His style fits the book, even if at times there is still elements of using photo’s as an art reference; tell me that doesn’t look like Mark Hamill circa 1983 in the opening pages.  Gaydos works well with Rachel Deering with the very talented Kelly Fitzpatrick on colors; the trio giving the book  a consistent  feel and atmosphere with the previous issues, an environment delivered by an artists who seems to have found a book and a writer that helps bring out some great work.

The Black Hood is a great read.  As Hettinger continues to try to acclimate to his own re-invention, so does Swierczynski, who may need to add another string to the book to make it more than a one trick pony.

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