The Black Hood was unquestionably the breakout star of Archie's grim and gritty Dark Circle imprint. Sure, the initial wave of interest may have come from the fact that it was the first comic published by Archie to ever drop the F-bomb on the page, but what kept readers coming back was the brutal crime story of Greg Hettinger, a cop turned vigilante turned criminal who just kept making things worse for himself.
Now, Greg is back, having fled from Philadelphia and the pretty extensive crimes of his past, as Duane Swierczynski, Greg Scott, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Rachel Deering bring you The Black Hood: Season 2. And while the setting may have changed to California, the action is every bit as ruthless as it has been.
Generally speaking, I'm not a huge fan of comics referring to their arcs with the television-friendly term "seasons," but for Black Hood, I'm willing to make an exception. With their story of a cop who turns vigilante after a devastating injury, Duane Swierczynski, Greg Scott, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Rachel Deering have captured the feeling of a brutal, gritty TV drama better than just about anything I've ever read.
Captain America: Civil War is in cinemas now, and everyone’s raving about its impressive set-pieces, complex themes and snappy banter. Marvel Studios and the Russo Brothers not only managed to make possibly the best Captain America film (and the best Avengers film) so far, but they told an awesome, tightly-plotted story that never felt bloated despite the number of characters demanding the spotlight.
The Captain America franchise has always skewed somewhat more toward espionage thrillers than your average superhero series, similar in tone to the Jason Bourne series or the modern day James Bond films. If you loved Civil War and want to try some comics in a similar vein --- but you’ve already read Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s Captain America run --- we’ve compiled a list of five of the best independent comics to try next.
I think we can all agree that if there's one big problem with superhero comics, it's that they are not a very good source for practical tips on vigilante crime-fighting. As fun as a character like Batman might be, for example, it's way more difficult than it seems to throw tiny metal versions of your personal brand with any kind of accuracy or stopping power --- and don't even get me started on how impractical it is to drive a rocket car in a major city when public transportation is far more reliable.
Fortunately, we have The Black Hood, and in the next issue of the series, Duane Swierczynski and Robert Hack are continuing their commitment to offering up more practical advice to would-be vigilantes. In the eighth issue, you'll find solid advice like "getting hit with a baseball bat really hurts" and "please, do not ever do this, it is a terrible, terrible idea." See what you can learn for yourself with a preview below!
Valiant Comics‘ shared superhero universe is smaller and less familiar than those of its major rivals, but even a small shared universe can offer a lot to learn about. To help those readers looking to take the plunge into the Valiant Universe, we’ve assembled our own team of delinquents to break things down. Steve Morris knows Valiant inside out; J.A. Micheline is new to the universe. Micheline has the questions, and Morris has the answers.
Last time, JAM was champing at the bit to talk about Harbinger, one of the flagship titles of the Valiant Universe. This time, she and Steve are back to finish out the Harbinger Wars and talk about Bloodshot, the Jason Bourne of the comics world!
Assuming that you have any money left after the massive sales that went on during San Diego last weekend, I've got some good news: Comixology is bouncing back after the con with another round of digital dollar books, and this time, they've got a half-off sale featuring the future's greatest lawman, Judge Dredd. Just not the version you might expect.
Poor Greg Hettinger. Ever since Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos relaunched The Black Hood as the flagship title of Archie's Dark Circle line, he's been having a pretty rough time. He's been shot in the face with a shotgun, gotten hooked on painkillers, and taken up a new life as a masked vigilante that, in all honesty, does not seem to be working out that well for him. It's almost enough to make you forgive his shocking penchant for profanity.
But, as is usually the case with these things, the next issue is going to see it get even worse, with his secret identity exposed, a ticking clock on the complete ruination of his life, and, you know, that thing where he's getting punched and stabbed a whole bunch. It all kicks off with a fight to the death in a Philly cemetery, and you can check that out in our preview!
Duane Swierczynski is the man who made Archie Comics cuss.
When the company relaunches its superhero line as Dark Circle, the flagship title will be The Black Hood, in which Swierczynski and artist Michael Gaydos, co-creator of Alias, reinvent the character in an incredibly violent mature readers crime story focused on Greg Hettinger, a cop who gets injured in the line of duty while taking down a vigilante, and takes on the identity of the Black Hood in order to deal with the pain, frustration and rage that wells up as a result of his accident.
It's a brutal story that fits right in with Swierczynski's other work on books like Judge Dredd and Punisher, and as a result, it's also a pretty big departure from Archie's usual offerings, even in a time when the company is reinventing itself with critically acclaimed horror comics and a push for a more realistic Riverdale. To find out more, I spoke to Swierczynski to talk about the origins of the Black Hood as a hero for the bad side of Philadelphia, how far Hettinger has to fall, and, maybe most importantly, Swierczynski's own place in history as the first writer to work the F-bomb into an Archie book.
In all of comics, is there a villain more suited for Halloween than Judge Death? I mean, not only is he a spoooooky skeleton who has committed spoooooky genocide (which, on reflection, might be a level of horror that requires more than five Os), but he's essentially wearing a Halloween'd up version of the hero's costume. It's great.
Unfortunately, the citizens of Mega-City One aren't quite enjoying his presence as much as I am, largely because he's been rampaging through the city with the rest of the Dark Judges, racking up a massive body count. The one thing he hasn't done is kill Judge Dredd himself, and in this week's Judge Dredd #24, the American-made IDW Publishing series by Duane Swierczynski and Nelson Daniel, it turns out that there's a reason for that.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you, the discerning ComicsAlliance reader, like to get good comics without paying a lot of money for them. That's a pretty safe bet, right? I mean, who doesn't like getting comics on the cheap, especially when they're critically acclaimed titles -- specifically, titles that have been critically acclaimed by us, America's Most Beloved Comics Reviewers?
That's why we're keeping an eye on the sales over at Comixology to help you find the best comics that you can grab on the cheap, and spend your weekend with some great stories. This week: Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Fatale and IDW's line of Judge Dredd titles!
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