Current Marvel readers know Parker Robbins, AKA The Hood, as a member of Norman Osborn's criminal Cabal and the Capo di tutti Capo, or “boss of all” of in the Marvel Universe's supervillain underworld. But when writer Brian K Vaughn and artist Kyle Hotz introduced readers to Robbins back in the 2002 mini-series “The Hood,” the title character had another family to worry about -- his own personal one. In his new five issue mini-series, “Dark Reign: The Hood” writer Jeff Parker [“Agents of Atlas”] teams with Hotz to chronicle the title character's struggle to maintain control of both his criminal and biological families. CBR News spoke with Parker about the series, which begins in May.
When Editor Bill Rosemann offered Jeff Parker “ Dark Reign: The Hood,” the writer accepted because it meant the chance to write Parker Robbins, a character he found especially compelling while exploring the actions of fairly detestable protagonist in an in-depth way. “The Hood is a bad guy, but you can see where he came from,” Parker told CBR News. “If Peter Parker didn't have a role model like Uncle Ben and grew up in a crummier neighborhood and got some bad breaks, this could have been the way he went. Maybe. That's going to be something readers can debate during the series as we open the wounds.”
The opening of “Dark Reign: The Hood” finds the title character under a tremendous amount of pressure. “He is running and gunning to keep everything together- his ultra human mob, his growing family, his sanity,” Parker explained. “Now, a lot of people answer to him, but he also answers to other people. Well, if you consider Norman Osborn and the Dread Dormammu people.”
In the mini-series, various members from both of his families will complicate the Hood's life, but a lot of his trouble is bound to come from two family members with identical roles. “His girlfriend returns, now with their child,” Parker said. “And we'll see his other girlfriend, Madame Masque.”
The Hood is not the first fictional crime boss to have his struggles with job and family documented. One of the more popular explorations of this type of personal challenge was presented on the hit HBO series “The Sopranos.” “I'm not going to say Bill DIDN'T mention Tony Soprano six times in our initial discussion, so it's a possible inspiration,” Parker remarked. “It's an interesting line to walk, following a character like that. You don't believe in what they're doing, but you understand that they do and this how their life works.”
There are several reasons why Parker is delighted to be partnered with Kyle Hotz for “Dark Reign: The Hood.” “I like the consistency it brings for Kyle to be back on the character. And it'll be cool to see him break out new artistic tricks here a few years later,” the writer stated. “Of course it's really cool to just see him draw that hood and cape fluttering around.”
Since it stars a fairly unrepentant villain, “Dark Reign: The Hood” is a different type of series for Parker, but the writer is enjoying the experience and hopes readers have as much fun reading it as he is writing it. “It's upbeat and positive with a lot of fun adventures. Wait, that's another book I'm writing,” the writer joked. “No, this is hectic, paranoid, haunted and manic. But hopefully, always engaging.”