The Hood’s profile has risen considerably since his first appearance in a Brian K. Vaughan-scripted MAX miniseries some years ago. Armed with a demonically-powered invisibility cloak and signature dual handguns, he’s become a staple of the Marvel Universe following some prominent appearances in “New Avengers.” Now, awarded membership of Osborn’s Cabal as a result of Dark Reign, The Hood has the perfect excuse to take a starring role in another miniseries.
However, Dark Reign followers might want to think twice before picking up the series. Following a trend started by both “Dark Reign: Young Avengers” and “Dark Reign: Fantastic Four,” the event tagline heralds little more than a passing reference to Osborn’s lordship over the Marvel Universe. Instead, Parker and Hotz deliver something that’s far more of a follow up to the original Hood mini than the current big event. After catching glimpses here and there of how his leadership of the criminal syndicate is shaking out, we’re now going to see exactly how seriously his position has affected him -- a fine premise for a series, but it’s not really Dark Reign material, is it?
That aside, it’s an adequate enough start. The tone of the issue hangs closely around crime book, and even though it’s far from what Parker is best known for, he’s clearly comfortable in the role. The effect is undoubtedly augmented by Parker’s pairing with Kyle Hotz, a fantastically atmospheric artist who does this sort of thing far better than most, without sacrificing the storytelling. His villains look like villains, and the world they inhabit is suitably dingy without being obscured by darkness.
Overall, there’s little to complain about, but similarly little to get excited about unless you’re specifically a fan of the character. Doubtlessly, the cliffhanger will leave existing Hood fans itching for the next issue, but in all honesty, I had to hit Wikipedia to decipher the importance of the final page reveal. Parker just about gets away with it, but when one suspects that the majority of the audience will come to this book as I did -- out of "New Avengers," rather than the previous "Hood" series -- you have to question the wisdom of an ending like that.