Here we are folks, it's time to take a look at the second issue ever produced by Dark Circle Comics as it stands as a company today. Issue #1 of The Black Hood kicked off with a fun start so issue #2 should follow suit, right? It does, but it also shows off what a tragic and messed up character the man behind the Black Hood mask really is. Greg Hettinger is a full out junkie now stemming from the incident that caused him to convert from a good cop to a dark vigilante. He's moved on from pain killer and is seeking out much more and he finds himself in trouble toward the end of the issue when someone planted some stuff in his apartment which seconds later saw him under arrest when the cops raided his pad. Though admittedly he kept his goods off premises someone has it out for him bad enough to have someone break into his place and plant the stuff, which considering how this issue ended could mean trouble for Mr. Hettinger in next months offering. Sadly we didn't get to see much evolution to what will probably turn out to be a romantic involvement between the main character and his speech coach, though she did pop up for a quick moment and that was really it for her in this issue. But trust me, something is there. What had me on the edge of my seat is why someone has it out for The Black Hood and who is this person? Sure, Greg is making a stir on the streets but it isn't like he's targeted a major gang or anything, maybe he ruffled some feathers with his method of obtaining drugs or something but either which way it appears as if his first major hurdle will be mob/gang driven rather than a standoff with a super-villain. This kind of an encounter is fine for a story such as this as I don't project that this universe of characters is going to see much in the way of supernatural beings, most of the skirmishes are probably going to be military or mafia related with some quirky criminals peppered in for good measure.
The art in issue #2 was as dark and gritty as it was in the first issue, thanks to the magic pencils of Michael Gaydos, who brings a buddy and noir look to this series. Everything feels very pulpy as if I'm reading The Shadow or The Spider, which is nice because I love pulp stories, and it feels more like a crime tale than a tale about a superhero (which Archie said it would). If I had to compare this book to something it would be a mix of DC's Hitman, classic pulp stories like The Shadow, and maybe something way out there like Lobster Johnson, with a little Batman splattered in there for coloring. It's unique enough to where it's hard to draw a true comparison but it's familiar enough that you want to try. As I said in my review of the first issue I hope this book succeeds and continues to see print. It's a fun story with an interesting twist and with orders for the first issue being most likely well above what Archie had hoped (10,300, not counting direct orders and digital sales) I'm sure we'll be seeing The Black Hood in production for a while. It's probably going to end up a sleeper hit and this is the kind of thing that could end up an AMC original series someday, so one can only hope that it continues to find new fans as it goes. Check it out.