Story: Duane Swierczynski
Art: Michael Gaydos
What They Say:
“Bullet’s Kiss, Part 4” The Connection’s lieutenants have discovered the identity of the new Black Hood. And now Greg Hettinger has only 24 hours to unmask their boss — the man who set Greg up! As the badly-injured Black Hood struggles to piece together the puzzle, he’s forced to put his faith in a woman who could end up saving him… or sending him straight to the slammer!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Following Greg’s rise and fall and rise again has been interesting across the first three issues that have presented a very grim and gritty world that he inhabits. As a man trying to do the right thing as the Black Hood now, he’s gone big with it in taking down so many low level punks and thugs throughout, but he’s always going to end up going too far. Which is what, in the end, will really propel him far if he can survive it. Having him end up against a pair of overpowered types with a lot of skill compared to his straightforward brawler type abilities is the kind of challenge he needed in order to humble him a bit, but also to get him to really understand the situation that he’s in.
Having it take place in the graveyard as the sky darkens just makes it all the more interesting to watch unfold, especially with Greg’s narration about the two men and who they are, and some of the local history that goes along with it. It adds some really good color to events and the characters, particularly with Graham, as Greg struggles against them as the Black Hood. It plays well since he really does have to work to even hold his own, but it goes downhill quickly when they remove his mask in a solid moment and realize exactly who he is. Greg’s narration is great here as he begins to talk about what he has to do, how it’s forcing him into this position, and you just wait for him to really snap and go all out in taking them down so hard they can never say anything or reveal who he is to their boss. That he doesn’t get to do it and instead gets taken down a few notches just as the cops arrive on the scene? That puts him in a real panic since Graham and Savitz shut up and get taken in since they know they can get out of anything through their connections.
Following Greg on this new journey as he escapes, wounded and struggling, is really engaging to watch. He’s working through ideas on how to survive this, but there’s a pervasive feeling that it’s all over and everything will be ruined now, which makes sense. Mixing that with him doing things like taking the train back home and having others see his face and having to deal with their reactions just pains and hurts him all the more. His mindset does allow him to come up with a longshot kind of way out of things, which is what the next issue will revolve around as the final part of the first arc, but this one ends in a great way as in an attempt to get help since he knows he can’t do it all alone, he actually has to reveal things to Jessie. She handles it better than one might think, but it makes sense considering what we’ve seen of her and how people react in the real world by wanting to know more, and then feeling involved by knowing that and wanting to help in some way, even as it makes you complicit in things.
The Black Hood continues to be a grim and gritty book with a harsh world that Greg lives in, both with the look and feel of it but also his mindset as he copes with what he’s going through. It’s well played here with what it does, seeing an extended slugfest between him and the others and his realization that he’s nowhere near good enough to stand against them. He’s been playing loose with things since taking on this identity and it blows up in his face pretty well here, which forces him to react in ways he normally wouldn’t with a little rational thought. But he hasn’t really been rational since everything went south for him with his face and that makes it easy to believe that he does the things he does. I’m curious to see how it all falls out now, with him and with Jessie, and to see if he still holds onto the hood by the end of this first arc or if someone else takes up the mantle for the next storyline.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Dark Circle Comics
Release Date: May 27th, 2015