Review by From the Booth‘s own Ken
There’s a reason that Spider-Man has been fighting Doctor Octopus for 50 years. It’s hard to add a new enemy to the rogues’ gallery when there are so many classics. It’s rare that a new enemy comes back after one arc, let alone resonates with fans enough to get his own book. Originating in the MAX universe, the Hood crossed over into the Marvel 616 universe in time to become the new Kingpin of crime during the Dark Reign event.
The Hood appears to his underlings as an almost omnipotent force. Using his hood (really a cloak), he can turn invisible; cast devastating spells and even teleport people out of prison. In Dark Reign, he manages to bring together almost all the super villains of New York into one organization, something thought impossible after it had failed so many times before.
However to his girlfriend and baby, he is a clumsy low level thief who never manages to make enough money. To his mother, he is forgotten as she rots away of Alzheimer’s in a fleabag nursing home. And to Dormammu, who gave him the cloak, he is merely a vessel for his entry to this world.
A petty thief who lucked into a powerful artifact, Parker Robbins is determined to turn his life around while keeping his family totally insulated from his other life. Unfortunately, Parker has many enemies and it’s not long before those seeking revenge on him or seeking to overthrow him and take control of the criminal empire for themselves discover his alter ego.
The art in the book is fantastic, showing every ripple and jagged edge of the titular character’s cloak. The juxtaposition of the Hood’s face with Parker’s when he is with his family is almost enough to convince you they are truly two different people. The story succeeds in making you root for the Hood, not only as the lesser of two evils but even as a guy who maybe, just maybe, deserves this second chance.
The Hood resonates as a bad guy you can almost relate with. Not as a flat two dimensional character that just wants to rob a bank but as a guy who doesn’t know anything else and always puts his family first. He’s brutal, vicious and cunning all while being noble, dedicated and honorable. And that is why this book works.