Review by From the Booth‘s own Ken
The Hood is one of the few characters to make his debut in Marvel‘s MAX series and cross over into the 616 universe. The character was created by Brian K Vaughan, who is best known for such ground breaking series as Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina and the current ongoing Saga, and is illustrated here by Kyle Hotz, who also illustrates the Hood’s 616 mini (reviewed here).
Parker Robbins is a small time crook who runs into a Nisanti demon in an abandoned warehouse while looking for something to steal. By sheer luck, Parker manages to seemingly kill the demon and take its robe and boots. Learning that his newly acquired attire allows him to fly and become invisible, this in-over-his-head criminal steals diamonds that belong to the Kingpin of crime. Now hunted by people on both sides of the law, Parker must find a way to free his cousin who is imprisoned as the perpetrator in the diamond theft.
The story in this book is an important one. Having read the 616 mini first, I missed out on the motivations of the Hood’s most relentless enemy and why the Hood feels that he owes his cousin. However, I found this story less compelling than the later one.
The use of the MAX universe is not really necessary since the adult themes and violence are at a minimum except in a few instances. Parker as a character doesn’t seem to grow despite his new powers and abilities. He even seems to lack that empathetic quality that his 616 self seems to command. The final panel of the surviving demon growling his name teases a second volume that never comes.
The art in the book is fantastic and I always find the photo-realism of the MAX universe to bring out the best in artists especially in regards to facial expressions. After two great entries with the character, Hotz should be considered the definitive Hood artist going forward.
Overall the art and the fact that this is the origin story of an important and popular character manages to save the book somewhat but those with less time or money could be forgiven for skipping right to the 616 series. I was ready to love the book when I saw Vaughan attached but I left with the feeling that BKV’s trademark character-driven story arcs took a vacation on this one.