Review by Frank Plowright
Parker Robbins is a jerk, a strictly small time petty criminal who takes his opportunities where he finds them, lies to his sick mother, cheats on his pregnant girlfriend and yet has some scruples. He won’t work for terrorist organisation Hydra, and he was unselfish enough to fund his cousin John’s detox course. When the pair of them hear of a possible score in an abandoned warehouse, over they head, instead encountering a floating demon. Robbins shoots it, stealing its boots and cloak, discovering the former permit him to walk on air and the latter can turn him invisible as long as he holds his breath. “With great power comes great opportunity”, explains Robbins before he and John hijack a shipment of diamonds intended for a leading ganglord.
Throw a pair of gung-ho FBI agents keen to make name for themselves into the mix and we have a very entertaining tale. Brian K. Vaughan’s script is clever. It sets out exactly who Robbins is while also straddling the fine line of portraying him as vaguely likeable in a sleazy kind of way, so not cementing him as irredeemable. The highly stylised art of Kyle Hotz may not be to all tastes, but in establishing a new character in a new world he sets the rules, and his storytelling is fine. As this was released under Marvel’s Max imprint potty-mouth content is high, although witty.
There’s an ambivalent ending, with Vaughan leaving several elements for others to pick up on. The Hood has subsequently been integrated into Marvel’s mainstream continuity, particularly in the Avengers as written by Brian Michael Bendis. A second volume tied into the Dark Reign story in 2010, by which time the Hood was a very different character.