The Black Hood is back! After a short hiatus, Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos’ gritty comic anti-hero has returned in the next chapter of The Black Hood’s journey. “Flor de Muerto” is a single-issue story – serving to bridge the gap between the longer origin story arc (“The Bullet’s Kiss”) and the next multi-issue arc (“The Lonely Crusade”), coming soon.
“Flor de Muerto” also features artwork by guest artist Howard Chaykin. Because of this, the issue has a whole different feel than the previous chapters. As jarring as this shift is at first, it quickly becomes clear that the storyline dictates this change in art style and before long, the reader once again becomes absorbed.
Following on from the developments from “The Bullet’s Kiss,” “Flor de Muerto” finds Greg Hettinger enrolled in a rehab program in Southern California. His days are spent in group therapy and his evenings are rife with the struggle against his internal demons. When it becomes clear that a member of his group sessions is in danger, his police instincts kick in and Greg once again finds himself embroiled in a situation that quickly gets out of control. Will he escape unscarred?
Structurally, “Flor de Muerto” is as solid as any novel out there. Swierczynski uses a framing device to ground the story. In this case, that device is letters being sent back to Jessie Dupree – the one person who cares more about Greg Hettinger than even he himself does. The story’s plot develops organically from Greg’s current situation and as with the best in crime fiction, there is unexpected twist which serves to defy reader’s expectations while also complicating things for Greg.
Unlike “The Bullet’s Kiss,” the color palate of “Flor de Muerto” is light and airy – fitting for the more tropical setting. Tones of purple dominate where once blacks and reds were the focal point of the illustrations. I suspect this change will not last, as by the end of “Flor de Muerto,” Greg is once again facing some new challenges that will make rehab look like a walk in the park.
If you haven’t given Dark Circle Comics’ The Black Hood a try, it’s not too late. Perfect for crime fiction fans – even those who are typically not comic fans. “Flor de Muerto” arrives in comic shops (and on the streets) today.
Disclaimer: A print copy of this comic was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the comic.