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Dark Reign

The Hood's Dark Reign

Jeff Parker, writer of DARK REIGN: THE HOOD, reveals the villain's life outside his deadly costume

By Tim Stevens When we first met Parker Robbins, he lived life as a down-on-his-luck petty criminal with a cousin in recovery who doubled as a partner in vice, a mother in the grips of senility, and a pregnant girlfriend from whom he hid the specifics of his illegal endeavors. Since then, he has risen to become one of the most significant villains in the Marvel Universe, taking his seat at the table with the likes of Doctor Doom and Norman Osborn. That does not mean, however, he has left all of his previous connections behind. On May 27, writer Jeff Parker joins Kyle Hotz, Robbins' co-creator and artist of his first original series, to show that side of the crimelord to fans once more in DARK REIGN: THE HOOD #1. The collaboration between the two has been a good one, according to Parker.

Preview art by
Kyle Hotz

"Kyle has been great to work with, and he's really getting into this, it's just fantastic work," praises the writer. "We've mainly been getting to know each other through e-mail and I like the way he thinks about story, and making a character come to life." The story sees Robbins balancing his life as New York's super-powered kingpin with that of being a new father and trying to maintain the relationships he considers important. Parker expects that readers will find themselves surprisingly drawn to his struggle. "I think a lot of professionals with family will be surprised to find themselves sympathizing with the Hood, but that's the basic struggle," he predicts. "He does have people he cares about deeply, yet he's never not working on his rise to power. He has a girlfriend with his child now, and a mother suffering from dementia, [and they] all need him. Yet he's never been a success at anything else in his life until he tried to essentially become a king of crime-and he's really good at it." With the dueling pressures of his two lives weighing on him, the private Robbins might not be as familiar to fans of the first series as they might expect. His time as the Hood has matured him, for better or worse. "He's grown up pretty fast because he doesn't have room to err and be juvenile anymore," explains Parker. "It's not so much that he yearns for more power, but that he's very aware of how easy it would be to lose what he already has, that keeps him so driven to keep it going."

Preview art by
Kyle Hotz

While the book allows us a glimpse into a side of the Hood readers have not encountered in some time, it does not leave behind the super villainy entirely. "There's some super people you haven't seen in a while turning up," Parker promises. "That's a fun thing about this series; we get to really use the extended character range of the Marvel universe. When the book opens, we're in a classic heist, but with the nuance of it being run by super powered thugs!" Parkers sees showing Marvel's new public enemy #1, as well as some of his confederates, at work, at play, and at home as an opportunity to further enrich the Marvel Universe. "I want to add to the growing movement at Marvel of [fewer] villains-that is, that the people on the wrong side of the law are not mustache twirling, 'mwah-ha-ha' laughing evil-lovers," he notes. "I like the way more and more that the bad guys are being given reasons for what they do and see themselves as heroic, it's just more interesting and gives you more story possibilities. And that's certainly the way the Hood is. He doesn't think of himself as a bad guy, rather someone who has to do bad things to achieve his goals. And I'd like readers to come away conflicted about him, and curious to follow his life further." Get a look into the private and criminal life of the Hood on May 27 when DARK REIGN: THE HOOD, from Jeff Parker and Kyle Hotz, muscles its way onto shelves. Not a subscriber to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited yet? Join now! Check out the official Marvel Shop for the best mighty Marvel merchandise! Download episodes of X-Men: Evolutionicon now on iTunes!

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