I picked up the hardcover version of the limited series The Hood, which collects the entire 2002 limited series, issues #1-6, on a whim. Actually, I ordered it because I thought the cover looked cool. Yes, I am that shallow. Fortunately this is another case where sometimes it's ok to judge a book by its cover. The Hood marks the first appearance of Parker Robbins, and was released under the Marvel MAX banner, which allows it to cover some decidedly more "adult" themes.
The Hood is very much an origins story, following the transformation of a young Parker Robbins into the costumed villain The Hood. This series is a must read if you are wanting to learn more about the character that looks set to replace the Kingpin as the number one organized crime boss in the Marvel universe, and are following the New Avengers series.
What makes The Hood an interesting read is that the story takes the traditional super hero formula of personal misfortune, power and the responsibility to do good, and turns it on its head. As the blurb says, in the case of Parker Robbins, "with great power... comes great opportunity".
Parker Robbins is a petty criminal. His late father was a soldier in the Kingpin's criminal army, his mother has been committed to an institution, and his girlfriend is pregnant. When Parker and his cousin, John King decide to take a job robbing a warehouse, they don't find the goods they have been promised. Instead they stumbled onto an abandoned mystical ritual, that appears to have resulted in the summoning of a demon (later revealed as the Nisanti). Parker shoots and apparently kills the Nisanti, a demonic, hooded creature, and, not wanting to leave empty handed, proceeds to steal the creatures weird looking hood/cape and boots.
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Parker quickly learns that the hood and the boots possess some strange powers. The hood has the power to render its wearer invisible (so long as they are holding their breath), whilst the boots allow the wearer levitate.
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