‘In this twisted medieval noir, the Sheriff of Nottingham hunts a serial killer with a penchant for tax collectors. The Sheriff’s investigation makes him the target of England’s most nefarious power-brokers. That’s to say nothing of the Merry Men, terrorists lurking amongst the trees of Sherwood, led by an enigma known only as “Hood.”
Nottingham, but not as you remember it…’
Stories of Robin Hood go all the way back to ballads composed in the late 1300’s. In those early accounts, Robin Hood was depicted variably as a yeoman, an archer, and an outlaw. Much later in the telling, his backstory was changed to make him a disgruntled nobleman with allegiance to King Richard I, who had returned home after fighting alongside the Lionheart in the Third Crusade.
That last interpretation actually lines up really well with David Hazan’s vision of the ‘Hood’ in Mad Cave Studios’ Nottingham #1. A religious fanatic follows his King off on a holy rampage against Salah al-Din to retake Jerusalem. Lopping heads and taking names at Ayyadieh. Leaving the battlefield while his beloved leader stayed on the trail murdering Muslims. Finding a home that barely resembled the place he had abandoned years earlier.
The masked sociopath in Nottingham makes a hell of a lot more sense than the affable, singing hero in the other stories.
Stripping away centuries of idolization and embellishment to get to the bleak and complex roots of a character as beloved as Robin Hood is a bold move. Hazan pulls it off without any apologies. The book goes down some deep, dark holes, but they all fit within the framework of widely accepted canon.
The repetitive nature of the Hood’s dialogue has the cadence of a religious mantra, practiced thousands of times in private. His compulsion to brutally kill, the grudge against the Usurper and his agents, the military stealth in undertaking missions. All of it conforms beautifully to the existing mythos.
Shane Connery Volk’s slightly caricatured style works ridiculously well for this story. The deep lines and texture in his faces show emotion (chiefly pain and anger) clearly. Cobbled streets and thatched roofs are insanely detailed, providing a beautiful backdrop for a shocking amount of gore.
This is obviously not one for the kiddies, and it’s probably going to piss some folks off, but I liked it. Nottingham challenges idol worship and the long held practice of canonizing atrocious human beings in stories and song. It’s well written, beautifully drawn, and engages the reader from the very first sequence. Well worth the price of admission.
Nottingham #1, Mad Cave Studios, 03 March 2021. Written by David Hazan, art by Shane Connery Volk, color by Luca Romano, letters by Joamette Gil.
‘In this twisted medieval noir, the Sheriff of Nottingham hunts a serial killer with a penchant for tax collectors. TheCOMICONRead More