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Posts tagged ‘Invisible Hood’

Invisible Justice (Early Golden Age)

The series Invisible Justice, starring Invisible Hood, serves as an excellent example of why heroes whose primary power is invisibility do better as members of teams than as solo characters.  Kent Thurston really needed a sidekick, at the very least.  As it stands, in virtually every story we are introduced to one of his old friends, who winds up in some sort of trouble.  As the Invisible Hood cannot actually be seen by any of the characters (and many times not by the reader either), we are left watching everyone except the hero.

Nor does it help that Thurston never gets any sort of background or characterization.  He has no job, apparently, no recurring friends, romantic interests or family.  The fact that this series consists exclusively of five-page one shot tales is no help, but even still the repetition is almost overwhelming.  In case after case Kent dons his costume, follows or tracks the bad guys without them seeing, and then beats the crap out of them.

In a number of the stories the reader is lead to believe Invisible Hood will be pitted against someone or something else invisible, but this rarely pans out.  The invisible ghosts on the tropical island in Smash 14 are just a legend promoted by enemy spies, based on the toxic fumes emitted from a volcano.  The Ghost Rider is simply the nickname of the racing car in issue 20, and the disappearing planes in issue 28 are just being captured by an enemy blimp.

But I don’t want to make it seem as if there is nothing redeeming about this feature.  The art is decent, and some of the stories are fun.  Invisible Hood pretends to be a ghost in a few of the stories, and in Smash 15 wraps himself in bandages while fighting thieves who pretend a mummy has come to life.  He confronts them as another mummy, and when they unwrap him they see nothing under the bandages, which makes them freak out.

Invisible Hood does get one recurring villain, the White Wizard.  He debuts in Smash 27, enslaving people to work mines in his underground city.  After Hood frees the men and destroys his base, the White Wizard vows revenge, and in issue 30 manages to steal his costume and replicate the invisibility formula, creating a band of invisible raiders.  Invisible Hood manages to retrieve his outfit and kill all the raiders, and the Wizard.

His series ends abruptly with issue 32, but in 80s All-Star Squadron we learn that Invisible Hood was part of the first Freedom Fighters line-up, who perished in the attack on Pearl Harbour.


Invisible Hood:  Smash Comics 6 – 32 (Jan 40 – Mar 42)

Invisible Hood

The Invisible Hood is the earliest character from the Quality Comics stable that has been integrated into the DC Universe.  Kent Thurston wears a long red cloak and hood, with a mask, and carries a gun that fires sleeping gas, as he aids police inspector Bill Blake when sacred Indian sapphires get stolen.  In this first outing, he is not hugely different from the Shadow or the Crimson Avenger, and one has to wonder why he calls himself Invisible Hood.

This gets addressed in the second issue.  Kent laments that he is only “invisible” because no one knows the identity of the Invisible Hood, and wishes he had true invisibility.  Fortuitously, at the point he gets a call from Professor Van Dorn, a friend who has just perfected an invisibility serum.  Kent douses his costume with the serum, and gets to play super-hero.

In issue 2 we see Kent, in costume, fade to invisibility in the way that would become standard in comics – dotted lines for the outline of the figure, pale colouring of the figure itself, a see-through effect.  But once he gets into the action, battling thieves who want the formula, he is simply not drawn at all into the panels.  We are meant to imagine him there, just seeing the effects of his actions.

Not a good idea.  It just looks strange.  And this was obvious enough that by issue 3 the dotted line, pale colour, see through effect would be used consistently.

Hood deals with pirates, gangsters and a blackmail ring lead by the Green Lizard, who turns out to be Inspector Blake’s servant.

We learn almost nothing about Kent Thurston in these five issues, only that he used to be a private detective, which just makes you wonder what his day job is now.


Invisible Hood continues in the Early Golden Age


Invisible Hood:  Smash Comics  1 – 5 (Aug – Dec 39)

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