Riverdale: Is Archie Comics' Black Hood the Villain of Season 2?


SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Chapter Fourteen: A Kiss Before Dying,” the Season 2 premiere of Riverdale.

The Riverdale gang may have just gotten a visit from an Archie Comics character called the Black Hood. In “Chapter Fourteen: A Kiss Before Dying,” the Season 2 premiere, Archie's father Fred Andrews was rushed to the hospital after he was shot by a man in a black mask -- constantly referred to throughout the episode as a "black hood."

But does that mean he is the Black Hood? And who, exactly, is the Black Hood? In Feb. 2015, Archie Comics launched a new imprint called Dark Circle Comics, which reimagined the publisher's decades-old non-Archie characters. The imprint's first title was Black Hood, written by Duane Swierczynski with art by Michael Gaydos. The new series recast the Black Hood -- who debuted in original form back in the Golden Age -- as Greg Hettinger, a former police officer from Philadelphia who was shot in the face when he took on the original Black Hood, Thomas "Kip" Burland. Hettinger donned the mask after he killed Burland and took over Burland's role as the Black Hood, facing off against on a crime lord called "The Connection."

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Over the course of the episode, Archie is questioned about the shooting and constantly flashes back to the moment he saw the masked man. When Sheriff Keller presses him about the "black mask," Archie instantly corrects him, saying that it was more of a "black hood." That, combined with the style of the character's "hood" -- down to the pattern of the eye-holes -- suggests that this is a version of the Black Hood, likely heavily inspired by the recent Dark Circle Comics incarnation. This would be a shift from comic book tradition, where the Archie Comics superhero characters have been kept completely separate, continuity-wise, from the Riverdale gang (and in some instances, even published by separate companies).

Fred Andrews wasn't the only character to meet the wrath of the man in the black hood. At the end of the episode, the show caught up with Miss Grundy, the music teacher who had molested Archie in Season 1. In the final moments of the premiere, she was seen seducing another one of her students, before she retreated into her home. Inside, she noticed that some music sheets had blown over and that her window was open. By the time she realized her house had been broken into, it was too late: the man in the black hood was behind her. He swiftly choked her to death on the edge of a metal blade, killing her just before the credits rolled.

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In killing Miss Grundy, the man in the black hood exacted Punisher-style justice on a character preying on adolescents, which suggests he may have good intentions despite his murderous methods. However, that doesn't explain why he would go after Fred Andrews, who is considered an upstanding man in his community. It's possible that the man in the black hood believed Fred was involved with the Lodges, who are infamous for their corrupt business practices; or that he was connected to the Southside Serpents, since his best friend FP Jones belongs to that group. Additionally, Fred admitted that he has a DUI in Season 1, but we don't know the details of his arrest -- could the man in the black hood be connected to this incident? We'll have to stay tuned to find out for sure.

Returning October 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW, Riverdale stars K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom, Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy and Casey Cott as Kevin Keller.

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