Turning the tables on some classic characters, the new series from Mad Cave Studios focuses the story of Robin Hood through the eyes of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Nottingham 1
Written by David Hazan
Art by Shane Connery Volk
Colors by Luca Romano

I’m not really a fan of stories that set out to humanize and endear us to classic villains. The Star Wars prequels’ attempts at explaining how Darth Vader came to be did nothing to enhance the mythology around the character. I’d much rather have a villain who is a villain, someone I can root against. Oddly enough, though, I don’t have the same feelings towards completely flipping the switch to see the hero turned into a villain, especially when the hero comes from a different era. Peter Pan, for example, is very easily turned into a bad guy, which would require a more sympathetic bent for Captain hook.

In Nottingham, the new series from Mad Cave Studios, writer Dan Hazan takes the rebellious Robin Hood – who steals from the rich and gives to the poor – and makes him the leader of a murderous band of thieves who plot to take as much as they can from Prince John. The Sheriff of Nottingham is tasked with finding the Hood and bringing him to justice after a number of tax collectors were murdered.

The latest murder occurred when a tax collector was not on duty, on his way to visit the fair Maid Marian.

When I first became aware of this series – after reading an interview with Hazan and artist Shane Volk at Newsarama – I was quickly hooked on the premise. Though I was curious about whether they would so clearly make Robin Hood and his Merry Men the villains in favor of the Sheriff. The first issue, though, makes it pretty clear that Robin and Marian aren’t good people.

That isn’t to say the Sheriff is necessarily a good guy, either. But as Nottingham’s point of view character, he’s less of a villain here than Robin and Marian are. At least in the first issue. Hazan and Volk did a wonderful job turning the usual expectations for the world of Robin Hood on its head here, and I’m excited to see how they move the story forward. Nottingham’s first issue is a fun introduction to this familiar world. The rest of the series should be a great ride.