- You know, I was sitting in this exact spot almost... a hundred years ago. This was a silent movie house before they built it back up. My mama... played the piano right over there... It burnt, too. Last thing I saw before my world ended was Bass Reeves, the Black Marshal of Oklahoma. Fifteen feet tall in flickering black and white. "Trust in the law," he said. And I did. So, I took his name after Tulsa burned. He was my hero. That's why I became a cop. Then, I realized there was a reason Bass Reeves hid his face. So... I hid mine, too.
- — Will Reeves src
William "Will" Reeves was a quiet and respectful, but also curt and short-tempered, New York City police officer and the first masked vigilante, secretly operating under the name Hooded Justice. Years after retiring as both, he was instrumental in solving the conspiracy of Lady Trieu's plot to destroy Doctor Manhattan. He also reconnected with his estranged granddaughter, Angela Abar.
Will Reeves was born in 1904 to O.B. and Ruth Williams. In 1921, when Will was a young boy, his family was victimized by the Tulsa Race Riot, in which Black civilians were massacred by heavily-armed white supremacists for the color of their skin. Though both of Will's parents died in an explosion during the attack, they managed to get him to an escaping car beforehand. Hiding him inside a chest, Will's father O.B. Williams gave his son a note that read "PROTECT THIS BOY" before saying goodbye for the last time.
Once the car was outside of Tulsa, it was also attacked by white supremacists, but, because Will was hidden, he wasn't slaughtered like the other occupants. He woke up sometime later and found the only other survivor - a baby named June Abar, who he promised to protect as he watched his city burn in the distance.
Years later, as an adult, Reeves and June got married, and Will started training to become a police officer.
Reeves was accepted onto the police force in what he viewed as a PR move, and, during the ceremony, he was specifically passed over by the white police chief as the man handed out badges and congratulated the new officers. Instead, Reeves was congratulated by another black officer, who secretly warned him about "the Cyclops".
Becoming Hooded Justice
Early in his career as a police officer, Reeves attempted to arrest a man that flagrantly burned down a Jewish deli. Though the other officers in the precinct swore that the man would be processed, Reeves saw him on the street the following day with none of his charges filed. When Reeves went to investigate, the clerk in the precinct begged him to drop the case for his own good.
Later that night, Reeves was stalked by fellow officers on his walk home. The officers cornered Reeves, beat him up, and brought him into the woods. There, he tied a noose around his neck and put on a bag on his head and almost lynched him had they not let him go at the last second. The officers told Reeves to accept the threat and to leave them alone.
Walking home after that traumatic experience, Reeves, still with the noose around his neck and the bag in his hand, witnessed a couple being robbed. Wanting to help but afraid to be judged for the color of his skin again, Reeves ripped eye holes in the bag and put it back on, beating up the assailants as a masked vigilante. When the couple was safe, they thanked their hero as he escaped into the night.
The next day, Will's wife June pointed out that his heroism was noticed and had been reported on in the newspaper. Though she was hesitant to encourage him, June understood Will was filled with an insatiable rage and allowed him to continue pursuing vigilantism to hopefully get the justice he desired. She suggested to him, if he was to continue, he would need to paint his skin around the open eye holes so he would appear Caucasian due to the racial bias he would continue to receive if the public thought he was Black.
In his mission to battle white supremacists, Reeves gained a reputation as the first "superhero", being given the name Hooded Justice. Before long, Reeves had inspired other vigilantes to become active throughout the United States.
Soon, Reeves was approached by Nelson Gardner, also known as Captain Metropolis. Gardner was inspired by Hooded Justice and pieced together that Reeves and Hooded Justice were connected based on their corresponding activity; however, Gardner failed to connect that Reeves was Hooded Justice due to his initial expectation that the vigilante would be white. Believing that Reeves was just Hooded Justice's informant, Gardner passed along a message, inviting Hooded Justice to the crime-fighting team he was forming called the Minutemen.
Though his wife June saw through the invitation as nothing but trouble, Will seriously considered it, believing sharing his mission with other vigilantes would be more effective to stop Cyclops.
After talking to Captain Metropolis some more, the two men had an affair with each other, and Gardner officially convinced Reeves to join the Minutemen, though Gardner warned him he had to continue to keep his race (and their sexuality) a secret from the other members because they weren't "as tolerant" as he was.
As a member of the Minutemen, Hooded Justice immediately brought his mission to stop Cyclops to the forefront but was immediately sidestepped by Metropolis and the other members for more publicly appealing crime stories.
Hooded Justice was temporarily publicized to be in a relationship with fellow Minuteman Silk Spectre, but Jupiter would clarify years later it was all an act and that she had never even seen Justice's face.
On October 2, 1940, during the team's tenure, Spectre was sexually assaulted by her teammate the Comedian. The Comedian was stopped by Hooded Justice. Though Jupiter wanted to testify against the Comedian, the Minutemen, including Reeves, all suggested against it for political reasons. 
Eventually, Hooded Justice uncovered Cyclops' ultimate plan: to hypnotize Black civilians using screen projectors to kill each other, creating a deniable genocide. Though Reeves called in backup with the Minutemen, the team spurned him and he furiously, single-handedly stopped the plot by himself, using lethal force for the first time in his vigilantism to do it.
One night after crime-fighting, Will found his son Marcus putting on Caucasian makeup around his eyes as he had. Having realized the impression he had made on his son with his crime-fighting, Reeves panicked and tried to violently scrub the makeup off his son's face, traumatizing the boy. Will's wife June was so furious with his behavior that she left him and took their son with her.
Jaded from his career as a vigilante, Reeves retired in the early fifties.
Retirement and Under the Hood
In 1963, Reeves' former Minuteman teammate Hollis Mason, also known as Nite-Owl, wrote a tell-all memoir about his time as a superhero called Under the Hood. In it, Hollis made some bold and sometimes unfounded claims about his other teammates - at one point claiming that Hooded Justice, who he didn't realize was a Black man with a specific vendetta against racism, had "openly [expressed] approval for the activities of Hitler’s Third Reich.”
When Nelson Gardner died, he bequeathed his remaining assets, including his house, to his former lover Will Reeves. Will, now an old man, accepted the gifts and moved into the new home by himself.
In 2009, Reeves was visited by Doctor Manhattan, who was fluidly traveling through time and orchestrating future events. Manhattan informed Reeves of the granddaughter he never knew he had named Angela Abar, who Manhattan had fallen in love with. Manhattan told Reeves of Abar's future move to his hometown of Tulsa and that her police chief would be a man named Judd Crawford, a member of Cyclops with KKK robes in his closet.
In 2019, following Manhattan's time-traveling orders, Reeves came out of retirement and went to Tulsa. There, he partnered with Lady Trieu to deliver Doctor Manhattan to her in exchange for the resources to finally destroy the leaders of Cyclops for good.
In the first step of their plan, Reeves went after the police chief Judd Crawford. He used Cyclops' own mind-controlling projector device against him to force Crawford to hang himself in a tree. Reeves then contacted his granddaughter and confessed to her, initiating her deeper investigation into the insidious mystery in Tulsa.
Though Abar secretly hid her grandfather in her headquarters to discreetly question him, he stuck by his story that he killed Judd Crawford and continued to feed her clues to investigate. When he had tipped her off enough, he was freed from her custody by one of Lady Trieu's flying drones, which picked up Abar's car with Reeves inside and brought him back to Trieu's millennium clock.
To continue giving her hints, Reeves had Angela's car dropped back where it been abducted, leaving a bottle of his addictive Nostalgia pills in the glove compartment, which contained concentrated, digestible versions of his own memories.
Abar was eventually caught by the other police officers, having tampered with the evidence related to Crawford's death as she investigated her grandfather. In a last-ditch effort to understand his clues, she swallowed the whole bottle of Reeves' Nostalgia and experienced his entire life while in a coma.
In the climax of Reeves and Manhattan's plan, Reeves delivered Manhattan to Lady Trieu as he was predestined to do and, holding up her end, she vaporized all the members of Cyclops as they were all gathered together. Though Lady Trieu's ascension to power was stopped by the heroes, Reeves had gotten what he wanted and reconnected with his granddaughter in the aftermath, being invited to stay in her home for a few days.
Powers and Abilities
- Cyclops Project
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Watchmen and is an adaptation of Hooded Justice. The original character was created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and first appeared in Watchmen #1.
- William Reeves is portrayed by Louis Gossett, Jr. In flashbacks he was portrayed by Jovan Adepo as an adult and Danny Boyd, Jr. as a child. Within the fictional show-within-a-show American Hero Story's second season, Minutemen, a version of Hooded Justice is portrayed by Cheyenne Jackson.
- The original comics never revealed Hooded Justice's true identity, but was alleged to be Rolf Müller. The identity of Will Reeves is the brainchild of Damon Lindelof, created specifically for HBO's Watchmen series.
- 7 Appearances of William Reeves (Watchmen TV Series)
- 23 Images featuring William Reeves (Watchmen TV Series)
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- Character Gallery: William Reeves (Watchmen TV Series)