The Green Hornet #1 Review

As a character, The Green Hornet has never really piqued my interest. Admittedly it's not like he ever had much of chance given my first introduction to the character was the 2011 Green Hornet film staring Seth Rogen. Reading Kevin Smith's Green Hornet screenplay turned comic did little to remedy the situation as it didn't really bring anything new to the mythos. Well, unless you count making the Hornet's chauffeur, Kato, a female and for the record, I don't

As far as I was concerned, The Green Hornet was nothing more than a goofy playboy vigilante. Just another costumed crime-fighter desperately being milked for cash in the age of super-hero super-stardom.

I'm glad to say that all changed as soon as I read Green Hornet #1 from Dynamite Entertainment. Right from the first panel, the issue works hard to prove just what a unique and iconic character the Green Hornet actually is. In 22 pages Mark Waid and Daniel Indro turned me from Hornet hater to die hard fan.

Where the previous Hornet stories I encountered tried to make Britt Reid relevant by dragging him kicking and screaming into the 20th century, Waid takes a different and more effective approach.

There are no gags, no gimmicks and no attempts to make the Hornet something that he isn't. This is a story about the Green Hornet fighting crime in 1930's Chicago. Instead of using a modern setting to make the Hornet relevant, Waid simply reminds us why he always has been so. By keeping Britt in his natural habitat the book brings a revitalizing relevancy to the character, up there with what Ed Brubaker did for Captain America.

Much to my relief Green Hornet #1 is not an introductory issue. Instead it plunges the reader into the 20th century world of newspaper publisher Britt Reid, a.k.a the Green Hornet. Although Waid makes sure he gives you just enough background, there's no spoon feeding here.

A couple of pages in and it becomes clear that Waid's Run will focus on the Green Hornet's civilian identity, Britt Reid, as much as the Green Hornet himself. Indeed the real strength of the character is the way in which these two identities go hand in hand. In his vigilante guise he uses his fabricated reputation as a costumed criminal to gain the trust of unsuspecting crime bosses and as the outspoken publisher of the daily Sentinel, Reid brings the evidence the Hornet digs up to nail the crooks in the headlines. It's an effective collaboration, and one that is really the focus of this first issue.

This dynamite script (pun intended) by Waid is brought to life by Indonesian artist Daniel Indro who's previous works include Flash Gordan Zeitgeist and Sherlock Holmes: Year One. Indro's interiors feature a certain film noir sensibility mixed with an obvious attention to the comic book format. His style is very static and moody, capitalizing on crosshatching and  a liberal use of shadow.

Unfortunately Waid's great writing and definitive direction mean that the art certainly isn't the strong point of this book. I would almost go as far as to say it overshadows it. Almost. Not that Indro's art is a weak point, but in a sea of great comic book art talent, the artwork doesn't really assert itself as iconic or different. It works well for the character but it's certainly not the book's draw card. In short, the marriage between writing and art is uneven.

This criticism aside, The Green Hornet #1 is just another reason why Mark Waid is the writer to follow. As he did for characters like The Hulk, Daredevil and Superman, Waid made me fall in love with the Green Hornet: a character I previously didn't give a toss about. It's well paced, punchy and well worth your five bucks. So do yourself a favour and pick up a copy.


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