Overview

Green Hornet #1

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Green Hornet #1

Credits

  • Words: Kevin Smith
  • Art: Jonathan Lau
  • Colors: Ivan Nunes
  • Story Title: Episode One: Night and Day
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Mar 3, 2010

The Green Hornet! Stinging fear into organized crime…

 Century City’s emerald avenger and his trusty partner in heroics, Kato, finally manage to make the streets safe from organized crime. The only question remaining is; what do they do next?

Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #1, with art by Jonathan Lau, begins kinetically and in a wonderfully original time frame for a first issue. This choice offers Smith the ability to recognize and represent the character’s past, while also forging a new origin story, of sorts. As the book beings, the Hornet is already in action and well known. The reader is introduced to his mission towards its epic conclusion.

The ensuing brawl is well paced, appropriately tense and when necessary, very charming. Smith is on the mark with this character’s voice. Hornet obviously has a flare for the dramatic, but he never comes off as over the top or more importantly, over-written. A common complaint with Smith’s writing in the past has been it’s “wordiness” or unbelievable dialogue. While I don’t agree whole-heartedly, his scripts have prompted me to look up a word or two before. Is this a bad thing? I guess that depends on how much you want the story to challenge you. The only times it’s been jarring in the past is when it seems out of character or just showy. That is not the case here. Everything is well balanced and placed. There is no info-dump of dialogue or exposition.

The characters feel warm and lived in, which is no small feat in only a few pages. Halfway through this issue, you start to feel where the creative team is taking it, and because of the successful opening, one can’t help but play along. Especially if a certain character on the final page is sticking around to help with the transition. It's fun to imagine the potential this story has with just the few pieces that have so far been established.

The art chores are top notch as well, making me aware of a certain Mr. Jonathan Lau. Working from layouts by Phil Hester, a previous collaborator with Smith and a wonderful artist in his own right, Lau delivers a fast paced, never jumbled and appropriately glossy style. Even with some dialogue heavy scenes, the panels never seem crowded or poorly placed.

An early fight scene in particular is beautifully jammed onto one page. It’s an organized chaos of panels depicting silhouettes of Kato kicking, Hornet’s fist smashing a face, and the other use for a baseball bat. What makes this page work though, is it's beautifully framed at the bottom with an image of a Green Hornet and Kato getting their second wind. This one page depicts an action scene with such quality and succinct use of space that it packs more punch than some recent full issue brawls (*coughcoughHULKcoughcough*).

Kevin Smith is reportedly working from his outline for an abandoned Green Hornet feature he was developing years ago. It doesn’t show, being paced more like a single first issue and less like the prologue or pre-credit sequence of a movie. 

It’s nice to read something with the same energy of a Kevin Smith movie without immediately being able to tell it’s a Kevin Smith script. He levels out his trademark styles and focuses on the action within. Even his recent stints on Batman (Cacophony and the current Widening Gyre) aren’t as focused as this. Here’s hoping this kind of quality can continue throughout and become an evergreen tale for this forgotten character. 

 

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Comments

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Mar 5, 2010 at 7:32pm

    Pretty good first issue. I disagree that this doesn't have the stylized, slightly out of character Kevin Smith dialogue though. Some of it worked but I have a hard time with the Green Hornet saying "The hat is PIMP!" Other than a few distracting moments like that, I enjoyed it and am anxious to see where Smith's movie would have gone from here.

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