Overview

Green Hornet #2

Review

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Green Hornet #2

Credits

  • Words: Kevin Smith
  • Art: Jonathan Lau
  • Colors: Ivan Nunes
  • Story Title: Chapter Two: Happily Ever After
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Mar 31, 2010

The second issue of Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet adaptation has more of the good and less of the bad habits associated with his writing style.  The story itself has now shifted to a more modern setting, so the dialogue feels at home. Many complaints of the first issue stemmed from seemingly out of character musings of the Green Hornet during his crimefighting days. I can recognize the concern, but wasn’t as taken aback by it, merely enjoying where the story was going.

The second chapter starts out with nearly eight pages showing us a typical morning in the life of Britt Reid, Sr., running The Sentinel, Century City’s premier newspaper. There isn’t much action in this issue, but it makes up for that with backstory and characterization. By the time the fists started flying towards the end of the issue, you’re ready for it and you care about the outcome. There was a moment where I wondered if they were going to kill a certain character. I also found myself hoping they don’t. As someone with no previous emotional or sentimental connection to the title, that’s a pretty impressive feat.

Also continuing to be impressive is Jonathan Lau’s pencils from Phil Hester’s breakdowns. He has a kinetic style that sports a textured and almost painted over Japanese animation aesthetic. It’s a realistic style over a more exaggerated form, making a unique but comfortable interior.

The relationship between Britt, Jr. and his father is a complicated and familiar one, based on shared pain and mutual respect. Smith nails the tension in a classy way and with little heavy handedness. The details of their strained relationship comes out naturally, not forced. One can surmise the inevitable taking on of the Green Hornet persona by the younger Reid, but there is no immediate rush. The story is unfolding at an organic pace, which I find refreshing. If done correctly, it’ll make the Green Hornet’s return all the more satisfying when it does occur.

Pieces are falling into place in this chapter. Political intrigue, shady motivations, and a ghost from the past making an appearance. There is a steady journey upwards on display in these two issues, with an incline in content as well.

Kevin Smith gets a lot of flak for his reputation in comics, be it unrealistic dialogue or an overly late schedule. By separating the man from the material, we can be reminded that he does possess the ability to tell a compelling story. Some story beats within hit strides that are superior to his other comic work. Could this be because this series was originally conceived as a film? Perhaps. Regardless, it reads well as a comic and has instilled interest in a modernly lesser known property.

One would be remiss not to mention Mr. Hester’s layouts. It’s unclear what his level of involvement is towards the final product, but some of these pages, including the final action filled ones, are incredibly dynamic. The art team plays with disjointed panels, sound effects, and stylized motion lines to a great effect that’s never hard to follow.

Adding to the already fun first issue, part two takes us further down the rabbit hole of Century City and its once retired vigilante. What makes Green Hornet different from other masked crime fighters is that his legacy is that of terror, cleaning the streets as a villain with which to be reckoned. He used fear tactics and the media to clear up organized crime. It’ll be interesting to see how that type of hero is reconciled with the 21st century’s digital age.

Kevin Smith fan or not, this is an improvement upon the previous issue with hopes that they take their time with this story. It's fun, emotional, and has the artistic chops to keep it interesting. Here's hoping issue three delivers more of the same.

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