Overview

Green Hornet: Year One #3

Review

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Green Hornet: Year One #3

Credits

  • Words: Matt Wagner
  • Art: Aaron Campbell
  • Inks: Aaron Campbell
  • Colors: Francesco Francavilla
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: May 26, 2010

Unlike the previous issues of Green Hornet: Year One, issue three takes place almost completely in the past.  I suppose that’s appropriate, given that this is a year one comic.  The present time story arc continues doing what it has been doing, and that’s splitting up the segments of past story scenes.  Matt Wagner utilizes this tool masterfully, as always, using it to drive the story forward at a strong and quick pace, while providing the reader with the illusion of the passage of time.  This issue’s present story arc was all action, which only further served to push the story along and create an exciting reading experience. 

Also, the opening action sequences had a great cinematic quality to them.  Artist Aaron Campbell has a real talent for creating iconic images.  In this issue, Kato and Green Hornet finally gain that organic feel in their crime-fighting style.  Their movements appear to be very coordinated and practiced.  The two really rely on each other, which is what makes a partnership different from a simple team-up.  Campbell does a good job bringing that across to the reader.  It’s also creates a very interesting dynamic between the Green Hornet and Kato of the past and the present.

Finally, after three issues, we see the first time Green Hornet and Kato meet.  The historical setting that Kato and Britt are placed in makes the story feel more real, even though the events involving our heroes and the characters’ actions are completely unrealistic.  Kato and Britt’s perspectives are much more relevant and carry greater weight because of the attempt at historical accuracy.

Perhaps the best handled aspect of this issue is the development of Kato’s character.  He’s very philosophical and principled, and through the use of letters to his father, the reader is able to gain valuable insight into his actions and motivations.  Wagner takes a few courageous leaps with character decisions here, but they have a lot of potential, if explored more and handled correctly.  From this issue, it seems that Kato had a theme going with his crime-fighting, which is to stand against and deter the war crimes of his countrymen.  There is a bit of a conflict between that and his crusade with the Hornet.  Wagner addresses this by showing that Kato felt a sense of debt towards the Hornet because he saved his life.  There’s also a general feeling of admiration.  I believe there’s more to it than that.

Other aspects of Kato’s character are a little flawed, too.  Hopefully Wagner goes on to explore his psyche a bit more. He started his ronin ways on a principled stand to stop his countrymen from doing evil.  The conflict between his upbringing and his conscience makes for an interesting dynamic. He seems to abandon that when he meets Britt, though. Kato almost immediately submits, which is how he was originally written when he was first created. Hopefully, with the wider perspective we have now, Kato will be given a stronger personality.  Wagner hasn’t disappointed on this front yet, so I’m excited to see how he handles Kato’s character down the line.  

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