Dynamite Entertainment offers up a plethora of Green Hornet titles each month, as the build up to the Green Hornet movie continues. While some tell the continuing adventures, and others reboot the origin, The Green Hornet from the Golden Age gets the treatment in this reprinting of the original stories.
The interesting thing about reading comics from the Golden Age was how different the story structure was back then. A complete Green Hornet story had to be told in 8 pages in order to be included in the issue, which means the stories are very to the point, with little to no elaboration in particular elements.
For those reading issues from the period, be prepared for panels packed with words. I’ve complained before about my dislike for writers who pack a 20 page story with word balloons that fill up 9/10ths of a panel, as it seems like the writer is trying to force more content than the issue allows. In this remastered edition, the panels have to have all the words in order for the story to make sense.
This first issue is 40 pages long, which means readers get six Green Hornet stories that runs the gamut from breaking corrupt union bosses, to uncovering wrongdoings in the Bureau of Weights & Measures, to taking down corrupt lawyers. This volume is an excellent sampling of what readers from the ‘40s would have been exposed to when the stories were hot off the press. While Batman, Iron Man, and other heroes take on high level fantastical evils of the world brought on by characters like The Joker and Dr. Doom, the Green Hornet was taking on the crimes that were prevalent of the era. The Green Hornet, while pegged as a villain in the eyes of society in the comic books, he was really the hero of the people fighting for things that mattered to those who were spending a nickel or a dime on the very comics they were reading.
When the Green Hornet debuted on television, Bruce Lee took the Kato character and made him a bigger name than the Green Hornet. Even today, many think of Lee and Kato whenever the title character is mentioned. You won’t see much of Kato in this issue, as he really is just a chauffeur wearing a pair of goggles as his boss directs him where to go. Kato gets a few speaking lines, but they are mostly lines used to prompt an explanation for the reader than anything else.
While people may dislike the Liefelds, Lands, and Kieths of the world, the art in this volume elevates these artists to kings of the land. If you have a tough time reading comics that were printed the year you were born, you probably won’t want to pick up this volume for the art appreciation moments, as it will seem simply ancient and not relevant.
That being said, this issue is an excellent historical look at comics. Except for the modern ads, and the glossy paper the issue is printed on, I found this an engrossing look at where we’ve been and how far we’ve come in what we read today. After reading this issue, I have greater sympathy for younger comic book fans out there who were born in the mid-80s and who never experienced the books Matthew and I read when they were first released. I think it would be interesting to see what The Future People would think of Brightest Day, or The Incredible Hulk 60 years from now.
BOTTOM LINE: CHECK IT OUT
If you are a Green Hornet fan, there is plenty for you to be excited about in all the offerings from Dynamite Entertainment. This remastered issue reprints all the flaws and errors that popped up back in the day, but if you want to get a feeling for tales from long ago, this is an issue worth checking out. The story and art wouldn’t earn this book a high rating, but the high quality remaster and the historical element, earn this issue 3 out of 5 Stars.