REVIEW: Green Hornet #32

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Or – “Where’s Seth Rogen?”

It’s been quite a while since I’ve checked in with my favorite radio/pulp hero migrated to comics, so long that the last time I was in Hornet-ville, the hero had six or ten monthly books.  With the movie version under-performing a couple of years ago, Britt and Kato are down to one regular monthly book, and there are some heavy happenings in Century City.  What will happen to the Hornet legacy if there’s no one to carry the big green fedora?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

GreenHornet32CoverGREEN HORNET #32
Writer: Jai Nitz
Artist: Jethro Morales
Colorist: Kristy Swan
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Editor: Joe Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Green Hornet:  Century City has found itself under siege, as a new threat has made itself a home there.  Gravilov (who is apparently NOT the same as Chudnofsky from the 2011 movie) has been using the city to run guns world-wide, and has used his robot combat units to attack the Green Hornet, and destroy the Hornet’s Nest.  The Hornet, Kato and Clutch have been trapped in the rubble, leaving former kid sidekick Scowl as seemingly the only survivor.  Is this the end of the Green Hornet?

THAT’S ONE WAY TO GET THE HERO’S ATTENTION…

We open with Jefferey/Scowl (a young hero whose mentor died and was left in the care of Britt Reid) digging in the rubble beneath Stately Reid Manor, desperately searching for a way to save his partners in crime.  There’s a pretty horrifying moment where he mentions that he “can see the bones in his fingers”, before he decides that he needs help.  He goes to the mayor’s office in full costume, demanding that they send rescue teams to excavate the Hornet’s Nest.  The first of my problems with this issue comes immediately afterward as we see Britt Reid, having survived an almost certain death, floating through the sewer under Century City, accompanied by a voiceover from Scowl about how “he should have known” something was wrong.  It’s a weird moment, suddenly forcing me to go back and re-read the issue from the beginning, as Scowl’s narration is sporadic enough that it makes for an odd reading experience.  As we see that one of the heroes survived, we cut to Clutch, the faithful handyman/mechanic, being pulled from the rubble.  I’m not entirely sure how a superhero insisting that they pull people out of a superhero lair beneath Reid Manor didn’t just reveal Britt Reid’s entire secret, but that’s not really addressed.

“I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN SOMETHING WAS WRONG WHEN THEY NEVER FOUND HIS HAT…”

Scowl returns to… someplace, and begins putting on a suit of armor that he and Clutch had created for just such an emergency.  To writer Nitz’ credit, he does explain that the thing wouldn’t have worked without the power sources that Gavrilov provided (the very same power sources that served as the homing devices to bring the hero down) and that their prototype is finally workable with ‘em.  Once the thing is powered up, we have a new hero in town, Green Hornet 2.0, who then sets off to find the villain…  The second half of the issue gets even more brutal, as the armored Hornet brings the fight to Gavrilov, and his actions remind me quite a bit of Jean-Paul Valley during the events of Knightfall back in the day.  As the issue ends, the real Green Hornet stumbling through the shadows while 2.0 flied through the skies announcing that the old Hornet is dead.  What happens now?

THE BOTTOM LINE: HORNET-FALL?

There seems to be some interesting potential here, although I’m unclear on the fate of Mulan Kato (the new female Kato, introduced by Kevin Smith at the debut of this book) or whether she was in the Hornet’s Nest at all.  I am interested in what happens next with the Hornet, but I’m not entirely sold on putting the book back on my pull list.  Artistically, it’s an okay issue, with Scowl’s armored hornet-suit looked pretty cool and insectoid, but still very generic as a hero’s costume.  Facial expressions are pretty weak throughout the issue, and the super-heavy inks that Stephen attributes to Dynamite books are here in spades, and Gavrilov’s facial deformity (presumably a scar) looks like somebody dumped pink jello on his head in most panels.  Still, in the final analysis, Green Hornet #32 certainly isn’t a washout, adding a new wrinkle to the hero’s life, setting up a new paradigm and making a lapsed reader curious about what he has missed, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.  With Mark Waid’s upcoming run on G.H., it may be time to come back into the Green Hornet fold early, the better to enjoy what’s coming up…

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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