It’s a legacy that predates Superman himself, and it’s about to change hands again… Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Green Hornet #6 awaits!
GREEN HORNET #6
Writer: Ron Fortier
Penciler: Jeff Butler
Inker: David Mowry
Colorist: NOW Staff
Letterer: Patrick Williams
Editor: Katy Llewellyn
Publisher: Now Comics
Cover Price: $1.75
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $3.00
Previously in Green Hornet: In the midst of the Great Depression, Paul Reid became the original Green Hornet, teaming with his friend and manservant Ikano Kato to fight off the corruption and crime of the city. After their retirement, Britt’s nephew and namesake, Britt Reid II, took up the role again, with the help of Ikano’s son Hayashi Kato (who bears a strong resemblance to Bruce Lee) and fought off another wave of wicked intentions. In 1985, a new Green Hornet took to the streets in the form of Britt’s nephew Alan Reid, who brought a New Wave aesthetic to the role of crimefighter/faux crime-boss. Unfortunately, he was killed in his very first outing, leaving Hayashi Kato consumed with guilt and the role of Green Hornet empty. The year is now 1989…
That man is Paul Reid, Alan’s younger brother, wearing his fallen brother’s uniform. The smouldering building in Green Hornet #6 is Reid Manor, the ancestral home of his family dating back decades, recently burned by the city’s new crime boss, who is herself a close friend of the family and wholly aware of the Green Hornet’s true identity. As for the masked man in the painting, he is never named in the series, but Green Hornet aficionados will remember that the character’s origins back in the days of radio came as a spinoff/knockoff of The Lone Ranger, whose character rights are no longer intertwined with The Green Hornet’s. Paul’s anger is due to more than just the loss of his family home, though, as his great-uncle Britt, the original Green Hornet was assassinated in the same attack, saving the life of his daughter, Diana, the city’s district attorney.
The appearance of a ghost in the form of her deceased son is a bit shocking for Diana (and kudos to Jeff Butler for selling it all with very dramatic facial expressions), but not as shocking as Paul’s next move. He informs Uncle Britt that he is going to pick up where Alan left off and become a new Green Hornet to take down the criminals who have targeted his family, and while he’s going to do it to honor the deaths of his brother and great-uncle, he’s going to do it his own way.
Personally, I’ve always loved the fact that Paul’s Green Hornet costume uses a weird ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ mask, befitting his day job as a concert pianist, somehow. Unfortunately for the new Green Hornet, days spent with Beethoven and Vivaldi don’t make for immediately transferable skills for a street-level vigilante, and his first mission threatens to end as tragically as his brother’s.
The criminal element is no longer frightened of the Green Hornet, thanks to long absences and the rumors that he is dead, so the bad dudes start roughing up our hero to teach him a lesson about trying to be a hero. But the biggest lesson is yet to come, for everyone involved, as the warehouse doors are blasted in by the new Black Beauty and the thugs are quickly taken down by Kato!
…just maybe not the one anyone expected? This is Hayashi Kato’s little sister Mishi, also the designer of the new Black Beauty and a much more prepared combatant/detective/vigilante than Paul. This sets up a really interesting dynamic between new and old Hornets and Katos, one that would sadly be decimated by editorial meddling, as the rights-holders insisted on the use of the Bruce Lee version of Kato. Green Hornet #6 is a remarkably strong issue in both writing and art, bringing together all the elements for a fascinating new run of Hornet stories, earning a darn-near perfect 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. This is the comic that made me a fan of the Green Hornet, and even though it’s no longer considered canonical, it is the Green Hornet that I know and love.