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Comic Review: Green Hornet #1: Night and Day by Kevin Smith, Jonathan Lau, and Phil Hester

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Traditionally, Hollywood properties are years in the making. Scripts are written, rewritten, and flat-out tossed away. The new Green Hornet movie coming out in December was one of those hot-listed properties because comic books have become bankable for the big screen.

Many people might not know this, but the Green Hornet was originally a radio program back in the Golden Age of radio before becoming a popular 1960s television show that started Bruce Lee’s career in America. Britt Reid, the Hornet, was also supposed to be the grand-nephew of the Lone Ranger, also created by writer Fran Striker. As the years between the two widened, the familial tie became stretched.

Kevin Smith, of comic and movie fame, was one of those writers that took a crack at scripting the Green Hornet movie. His script was later refused, but he’s turned it into a mini-series at Dynamite Comics that introduces a new generation of Green Hornet and Kato.

The first issue is a lot of fun, with plenty of action and verbal darts getting thrown. The pacing as the Hornet sneaks up on a Mafia gang and a Chinese gang hoping to throw in together against the Hornet is well done. I especially enjoyed the arrival of the Black Beauty, the Hornet’s car/war machine.

The opening pages as the Hornet and Kato roll through the alley wall took me right back to those episodes I watched as a kid. The TV Green Hornet was never as popular as Batman, even after co-starring on the latter’s series, but I loved the gimmicks. Seeing the car flip over was just cool.

I was sad to find out that this series is going to show Britt Reid passing on the baton to his son. But I’m certain Kevin Smith will deliver a great new combo with the descendants of our two heroes.

The action really slows down after the warehouse battle, but we get a look into the lives of these two warriors that goes beyond anything we were privy to in the radio or television series. We always knew they were close, but the spirit of brothers really comes out in these pages.

And even though the action slows, the pacing doesn’t. The next few years pass in a blur, and we get introduced to Britt’s grown son, Britt, and realize that he’s not exactly a chip off the old…well, Britt. He’s definitely got his problems, and his approach to the media is much different than his dad’s.

Phil Hester’s breakdowns and Jonathan Lau’s finished art are a pleasure to look at. The action sequences are dead on, but they also do a good job of showing emotion, reaction, and introspection.

This is a series I’m looking forward to keeping up with, and I’m going to be matching it up against the movie version releasing in December as well. Maybe I’ll have a different opinion than Hollywood regarding the scripts. It’s happened before.

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