Collecting issues #6-10 of the series based on Kevin Smith's unproduced Green Hornet film, this volume also features a complete cover gallery by industry greats Alex Ross, John Cassaday, J. Scott Campell, and more.
Kevin Patrick Smith is an American screenwriter, director, as well as a comic book writer, author, and actor. He is also the co-founder, with Scott Mosier, of View Askew Productions and owner of Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash comic and novelty store in Red Bank, New Jersey. He also hosts a weekly podcast with Scott Mosier known as SModcast. He is also known for participating in long, humorous Q&A Sessions that are often filmed for DVD release, beginning with An Evening with Kevin Smith.
His films are often set in his home state of New Jersey, and while not strictly sequential, they do frequently feature crossover plot elements, character references, and a shared canon in what is known by fans as the "View Askewniverse", named after his production company View Askew Productions. He has produced numerous films and television projects, including Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Clerks II.
This one, more than the first volume, felt like a storyboard for a movie. Which could be a good thing. But it definitely felt like "Let's check the boxes, get the beats in there, but not waste too much time on any one thing."
I think it's sort of weird that we didn't get this movie. It seems better to me. I know not everyone is a fan of Smith's style, but at least there was stuff happening in this story. I think Kevin has a love for the characters and sort of pulp-y comics characters in general. It would've been different, but when it comes to Green Hornet, I think that's what was needed.
An exciting conclusion that definitely makes more use of Kevin Smith's trademark humour than the first volume did. Loved the Britt/Kato interactions and the introduction of Clutch. Rather sad they don't appear to have done any more with this Hornet reboot.
As I mentioned in my John Carter first look, I’m somewhat new to Dynamite’s properties; more accurately, their licensed properties. When I attended the Pulp Panel at Baltimore Comic-Con 2014, I was interested in the Green Hornet for the first time. My only previous exposure was the trailer for the Seth Rogan film. I knew it was an old character from the time of the radio serials, but not much else. But after hearing about Mark Waid’s take on it, I flagged it as something to check out.
Luckily for me, this year Dynamite did a Humble Bundle which included Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet. With the current near glut of comic book movies going to the silver screen, it was interesting to learn that Smith’s run on the comic was based on a Miramax movie script he wrote, but which was never produced. As a Kevin Smith fan, this intrigued me. Let’s first take a brief walk through the plot before looking at some of the themes Smith employs as well as any cinema-ness that sticks out compared to traditional comics.
The story open in what, at least to me, appears to be an unspecified time period. Smith seems to be deliberately leaving it open to interpretation whether this takes place in the 1930s of the original Green Hornet stories or a more modern time. The Green Hornet (Britt Reid) takes out the last crime family and retires. Unlike Batman, his appearance does not lead to escalation of ever crazier criminals. Perhaps unrealistically, he has now reach his goal and instead of being corrupted by power, he’s just happy that his city has been rid of all the crime families. His wife knows he’s the Green Hornet, but his son does not.
Fast-forward 20 years or so and we realize the opening must have taken place in the 70s or 80s because it’s now “today” and his son is essentially a male Paris Hilton: hounded by the paparazzi and a layabout living off his father’s money. Britt Reid Reid is then murdered by the Black Hornet. This is revealed to be a revenge killing for having stopped one of the crime families from the opening of the story (Black Hornet is the son of this crime boss). Interestingly, unlike many interpretations of Batman where Commissioner Gordon doesn’t know who Batman is, the DA did know who the Green Hornet was and sold this information to the Black Hornet.
Britt Reid Jr becomes the new Green Hornet to avenge his father and Kato’s daughter, Mulan becomes the new Kato. Things go slightly off the rails in terms of the main themes when it turns out that the Black Hornet didn’t only want revenge on Britt Reid Sr, but also implanted a bug that allows him to assume control of the new awesome airplane for the DOD and things go from revenge (and other themes) to the oft-used movie theme of “don’t develop super weapons lest they fall into the wrong hands”.
Smith isn’t shy about hitting the reader over the head with the main theme as it’s the name of the first volume: Sins of the Father. This trope is at least as old as the Bible, but it also occurs in real life – see the Hatfields and McCoys. What is most interesting about Smith’s use of the trope is the various ways it affects the children in this tale as well as how the adults dealt with it. Unlike other super heroes operating without super powers, Britt Sr does not involve his son in his crime-fighting. In fact, he keeps knowledge of it away from his son in hopes that he will not give his son the passion for following in his father’s footsteps. The legacy he selects for his son, newspaper magnate, is the one his son rejects. Of course, like a Greek Tragedy, this does not prevent the son from becoming the new Green Hornet and arguably pushes him in that direction. His father even had a contingency plan to whisk him out of the country (to China) if the father is ever attacked out of costume because it would mean his identity is compromised. So, for the sins of his father, Britt loses his father and is thrust into a crime fighting life (and probably would have been killed otherwise).
In an example of positive stereotyping, Kato’s daughter, Mulan, has been training her entire life to be the next Green Hornet sidekick. Even if I misread that, we still have the positive stereotype of asians being so amazingly good at martial arts that Britt Jr is not ready to be Green Hornet until he can beat Mulan at a sparring session. Either way, she ends up being the next “Kato”. She gets off the easiest when it comes to consequences of her father’s actions. She gets to be a kick-ass sidekick.
Finally, there’s the Juuma family. In an interesting mirror of his rival, the elder Juuma does not wish for his son to become embroiled in the rivalry. Unlike Reid, he does have his son working in the family business, but older Juuma realizes that revenge often leads to short-sighted thinking. They are planning on stealing a nuclear bomber that would allow them to exact tolls for every country – who cares if he had to be in jail for a while because of the Green Hornet. His sins cause Hirohito to have father gone for part of his childhood (jailed) and to develop an irrational hatred of the Green Hornet that ultimately costs them the most more important prize of the bomber.
The Green Hornet has some superficial similarities with Batman – they’re both rich, white men protecting the city from seedy elements. Smith is a huge Batman fan (he has a podcast called Fat Man on Batman) and has even penned some Batman stories. There are four main differences between the two masked men in Smith’s depiction of The Green Hornet. I think these differences are pretty interesting because we’ve had Batman for just as long as we’ve had the Green Hornet, but the Green Hornet never reached as wide a popularity so we consider the types of stories told with Batman to be more of a natural reflection of what a hero must be like. Green Hornet paints a slightly different picture.
A key part of the modern Batman is his lack of a traditional family and stunted emotional growth when it comes to relationships. In the modern mythology he’s raised by his family’s butler after his parents die. He then goes off into the wilderness to be reborn (a common trope at least as old as the Old Testament). When he returns he begins his suicidal quest against against the evil elements of Gotham City. Until he begins adopting children, he is not grounded and takes more risks. All of his father/son relationships leave something to be desired and his romantic relationships rarely pan out well. Batman never marries and the most compatible relationships to his lifestyle and neurosis are with villains: Talia al Ghul and Selina Kyle – aka Catwoman.
By contrast Britt Reid is depicted in Smith’s incarnation as a family man. He has a wife and a son and day job that requires his presence much more than Batman at Wayne Industries. Batman is often presented to be a child’s emotional response to the death of his parents. Yet Britt who (in this version) has no tragedy to spur him on, also engages in vigilantism. While Batman never wants someone to go through what he went through, Britt wants to clean up the city for his child. Finally, while Batman keeps his caped identity a secret from everyone (including most of those he adopts (until they figure it out)), Britt’s wife knows he’s the Green Hornet. It certainly helps to prevent the Batman Beyond storylines of “where were you last night?”
A common thesis is that Batman is the cause of his super villains. When he brought superior force and thinking to the fight against crime in Gotham he created a darwinistic pressure on the criminals to up their game if they wanted to continue to operate in Gotham. Thus all the common thugs fall away and, except for a crime family or two left in for legacy reasons, everyone works for the smartest (Riddler), most ruthless (Penguin), or most insane (Joker). Interestingly, Smith depicts the only response to the Green Hornet’s success is that some crime families try to team up. No masked villains appear to challenge him. (I am ignoring the Black Hornet of this story because it’s not a response to the Green Hornet, but an attempt to drag the Hornet name through the mud) So Smith reminds us that it’s not inevitable that Batman’s existence would have created his villains.
Another pretty big difference, and one that confused me as someone wasn’t familiar with the Green Hornet mythos, is that the Green Hornet assumes the guise not of a vigilante (like Batman), but that of another gangster. So while the Gotham Underworld knows they’re dealing with a vigilante, Green Hornet’s enemies think he’s merely another one of them who is more effective. Perhaps this is part of what prevents the escalation that occurs in Batman. Interestingly, Britt has his newspapers write editorials confirming that the Green Hornet is a criminal boss and condemning his actions.
The biggest difference, however, is that the Green Hornet actually accomplishes his job. I know on a meta level why this can’t be so in Batman. If Batman were to finally win, there would be no new Batman stories. The enemies need to constantly escape or new ones arise. It would make a nice story along the lines of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow to see Batman finally able to retire and perhaps raise a family. Although, given his relationship issues (as I quickly mentioned, but have been elaborated all over the net) – there’s a certain truth to the future as depicted in Batman Beyond where Bruce ends up all alone. But in Britt’s instance, he’s able to go back to being a regular family man and business owner. Green Hornet Vol 2 - Mulan's revealGreen Hornet Vol 2 – Mulan’s reveal
Moving away from comparisons with his pulp-era contemporary, one of the best reveals near the end is the reveal that Mulan is a lesbian. I thought the reveal was great on a few different levels. First of all, it’s so rare for a male and female lead not to be romantic interests. Second, nothing about Mulan as depicted in these first two volumes conforms to any lesbian stereotypes. The reveal is a surprise and shock to both the main character and the reader. Second only to a need for more characters of color in our media is the need for diverse sexualities. Since the 80s there has been a gradual increase in the number of LGBT characters in media, but only most recently have we started to see them represented in as many variations as there are in real life. While there are certainly people who resemble the stereotypes (or they wouldn’t exist), I’ve found it much more common to only know someone’s sexuality only when they discuss their partner/spouse.
As refreshing as it was not to have the usual male/female sexual tension among the leads, I do think there is a lot of room for authors to explore the dynamics of a hero/sidekick relationship. I’m sure in the nearly 100 years of comics it’s been explored, but it seems really rare. There are definitely some potential stories in the power dynamics there.
Finally, I just wanted to take few words to explore some random things I noticed in these volumes. Smith’s a master of dialogue and so it’s no surprise that the banter during the introductory fight and the banter when Britt Jr and Kato are trapped are pretty classic Smith. Also, his sense of comedy adds a great commentary to the idea of companies needing to update old ideas rather than just sticking to them by having Britt Jr try out a bunch of updated costumes with each having its own drawbacks before he just goes with the classic costume. One of the most interesting bits of trivia any comic fan eventually learns is that Batman used to carry a gun and didn’t even have any issues with killing enemies. Since the Green Hornet is from that same pulp era, I think it’s interesting he shoots a dart gun rather than a regular gun. I wonder if this was a change Smith made or a gimmick the original had.
So that was one man’s take on a classic pulp character; one that was originally to appear on the silver screen. In about a month we’ll take a look at Mark Waid’s take on the Green Hornet to see how he brings this character from the 30s to the 2010s.
Smith's Green Hornet series gets into the meat of the arc and its better in terms of speed but its devolves into a hokey cliche. There are some beyond corny lines here and the plot is similar. Hester and Lau continue to provide nice visuals but the book still doesn't do enough to stand out. Overall, a quick, popcorn movie type read.
The conclusion to the first volume is enjoyable but I was hoping some of the rough edges would be smoothed over they were not more of the same from the first volume over the top and hyper stylised version of character a decent effort nonetheless an ok read this was some of the basis of the film from 2011
This second volume finishes the story started in the first volume. It's a fun, quick, read. This was based on Smith's screenplay for a movie that never got made, and it reads like a typical superhero movie, with all of the beats you'd expect in a good superhero film. I liked it.
Smith continues his Green Hornet story in this second and final part of his screenplay-turned-comic-book series. When we left off the new Green Hornet and Kato had accepted their roles and place within Century City and had begun their takedown of the bad guys, including the newest villain, the Black Hornet.
This book feels a lot more like a movie than a comic book. For instance there's the montage of scenes where Britt Reid Jnr tries on a series of new Hornet costumes interspersed with him beating up hoods and receiving fighting lessons from the two Katos, finally concluding to stick with the classic look and matching Kato toe to toe in a fight after being beaten the first time.
Then the action heats up quickly. Black Hornet and his alter ego are out for the destruction of the Reid dynasty and Century City while developing a nuclear stealth bomber with the intention of "getting revenge for Nagasaki and Hiroshima". This is one of many references Smith feels would be in a Japanese person's psyche, and has Reid repeatedly call the new Kato "dragon lady" and wonders how the new Clutch could be related to Kato as he's a "round eye". Yeah, as a half-Japanese myself (and a "round-eye") I found these tedious references a bit insulting and dumb, but I guess that's what you get with Kevin Smith sometimes.
There's also a cheesy setup where Green Hornet and Kato are tied up at the top of the Sentinel's building which has a giant working typewriter (yeah, really) and they face death by key stroke. Ridiculous to see, I'm not sure it would've worked on the big screen as it's just too much of a throwback. I mean why build a typewriter on a roof? And why have the villain tie them up and leave before seeing them killed? I felt like Scott Evil, thinking "just get a gun and put a bullet in their heads. Bang bang, done, see?".
Anyway, suffice it to say Green Hornet and Kato save the day and get revenge on the Black Hornet. I will say this about Smith, the way Black Hornet is dealt with is something I've never seen in comic books - literally revenge by trousers. Intriguing no?
"Wearing O' the Green" has it's moments and shows Smith's Hornet movie would've been kinda cool to see albeit flawed with a number of seemingly unavoidable comic book clichés (the quick training of the good guy, the single mindedness of the villain to his detriment, the action setups involving missiles) but it works as a finale to the first book. A bit too silly at times but interesting nonetheless, Smith's a talented writer and has created a decent story for a decent comic book character. It's a fun read.
The first volume was stronger, for sure. A lot of this series is carried by the artwork, which works the action scenes better than most. The writing, well, it's not so hot. Kevin Smith has a sense of humor that really makes him laugh, but didn't work for me here. Very 90s, but unlike the first volume, it wasn't such a strong trait.
The first edition of Kevin Smith's limited series rebooting “The Green Hornet” only did a fair job of catching and keeping my attention. BUT it did it well enough to convince me to pick up and read the second edition (of 2).
And … my general impression of the 2nd book was pretty much the same as the first.
Nice art, helps tell the story. Lots of action sequences, perhaps even too much at the expense of character development. A fair tale, based in large part on stories you've probably read before. (Father dies, son vows revenge. Older man fills father-figure role to teach son the ways of crime-fighting) Yes, there are a few modifications and differences to this theme, such as the fact that sensei has his OWN child, whom he has also trained. (There is a surprise or two here, however – but no spoilers from me.) And toss in the fact that the father's foe has a son looking for revenge – it's not really of a spoiler since this fact was telegraphed from the characters' first appearance!
Add in a nod to those 1950s Batman comics featuring the enlarged machinery, and you have … what amounts to an average comic. Not bad, not great. Worth reading, but no one's life will have a gap if they never get around to reading this series.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars, rounded down to 3 stars where 1/2 stars are not permitted.
(This review includes both Vol. 1 and 2) Best way to describe this title? I got a kick out of it! Originally conceived as a movie, the story is an enjoyable action fest with enough emotion to flesh it out but not overwhelm. It's designed to be modern pulp fun with plenty of goofy scenes and one liners. It makes no effort to be more than that - a refreshing change from comics that try too hard to be 'deep'.
I thought creating a new Green Hornet for the modern age was a great way to update the character without disrespecting or destroying the original. While the writing isn't sophisticated it is entertaining, even if the older Kato completely steals the show!
What makes this a 4 versus 3 star book(s) is the artwork. The creative breakdowns by Phil Hester followed by Lau's pencils and, most important in my opinion, Nunes' colors makes the art pop. It feels smooth and sleek which suits the action. I would have liked a few facial expressions cleaned up a bit, but overall I enjoyed the 'show' so to speak.
The first volume (subtitled Sins of the Father) is worth reading. It adds insight into Green Hornet, Kevin Smith, and comic book superheroes in general. Positive insight, I should stress. This second volume is the whole thing collapsing into gibberish. I mean, it's not a complete waste. But yeah, it kind of is. At a certain point, because Smith loses faith in the basic concept, he tosses in a nod to WWII, and that's the biggest most ridiculous mistake to be found here. It would be one thing if Smith were at all prepared to write that story, but he really isn't. And so the exercise becomes perfunctory and also something of an insult. If you go in without expectations and a relatively low critical threshold, this is serviceable material. Otherwise, you can skip this. Read the first volume, by all means, but even missing out on the conclusion (which is obvious anyway by the end of the other volume) won't make much difference anyway. The best character work is there, the best storytelling. What else do you need to know?
Part 2 of the comic adapted from Kevin Smith's fantastic Green Hornet movie script that didn't happen because Smith didn't think he could direct it. I disagree, but because he did drop out, we got Seth Rogen making an absolute mockery of one of my favorite old school radio characters. But at least we have the comic.
This is the culmination of the story started in Volume One where Britt Reid Jr. takes the mantle of the Hornet from his father. It keeps everything light and humorous after all the darkness involved in a hero's origin (following Joss Whedon's mantra of "kill whoever you want, but for God's sake tell a joke") and does a fine job of going from believable to ridiculous comic book action (the typewriter, oh yes, the typewriter).
Definitely glad I read these two back to back. Totally worth it.
The banter and the action pick up in this second volume, which really complete the first major story arc. Young Britt Reid is now taking on the helm of the Green Hornet, although he's basically second fiddle to the new Kato. The conspiracy that led to his father's death is ratcheting up its goals, and Britt and Kato must stop them before it spells the end of the city. The stakes go much higher, although it kind of seems out of the blue when they do. But it's all an excuse for the action scenes, which work really well, and the dialogue here feels much more like Kevin Smith. It would have made for a pretty good film, but it works just as well on paper. The art is beautiful throughout, and the action scenes kinetic if a bit confused.
An entertaining read with a nice campy pulp feel to it. Readers who may have liked things like the 60's Batman TV show, or The Green Hornet of that era, may enjoy this as well. It keeps that campy feel with some modern sensitivity. This is a comic where the children of the heroes take over the mantles of their parents, and they do so pretty well. The Black Hornet takes on the role of the megalomaniacal villain pretty well. Ok, so the typewriter thing is a bit cheesy, but that is part of the charm. Overall, an amusing comic. It probably would have made a better movie than the recent pap that was recently in theaters.
Reading volume 2 of K. Smith's Green Hornet was akin to getting papercuts on my balls from old Rob Liefeld comics. I guess I got my hopes up because volume 1, unlike pretty much every other thing Kev has written in ten years, wasn't half bad. I love the fat bastard, but only when he's yapping and not writing.
This is based on an introduced Kevin Smith script and it reads like a typical Hollywood blockbuster. that is not a compliment. But when Smith breaks free of Hollywood cliches, especially in the way our hero defeats the villain, it shines.
I never was into the Green Hornet. I never even gave it much thought. I got this volume and volume 2 as part of a digital bundle (Humble Bundle I think) and gave it a shot. I'm glad I picked it up because it was very entertaining. It would have made a great movie.
Fun read, but you can tell it was originally a film script for a early to mid-2000's comic movie. That's not to say it is bad or anything, but superhero movies have come a long way since Marvel lit a fire on the genre.