Thursday, March 18, 2010

Green Hornet: Year One #1

Green Hornet: Year One
Written by Matt Wagner
Art by Aaron Campbell
Colors by Francesco Francavilla
Letters by Simon Bowland
Covers by Alex Ross, Matt Wagner, John Cassaday, Stephen Segovia
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Review by Lan Pitts

"Oh. Well, uh...that is a rather unique and aggressive African species. Trust me, Britt, what I just told you is true! But...if you ever encounter one of'd be wisest to run in the opposite direction!" -- Daniel Reid

Having read Kevin Smith's Green Hornet and finding myself not wholeheartedly given a great first impression, this book here took the sting off a bit. This is the Green Hornet book I was expecting and will more than likely get more of. It's the character that pops out of Hornet fans' collective memory that seems to come alive once again through Matt Wagner's voice and Aaron Campbell's eyes. Needless to say, you won't find any racial epithets or jokes concerning male genitalia here.

I like how Wagner pulled a sort of "Godfather Part II" here, going back and forth between events in Britt's life that showed him walking the path that would eventually lead him wearing the fabled (and redesigned) mask. Wagner also uses the same technique with Kato's early life and decisions that are somewhat different from what I had expected and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds.

All the characters seem to be in great care with Wagner, from the Hornet, to his father, to even the thugs that are taken down. Nothing seems out of place. Wagner is aided with Aaron Campbell's very noir-ish style that fits the tone of the book perfectly. He's taken his style that he had from the Trial of Sherlock Holmes and just ran with it. It's not over rendered or over simplified, and elevates the story that much higher.

One of my first comics I read as a kid was NOW Comics' version of the Hornet, which led to my obsession with Zorro and Batman that continues today. Matt Wagner seemed like an almost too perfect choice for handling this character and his world. Any Hornet fan would seriously miss out on a fantastic read, should they not get this. The stage has been set for a great adventure ahead, and you'll find me going along for the ride.

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