New Comics on Pause — Green Hornet Omnibus Volume 1 Review
GREEN HORNET OMNIBUS
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Covers by Alex Ross
Volumes 1 & 2
Written by Kevin Smith
Breakdowns by Phil Hester
Art by Jonathan Lau
Colors by Ivan Nunes with Bruno Hang & Adriano Lucas
Letters by Simon Bowland & Troy Peteri
Written by Phil Hester
Illustrated by Jonathan Lau
Colored by Ivan Nunes
Lettered by Troy Peteri
The Green Hornet will always have a special place in my heart. I remember watching syndicated episodes of the Green Hornet television series with my dad when I was a kid. Then toward the end of high school and all through college, I got into Kung-Fu movies. I was ecstatic when I eventually realized that Bruce Lee played Kato in the TV series. After that, I fell in love with Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg’s movies, so I fully embraced their Green Hornet film. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not the best movie, but I love it. Now as an adult who is trying to expand his comic book horizons, I return to the character of The Green Hornet once again.
Written by Kevin Smith (yes, that Kevin Smith) and Phil Hester (Green Arrow, Uncle Slam and Firedog) this omnibus collects the first three volumes of Dynamite Entertainment’s revamp of The Green Hornet. I find it interesting that the actual story told in the first two volumes was adapted by Hester from a movie script Smith had written many years before this comic debuted. From there, Hester takes on the full writing duties for the third volume. In this new take on The Green Hornet, Britt Reid (the original Hornet) and his chauffeur/sidekick Kato have retired after finally cleaning up the streets of Century City. Many years later, Reid is murdered by The Black Hornet, a new villain masquerading as the original hero. Reid’s son, Britt Jr. is forced to put aside his playboy lifestyle and take up the Green Hornet mantle in order to avenge his father’s murder and stop the Black Hornet.
This comic book pays a worthy tribute to the Green Hornet stories of the past. Smith excels at writing what I call “buddy dialogue” and that skill is on full display in this series. This writing element is a crucial component of making this comic series feel like past iterations of The Green Hornet. The quips are funny and any dialogue meant to move the plot forward or develop characters is clear and concise. Smith seems to have done a good job of not overwriting (something that can’t always be said about some of his films) and as such Hester is able to put together solid scripts for this series. Together both writers tell a compelling story, while getting out of the art team’s way. The dialogue in this series is good, but I love that a lot of the scenes are told mostly through visuals.
My favorite part about the original television series is the different fighting styles of Kato and The Green Hornet. We’ve all heard of comic book movies. Visually, this series is a movie comic book. Kato is a Kung-Fu master and Green Hornet is the classic brawler. While Kato is delivering roundhouse kicks and taking on multiple opponents at once, Green Hornet ducks the single bad guy’s haymaker and then lands a quick jab before ending the fight with a cross. These different fighting styles are on full display in the opening scene of this series, thanks to the artistic talents of Jonathan Lau. I loved the page layouts throughout all three volumes. Every page is interesting with a mixture of background and foreground perspectives and combinations of individual panels and full page spreads. Lau uses complex framing on each page, but it’s still easy for the reader to follow the flow from panel to panel. The art team’s color choices accentuate Lau’s illustrations, resulting in artwork that visually leaps off the page.
Dynamite’s Green Hornet comic has the same feel as the classic television series and the fun tone of the 2011 film. To top it all off, the action sequences are presented in a hybrid style that pays homage to the TV series while playing off the modernity of the movie. Reading this comic feels like watching a quality movie. It’s got action, comedy, and drama. The art team’s collaboration helps take all of these elements to the next level. If you’ve never experienced The Green Hornet, now’s your chance, as this omnibus is available to borrow from Hoopla.