Meet the New Hornet, Same as the Old Hornet

February 11, 2013

Writer:  Kevin Smith
Artist: Jonathan Lau
Dynamite Entertainment | TPB | $19.99

Review by From the Booth‘s own KEN

Kevin Smith is more than just the guy on “Comic Book Men” who is too fat to fly. He’s also a pretty great comic book writer and I try to pick up his stuff whenever I can. He made his comics-writing bones on Marvel‘s Daredevil with Joe Quesada and then on his Green Arrow revival for DC Comics.

Not to say there aren’t problems with Smith. No one is forgiving him for Jersey Girl. He’s a prima donna who puts books out on his own schedule and abandons titles with little to no warning. He does not take criticism well and can end up going off on tangents at times.

Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet, however, seems to play up his strengths and hide his weaknesses. If you’re in your late twenties or early thirties, you may only know Green Hornet as a show that was on when you were just a twinkle in your father’s eye. All I knew about him was he was like Batman but had Bruce Lee as a sidekick. But in this incarnation of the book, the original Hornet is killed off in the first few issues and his playboy son decides to take up his mantle. Kato is still around but so is his daughter who is equally, if not more, deadly.

While this may be all that needs to be said to dissuade older readers from picking up this trade, I thought it was a great jumping on point for me. Like Britt Reid Jr., I knew nothing of his father’s exploits.

Based on a movie script Smith wrote that was never developed, the first four issues of this series seem like a solid first act worthy of a summer blockbuster. Kato’s daughter has some truly spectacular fight scenes while the new Green Hornet is still fumbling around the learner’s curve. While the playboy turned superhero is an old trope by this point, the humor and dialogue keep the origin story feeling reasonably fresh. The pencils are extremely clean and tight and every page is saturated with color.

While probably not for people who are attached to the original Hornet, this book sets up the story for a new generation with necessary information being relayed by flashbacks. Kevin Smith gave up writing credits after issue ten (probably meaning he was gone by issue eight…) but based on the first four issues I’m definitely in for the next six and you should be too.  After that, keep an eye out for Mark Waid’s Green Hornet coming out from Dynamite sometime in the next couple months.

Final rating (out of 5): 5_Star


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