If you like your comics with a pinch less demigod then Dynamite Entertainment is probably the publisher for you.
Among their admittedly non-human titles they print The Spider,
Mark Waid’s The Green Hornet #5 (Dynamite Entertainment)
This issue opens with Britt Reid (AKA Green Hornet) folding from within as his conquering of the criminal underworld has gotten to him. He’s got his newspaper printing articles all about him which isn’t helping his credibility. It seems that balancing normal life and the Green Hornet life is getting to be too much for the guy. On top of all that Kato quit! This issue focuses on Reid attempting to get his life back in order and trying to convince Kato to come back into the fold.
Well written intro.
Writer Mark Waid does an impeccable job with dialogue throughout this issue. I kept asking myself how I could be entertained when so little action was present. The answer is that Waid has a great handle on the dialogue — to the point where you become enraptured with the characters. Waid seems to be building a story here whose premise is based on the arrogance a hero might have when he’s won in every area of his life. The Green Hornet seems unbeatable, his company is successful and he’s generally on top of the world.
That isn’t to say there is no action, and in fact there’s quite a good sequence between Kato and Green Hornet. Waid also does something clever in this fight scene as the winner ends up taking the cake not because of skill but a tie to their personality. It goes a long way of making the fight scene interesting and palatable to the characters. So often heroes fight one another just because, which makes the entire experience pointless and fodder for impatient readers. Here though, it’s nice to look at, but also serves a purpose for the story.
Speaking of art, Ronilson Frere does a pretty dang good job on this issue. He does some crisscrossing panels for the action sequence that blend nicely with Kato kicking and Green Hornet tricking. There’s also a nice weight to all the characters. Their clothes look timeworn and the backgrounds are rendered with enough care and detail to ground this comic in the real world. So often backgrounds are solid colors, which make the characters pop, but also pull them out of a reality you can believe in. Not so here, which is all the more important when you consider how human these characters are.
There’s a sequence here that Frere does a great job with, where Kato is beating up a detective who’s following him. The speed at which Kato moves is made clear based on the use of panels and how they interact. It helps convey how powerful Kato would be with his fighting skills during the… what is it, the 1930’s? Either way, not many knew how to kick ass like that back then, so it’s nice to see how powerful Kato can be when enacting some justice on a regular dude.
Never tail a dude who knows karate.
- Action sequence is exciting and actually has a point
- Hornet’s arrogance is an intriguing story element
- There was a panel where I’m pretty sure Kato and Green Hornet’s dialogue was flipped by accident
- Avoiding spoilers, a resolution is completed much too easily
This was a strong issue in the story department and that’s mostly because Waid gives good reason for the Kato vs. Green Hornet fight sequence. That’s the meat of this issue, but there’s also character development and an intriguing concept of a superhero’s arrogance messing up his life. We certainly don’t see that much in the comic book world.
Is It Good?
Yes. Green Hornet has enough compelling stuff going on to set him apart from the rest. Worth a look.