Preview comic books are wonderful things: not only can they turn you on to something that you’re really going to like but were hesitant to pay $3.99 to try, but they can help you avoid something you’re going to hate at any price. Case in point: Dynamite’s Green Hornet #1 Free Comic Book Day Edition giveaway. It allowed me to sample the publisher’s Hornet wares without getting stung (sorry!).
Green Hornet is a character with a bit of buzz about him (again, sorry) lately, thanks to the high-profile Seth Rogan movie currently in theaters, so perhaps that is why a local comic shop tossed the May preview into my bag when I picked up a couple of comics on a whim the other day. I hadn’t seen it before, so I decided to take a look. Packed with previews of five different iterations of the Green Hornet franchise as licensed by Dynamite Entertainment, this freebie’s teasers each boasts four-to-six pages of story and art that capture the flavor of each series. Unfortunately, I did not care for any of them.
To be fair, this isn’t necessarily a shortcoming on the part of the creators. I have always been indifferent to Green Hornet. I find superhero vs. gangster stories incredibly boring. I cannot get interested in a hero taking on a pack of gun-wielding mobsters. Especially when – as in this case – the ostensibly human hero is depicted as having an 11-foot vertical leap and unerring aim, while the sea of criminal muscle fire wildly and seemingly cannot even hit the wall behind the Hornet. Forget about those tales that feature a superhero with actual powers. “Just mop up the floor with these bozos and move on to a villain with some powers,” I groan.
Filmmaker Kevin Smith wrote the lead story in this collection, previewing his Green Hornet monthly, and while some of his dialogue is fun, I have been conditioned to expect Kevin Smith comics to be late or not be released at all, so luckily I don’t care about this title, or I would be worried about it shipping. (Hey, the dude is busy in Hollywood, I understand that…). The story was also a bit obvious; the cue for Kato’s “dramatic entrance” was too pat. The Green Hornet Strikes! had a chance to win me over because, as much as I despise heroes vs. gangsters, I love gas masks as a visual motif; but the four-pager didn’t have enough room to grab me, and the art is quite disappointing.
If, however, you do get a buzz from the Hornet (Okay, I’ll stop…), you will see something here to satisfy you, either in the main title, Green Hornet, or Green Hornet Year One, The Green Hornet Strikes!, Kato Origins, or Kato. The latter features the female Kato of comics, and consists of black-and-white art from Ale Garza without word balloons – but they are not needed; the storytelling is clear enough (and plot clichéd enough) to discern what is happening.
Let me wrap by praising Dynamite for publishing this preview, and encourage the company to keep handing out samples; maybe next time, the title will fly with me…