A few months back I reviewed the premiere issue of the new Green Hornet series from Dynamite Entertainment. I was immediately enthralled with the book. I had never been a huge fan of the character really – I was not a huge fan of the recent movie nor the old 1960′s TV series – but I had enjoyed listening to the old radio serials from the 1930s. As I mentioned in my earlier review, with Mark Waid’s name attached, I had to give the title a try. Immediately after reading that first issue, I added it to my pull list. And I am absolutely glad that I did.
Mark Waid continues to weave an engaging tale with a character who is almost as old as Superman. His character is attempting to straddle both sides of the fence – crime fighter and underworld ringleader – and still maintain his human persona of Britt Reid, publisher of the Daily Sentinel newspaper. Where many heroes from that era were newspaper men, Reid runs his own paper… but has no super powers at all. He simply has the training, the skill, and the need to do what needs to be done (very Batman-esque) but also has assistance with his employee/partner, Kato. What Waid has done has made Kato an incredibly enduring character to me. In the older radio serials, he was Britt’s servant, as he also was in the old 1960s TV show. Here, he also doubles as Britt’s moral center. When he feels Britt crosses the line, he cannot bear to be a part of things and he stands up to our “hero”. This is a strength of Mark Waid – not only does he focus upon the title character in his stories, but he also focuses on what some may consider “secondary” characters. He makes us care about everyone and give personas to each individual, even those who only stick around for an issue or 2. This is something that I have always admired about this writer and that alone makes the entire story that much more entertaining and endearing to the reader.
The artist on the book is Daniel Indro, whom I am not the most familiar with but thoroughly enjoyed here. As this story takes place back in the 1930s time period, Indro gives us the visuals that help us journey to that time. Many, like myself, only know of know of that era through stories such as this one and Indro does a great job in transporting us there. The automobiles look like they are from the era; the darkness in the city streets gives us the feeling of the dirtiness one would expect from the time period… The city scenes are downright amazing with what I would expect. But what I feel makes Indro an even greater artist is that every character looks unique. You can see the characters and you know who they are. With the work that Indro has put into this issue – as both penciler and inker – we get a visually stunning issue.
Now, I tend to not try to delve into spoilers for the stories I review that much anymore. I’m not going to do that here, either. I will say, though, that this is one of the best books I have read and experienced in a long time. It has a captivating storyline, it has character development (including the secondary level of characters – even those who don’t quite make the cut as long-term supporting characters), and it has a visual presence that is one of the best I have seen in recent months. There are many great artists that I love to see, but very few that I think could do justice to this style of a story. It’s a superhero story without super powers – and that’s what makes these pulp characters so enthralling. This is why I am loving the Dynamite line of books with the pulp hero era – the quality of the stories are some of the best I have read in a long time and this quality is what has me experiencing more of the Dynamite line on a monthly basis.