Ready for more? I hope so, because we ain't even halfway done yet. . .
GREEN HORNET (Dynamite)
ISSUE 13: THE SAINT
This issue takes a small dip in the writing department as it builds up toward the end of this first post-Smith act.
It's still pretty good, though. There's just a few eye-rolling moments like Kato in Japan confronting the leader of the Juuma Family with an extremely far-fetched story about robotic wasps that turns out to fake, but they spend a lot of page space on it.
And then back in Central City, when Green Hornet and Kato are separated during their assault on Los Hijos de la Muerte, Kato finds herself getting her ass handed to her by a skull-faced "Saint Death" even though in earlier issues, her Father proudly claimed she was a master over 40 fighting styles.
The issue ends out with the Juuma Clan not believing Kato and sending for an assassin to take him out, Mulan getting shot and Green Hornet rushing her to the emergency room . .so much for her being a "Master of Martial Arts".
Despite some clunky writing, the art here is really good, especially in the opening pages with a training session between Mulan and Green Hornet.
Overall, I felt this issue sagged a bit, which is odd when it's the buildup to the final issue in this second arc. Still, it wasn't BAD. . .it just wasn't great.
ISSUE 14: DEATHMASK
In this final issue of the second arc on this series, Mulan is badly wounded and in the hospital fighting for her life while Green Hornet decides to take on Los Hijos de la Muerte solo.
After beating his way through the gang, he confronts Padre Benedicto, and during a fight with "Santo Muerte" , he discovers that she is actually Benedicto's deformed, mentally-retarded daughter.
Oooooookay, then. . .
I don't know how to put this without offending SOMEONE. . .but the girl looks like she's got Down Syndrome with an extra helping of deformity. How in the flying F@$& did she pass off as a skeletal figure that demanded obedience from a street gang, and how the hell did she manage to beat "Martial Arts Master" Kato in a stand-up fight when she's laying there drooling and giggling when Green Hornet pulls off her mask?
FAIL, PHIL HESTER! FAIIIIIIIIIIIL!!
Never mind the rest of the issue. . .Kato and Clutch are returning to America, blah, blah. . .Juuma Clan hiring most deadly assassin, blah blah. . .Crooked Cop starts turning good from Green Hornet's example blah, blah. . .Never mind.
Phil Hester had a person with extreme Down Syndrome kicking the ass of a highly-trained martial artist and terrifying a street gang into suicidal obedience!
ISSUE 15: DEATH AND REBIRTH
Okay. . .after the sketchy foolishness of last issue's second arc-ending crap taking us on a sudden swerve toward the cliff. . .this issue gets back onto the rails, thank God.
Let's start off by recognizing the awesome Alex Ross homage cover to Amazing Spider-Man #50. Very nicely done!
Mulan is still recovering from being shot during her battle with. . .let's not even talk about it. She's in the hospital, okay?
Kato and Clutch have come back from Japan, believing that they have put the Juuma Clan in their place, not knowing that Madame Juuma didn't buy Kato's B.S. and that a deadly assassin has followed them.
Green Hornet decides that crime doesn't rest just because Mulan is laid up, so he and Clutch get back on the job, with Clutch in the Batcave. . .er. . .Hornet's Nest. . .on backup while Britt goes it solo against a sex trafficking ring.
During the operation, Britt thinks he accidentally kills someone, which leads to him abandoning the Green Hornet. . .for less than one issue. . .once he learns that the guy he thought he killed was faking it to find out the Hornet's identity (it was Redhand. . .the Juuma Clan's assassin), Britt is like "Whatever, give me back my hat, Clutch" and gets back to work. . .this time to try and find out who the creepy guy who can play dead and knows he's the Green Hornet is.
All in all, a pretty good issue, especially when compared with the last one. It's basically just some setup for the next arc, but it's nice setup.
ISSUE 16: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW PART 1
On this first issue of the new "Red Hand" arc, we get another shakeup in the creative team. . .new artist, new writer (Hester stays on in the back seat for plotting).
The art is pretty good. It's a lot more "Comic Booky" than Lau's, but it's still very detailed and only gets a bit iffy on character faces. Still, it's like a night and day shift in look from previous issues.
As for the writing, I can't really see much of a difference. I guess we'll see what happens when Hester is completely gone from the book. As long as there's no Down Syndrome Kung-Fu masters, I'm good.
Speaking of Kung Fu masters. . .Redhand makes his first move on Kato by tricking a couple of bumbling wannabe costumed heroes from another city into coming to Central City and tracking down Green Hornet. After they weaken him up a bit, Redhand captures Hornet and Redhand readies to move on to his next target, Mulan. . .
All in all, I liked this book. Normally a creative changeup is sort of bad news, but the new writer and artist are doing pretty good so far.
ISSUE 17: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW PART 2
First off. . .God, I love this cover! It's probably one of the best so far and a great picture of the new Hornet/Kato team. VERY nice!
The art in the rest of the issue is still pretty good. It maintains a nice middle ground between realistic and comic booky. It doesn't try to be fancy, but at the same time it isn't generic either.
The story takes a bit of a dip in this issue, though. The plot focuses mainly on Redhand's capture of Mulan and putting her through a gauntlet of traps and thugs until she's so weak that he easily beats her down in a rooftop confrontation that Redhand films and sends to Kato Sr. as a taunting "Come and get me". So Kato gears up in his old outfit to go and get him.
The building full of traps and trials just seems sort of old, and the villain (Redhand) comes off as more of a story movement machine than an actual threat.
All in all, pretty average. . .not great, not bad. Except the cover. Now THAT'S great. It's going on my cover frame wall in my man-cave.
ISSUE 18: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW PART 3
In this issue, we learn the origin of Redhand through flashbacks while he and Kato Sr. battle.
Turns out that after the original Green Hornet and Kato split up in the first issue of this series, Kato returned to Japan and recruited a promising martial arts student in order to try and recreate the Green Hornet/Kato team in Japan.
It didn't end well, as his recruit was a killer by nature and didn't want to do things the Kato way. Eventually, he left to train with more murder-minded teachers and became a soulless assassin for hire.
So the origin was sort of interesting, and the flashbacks to Kato in his prime were pretty good and well drawn, but I couldn't help but feel a sense of Obi-Wan and Anakin-style Deja Vu over the whole thing. Sort of like a Kung Fu version of Revenge of The Sith, with a little A New Hope "When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master." boasting thrown in.
ISSUE 19: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW PART 4
Last issue's Star Wars deja vu becomes full-blown. . .let's be kind and call it homage. . .in this one as we get the full "You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them. You were to bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!” Revenge of The Sith ending in this one.
The art also takes a bit of a dip in this issue. It's still pretty good, but just looks rushed.
That and the way that Redhand is defeated is pretty ridiculous, with some extremely eye-rolling dialogue from Clutch Kato as he defeats the enemy. . .with SCIENCE!
All in all, I found this issue pretty average. Good in spots, bad in spots. I don't think it was as smooth a landing as the creators intended.
On to the next arc with the next issue, but in the wise words of Han Solo. . ."I have a bad feeling about this."
This batch of issues were extremely hit and miss for me. The first post-Kevin Smith movie script arc really left a sour taste with its bungled ending. The third arc was pretty good, but extremely derivative of Star Wars (and any other "Student turns on his Master" story). But the thing is that despite the rough patches, Green Hornet is still a decent book. It keeps WANTING to swerve, but is still on the rails for now.
Up next. . .
More Green Hornet. 23 issues to go. Be there or be square!
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Issue # 4