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Another Green Hornet book you say? Ah yes, but this one is written by Matt Wagner (Grendel). Matt may not bring his pencils to this issue, but he brings his ability to tell a strong narrative without bulky dialog. This issue is for all intents and purposes the origin of Green Hornet and Kato. It’s a great origin story, which is not usually the case. Most origin stories are told after the characters inception which results in disjointed story telling, and the over-whelming need to tie in every story written before the origin.
The unique aspect of this book is that two origins are told simultaneously. It makes the Green Hornet relevant and plays to Dynamite Entertainments strengths of licensed characters. There used to be one defining rule to licensed characters when performing in a medium outside of their own: they were bad, never livingup to the source material. That is until Dynamite Entertainment came to the scene. They treat the source material with respect and not only pay homage to it but expand upon it. This story pays homage to the characters as well as moving them forward for a new generation of readers.
The three acts of the book are broken up into three different stages of Green Hornet and Kato’s childhood/adulthood. At every stage, it presents them learning to be men, which is illustrated from their respective father’s instructions. Both learn what it means to become honorable men that fight against injustice. The relationship between the boys and their fathers is touching.
The book has an incredible amount of wit to it. Wagner’s Hornet makes Spider-man’s criminal banter look amateur. I laughed out loud, lol’d if you will, at several of the comments Green Hornet made to his criminal counter-part. It’s just another example of how well the team knew the characters. Matt Wagner is also credited for the art direction, which is evident when a fight scene breaks out. Aaron Campbell (Sherlock Holmes) has a very distinguished style that fits the book, and the different eras of the book. He’s able to capture Chicago and Osaka through nearly two decades. The art is very beautiful and supports the story narrative of the book. Each panel guides your eye to the next, which is especially wonderful during the fights.
So far Dynamite has one solid Green Hornet book and one outstanding Green Hornet book. From this title, Kato: Origins is spinning off. Hopefully Dynamitemaintains the quality set by this book. This issue stands out not only as a single issue, or a Green Hornet issue but as an origin story done right. It leaves you waiting for the next issue, but beckons you to immediately read the first again.
Overall Score – 10/10