The Green Hornet: Reign of The Demon
Collection: Green Hornet: Reign of the Demon #1 – 4
Publisher: Dynamite Comics © 2017
Written by: David Liss
Illustrated by: Kewber Baal
Colored by: Adriano Augusto
Lettered by: Tom Napolitano
Edits by: Anthony Marques
Did you watch Sony’s Green Hornet film from 2011 starring Seth Rogen? Did it leave a bad taste in your mouth? Not to worry, Dynamite does it well and right. When I first heard of the existence of a new Green Hornet series I jumped at it right away. It was pretty easy to dive into without needed background and origin, anything you need is clarified through small exposition that wastes no time or talking down to the reader. The story follows Green Hornet who has made a return to fighting crime after throwing in the towel, but Chicago is no better off with him or without him. Granted, there is a new Police Commissioner but there is also a new masked criminal in town – Demone. In taking down Demone, Green Hornet & Kato encounter another masked individual who throws a monkey wrench into their plans.
From page one I was hooked, with the Chicago setting, inner-monologue narration of the city like an old noir film. Artist Kewber Baal certainly helps in developing a disgusting, broken down Chicago and then contrasting it with glitzy, glamorous casino like establishments and restaurants. But we most put some praise on colorist Adriano Augusto for helping with this contrast as well. Augusto has created a very colorful world here. Augusto almost makes you forget about the crime and under-dwelling corruption of the city with the beautiful greens, pink and bright oranges and reds used throughout this comic. You don’t find yourself in a dour, cynical mood reading this comic. It’s distracting from the real problems (much like life) and the overall tone of the book. What starts as a hard-boiled, pulp/noir like drama I would argue spirals into something of Bill Dozier’s campy Green Hornet once our other costumed character shows up. Their appearance could be likened to the jumping of the shark… to a small degree. The comic does not completely change tone but given this character and their outfit, it is hard to keep a straight face. Not really a gripe, but it is confusing rather writer David Liss was going for one tone or the other, or a blend. The panel set-up was interesting, like photographs scattered on a table, overlapping some and not always perfectly, sometimes angled. At the same time this will obstruct some artwork, making this approach to their page/panel layout not perfect.
Two other small complaints is the villain’s plan which we do not truly learn of until the final issue and even then seems un-clarified. I came to the conclusion rather simply and quickly, but still felt a bit patchy. Then there was the Green Hornet’s mask – gone is the old, traditional domino mask. Personally, I never grow tired of that design but this one which covers the whole face does make more sense for concealing your own identity but the giant Green Hornet symbol on it is a bit goofy, distracting and when quickly glancing over it I always mistook it for a four leaf clover. With these minor complaints, it is still a great, fun read. If you like your pulp/noir but less gritty than some, then this will be perfect for you.
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