The Green Hornet ’66 Meets the Spirit
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Art & Color: Bob Q
Letters: Travis Lanham
Review by PeteR
The Green Hornet ’66 Meets the Spirit starts right in on the action following the events of the first issue. The Green Hornet and Kato are in Central City during the 1966 World’s Fair to catch the notorious Kid Kraken. They run afoul the Spirit (kind of) in their attempt to lure Kid Kraken out into the open using a devious trap. Now the Spirit (?) is fighting both Kid Kraken’s goons as well as Kato and the Green Hornet.
Issue #2 of The Green Hornet ’66 Meets the Spirit feels more like a Spirit story than the first issue did. The first issue was about setting up the situation for the Green Hornet and Kato to be in Central City and reestablish the Spirit’s old nemesis, the Octopus as a primary crime lord. The second issue introduces Hypnos Schnoose, an industrialist who uses his invention, Novelcaine (preferred by 7 out of 9 dentists) to put himself asleep to survive the pending menace of World War Two. Leaving his wife and unborn son to fend for themselves against the dreaded Nazi Apocalypse Balloons, Schnoose buries himself in a vault underneath his office building in Central City. Without his leadership, his company fails and by the early 1960’s his building is torn down and the land is used for the 1966 World’s Fair. During the battle between Kid Kraken, Kato, the Green Hornet and (sort of) the Spirit, Schnoose awakes and is running about the World’s Fair, unaware that he is interfering with all the other characters’ plans.
Meanwhile, the Spirit, has been missing since 1952. Whoever is running around dressed in the blue suit and mask is not whom everyone assumes he is. Where is the real Spirit? Where is the Octopus? Is Kid Kraken wearing a mask or what? How is Schnoose going to fare twenty years in his future and should anyone care about him?
Fred Van Lente, writer of such notable projects as Marvel Zombies, Ivar, Timewalker, Action Philosophers and his new novel Ten Dead Comedians has a strong grasp of what makes both the Spirit as well as Green Hornet and Kato successful characters. This is a pretty neat trick since so far in The Green Hornet ’66 Meets the Spirit we haven’t really met the true Denny Colt Spirit yet. Kato and the Green Hornet are portrayed exactly as they should be. Hypnos Schnoose could have been created by Eisner himself, between his name and unrelenting single minded focus on a purely selfish endeavor. Gerhard Shnobble, he ain’t.
The various ’66 series, whether they include caricatures of Adam West’s Batman or Van Williams’s Green Hornet have strived for a Mike Allred, cartoonish yet ironic feeling. The artist and writer for The Green Hornet ’66 Meets the Spirit, Bob Q (Kings Quest) hits the sweet spot for this kind of illustration perfectly. My favorite art moment so far was in the first issue, where a model for the new Colt Towers are being displayed. The towers, in true Will Eisner homage fashion, spell out the word “Spirit”.
The lettering for The Green Hornet ’66 Meets the Spirit is done by Travis Lanham who has lettered Wonder Woman, Checkmate, Secret Six, Titans and about a hundred other titles. His calligraphy is solid and drives the story forward.
Why you should buy this book? You do not have to be a fan of either the Spirit or Green Hornet and Kato to enjoy The Green Hornet ’66 Meets the Spirit series. It is a fun, exciting superhero comic. Strong story and artwork elevate what could be seen as a gimmick concept into a compelling and absorbing comic with terrific characters.
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