Green Hornet, Year One #1: The Sting of Justice
by Matt Wagner, Aaron Campbell (Dynamite, 2010)

Kevin Smith and Seth Rogen have both given us new interpretations of a modern Green Hornet and Kato.

Now, Matt Wagner gives us a fresh look at the original heroes.

The Sting of Justice, the first volume of Wagner's Green Hornet, Year One series for Dynamite, paints the iconic character in a whole new light.

Born of 1930s-era radio, the Green Hornet predates the more familiar costumed heroes from Marvel and DC Comics. Like the Shadow before him, Green Hornet is a fairly ordinary man who dons a costume to fight crime and, like the Batman after him, he works with a sidekick who becomes an indispensable part of his work.

But the radio, television, movie and comic-book variations on the Green Hornet theme have never given him a concrete origin story; Wagner corrects that oversight here in a flashbacks-within-flashbacks yarn that introduces us to a young Britt Reid, a young Hayashi Kato and the globe-spanning events that drew them together. Wagner also presents the duo's first overtures against the Chicago mob, which would be the Green Hornet's primary target throughout the span of his career.

While I might wish Aaron Campbell's solid art was delivered with a broader palatte, some will like the washed-out, noirish feel the book conveys. Otherwise, The Sting of Justice is a fine entry into the brave new world of Green Hornet, who is finally getting his due recognition from the modern comics-reading and movie-watching world. Wagner, a talented creator, has a good handle on the character, and I hope he lingers on this title a while longer.

review by
Tom Knapp

19 March 2011

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