Green Hornet #1
Amy Chu (Writer), German Erramouspe (Artist), Brittany Pezzillo (Colours), Tom Napolitano (Letters)
The Green Hornet has gone missing. The public may know and fear him as a master criminal but, within the offices of Daily Sentinel Publishing, one man remembers him as so much more.
Kato Hayashi knows that the Hornet is not a criminal, but a hero. Hayashi was there when the Green Hornet’s journey began and the hero’s disappearance has left him desperately concerned. After all, the missing hero is the son of Hayashi’s late best friend, the first owner of the jade mantle, Britt Reid.
Green Hornet and Britt Reid Jr.’s simultaneous disappearance has people wondering whether there is a connection between the two. But Reid Jr.’s absence has also affected Daily Sentinel Publishing; the sharks are circling and attempts are being made to take over the company. To make matters worse, copycat Green Hornets have sprung up all over Century City, driving up crime rates. Hayashi and his daughter, Mulan, need to do something drastic if they are to find Reid Jr. and save Century City from itself.
The relaunch of Green Hornet is off to a great start! The first issue serves as a great introduction to the characters, even for readers with no knowledge of previous Green Hornet properties (radio show, films, and TV series) or the subsequent DC comics run. Plus, having a writer of colour completely changes the story on the page. With Amy Chu as lead writer, this new series eschews the stereotypes present in the original story, with Kato being relegated to Britt Reid’s driver and muscle. Though both Kato and Mulan have martial arts skills, they are given more to do than just be backup for a white hero. Instead, they own this story.
Chu puts Kato and his daughter front and centre in this issue. Kato is the acting director of Daily Sentinel Publishing, a position that leaves him with several responsibilities. Chu also paves the way for Mulan to take over the role of Green Hornet following Reid Jr.’s disappearance. An established white male comic book hero being revamped as a woman of colour is the kind of progressive and refreshing comic story line we are all looking for in 2018.
Unfortunately, this brings me to what I did not like about this issue – the art. German Erramouspe’s art has a fair amount of detail, except when it comes to characters’ faces. The older characters, including Kato, look less wrinkled and more deformed. There are no expressive faces, barring one panel with a close-up of Mulan’s face, but that too, is only marginally so.
Erramouspe also commits the other cardinal sin of drawing Mulan in back-breaking poses when she is fighting. These do not look realistic or plausible and take the reader completely out of the comic. Kato is, of course, not drawn exhibiting such improbable postures. One would think in 2018, artists would have realised how frustrating it is for women comic book readers to see female characters drawn in this way.
The colours are strong but almost the entire issue takes place at night or in the shadows. The palette is extremely limited – browns, dark blues, greys, with a pop of green here and there. It isn’t very appealing to turn page after page and be confronted with darkness.
The poor art and colours are particularly egregious because the variant covers are so vibrant. The covers by Mike Choi, Carli Ihde, Mike McKone and CP Wilson III employ various verdant hues to give the new Green Hornet texture and substance, showing her off as the hero she is soon going to become. It really is a shame that the inside pages do not reflect this.
As excited as readers will be to see the return of the Green Hornet in this new guise, the art massively lets down a story that is written well. This key component must be rectified but it is unlikely to happen soon. The story, at least, is promising and has set up a progressive universe that will draw in more diverse readers. Hopefully, following issues will continue to eschew the series’ long-established stereotypes and create a more inclusive environment for readers.