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Green Hornet: Year One Volume 1 Paperback – November 18, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Green Hornet (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment; First Edition edition (November 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606901494
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606901496
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Edwards on January 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Using the era of the Green Hornet's debut as a backdrop, and throwing in a few visual elements from the '40's serials & '60's show, Wagner & his creative team spin an origin story that honors the 75 year old crimefighter. Though the violence & language is heavy at times, it fits the gangster/war era setting of the story; a graphic pulp novel in the truest sense. I'm looking forward to reading & enjoying further volumes of Green Hornet: Year One.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Babytoxie on February 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Matt Wagner proved that he had an affinity for pulp fiction back in the `90s with the Vertigo series Sandman Mystery Theater, and more recently, Wagner has applied those same writing skills to another classic hero from the same genre - the Green Hornet. While not as dark as the previous title, THE GREEN HORNET: YEAR ONE Volume 1 recaptures the vibe of SMT, and it's a refreshing return to form, both for Wagner, and the characters themselves. This softcover collects issues 1 - 6 of the Dynamite Entertainment series, and as I haven't enjoyed the other Green Hornet books released by this publisher, that does have some influence on my bumping the rating up to 5 stars; however, Wagner gets these characters, so it is a darn good story in its own right.

One of my biggest complaints with comics these days is that there's rarely enough story for the price, resulting in my breezing through 22 pages in just a few minutes. With GREEN HORNET: YEAR ONE, Wagner bucks this trend, building a complex, layered story that benefits from a slow read. I was pulled into the lives of Britt Reid and Kato like I have been with few other comic characters. Wagner really fleshes out these two and incorporates some grim elements into their origins (especially with Kato), giving the characters some substance. While the title may make it sound like the whole of the story is set during the first year of this duo's war on crime, it is actually intercut with flashbacks to their separate formative years, and these parts stand out for their frankness and effectiveness. We learn where these two came from, their experience with humanity's darker side, and how that experience shaped their views of the world.
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Format: Paperback
Ignore Seth Rogen's Green Hornet film - it was garbage. Ignore Kevin Smith's updated reimagining of Green Hornet which was average at best. Matt Wagner takes Green Hornet back to his classic pulp era roots in Green Hornet: Year One - and it's pretty good.

Set in the 1930s when Green Hornet/Britt Reid and his deadly samurai chauffeur Kato are kicking gangster butt in Century City, Wagner jumps back and forth between Britt and Kato's youths and the present (1930s) to tell their stories of how they wound up together and why they decided to become masked vigilantes.

And Wagner does it well. Perhaps the biggest problem of Rogen and Smith's Green Hornet stories was failing to put across that Green Hornet and Kato intentionally portrayed themselves as villains in an effort to control crime in their city, thus discouraging their competitors ie. other criminals, from plying their wares in their city. They want people to think they're the bad guys, not superheroes. It's a vital part of the Green Hornet story yet often gets overlooked, but Wagner gets it right, explaining how they arrive at that conclusion rather than become outright good guy vigilantes.

I won't go into the hows and whys of the story as that's basically the whole point of reading the origin story of any character, but it all makes sense and slots together nicely. The flashbacks between the past and the present work really well together as the flashbacks eventually catch up to the present by the end of the book so you finish it all caught up on Green Hornet and Kato and ready to start reading Green Hornet comics. The one detail of Green Hornet's myth that Wagner left out that I would've liked Wagner to have at least hinted at is that Green Hornet is the Lone Ranger's grandson.
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Format: Paperback
The old pulp heroes of the 1930s just never go away. The Green Hornet was originally a radio program at the time and never got a pulp named after him, but Britt Reid and Kato are two heroes that everyone who knows pop culture will remember. Many of them these days remember the old 1960s television show that starred Bruce Lee, never guessing that the heroes had their roots decades earlier.

The Green Hornet has been reinvented a few times for the present day, including a female Kato, which has provided an interesting spin on the dynamics of the crime fighting duo. All of those are fun to read in graphic novel form, but I have to say that Matt Wagner and Aaron Campbell's Green Hornet Year One series is absolutely the bomb.

Set in the 1930s, the graphic novel sets out to tell how Britt Reid and Kato grew up, how they eventually found each other, and how they were set onto the trail of "tracking the biggest game." Wagner does an excellent job of starting out showing snippets from Britt's and Kato's histories, then segueing into their "present day" pursuit of mob boss "Skid" Caruso.

The stories continue switching back and forth, from the past to the present. Wagner spent considerable effort figuring out his time line for our two heroes. Kato was present for the Japanese assault on Nanking, and Britt traveled the world's hot spots. Finally the two end up together in China and have to make their way back to the United States.

The symbology for the choice of the Green Hornet as Britt's signature guise was nicely done, and the section set in Africa where Britt uses them against would-be killers is well played.
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