Dark Horse Presents 80 (December 1993)

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Are there Art Adams fans out there? He’s not bad, but his faces are awful. I’ve never seen someone vary his perspective of a face so much—it’s like he does these three dimensional faces, except the nose. The nose is 2D. I guess he drew the monsters well. Monkeyman & O’Brien is not terrible. It’s just mediocre.

Then it turns out I read the last Hermes installment wrong—I didn’t notice Campbell had a visual framing for flashbacks—so we do get to see the supervillains in their costumes. It also turns out they’re responsible for the fight between Hermes and the Eyeball Kid. Campbell puts in a “Simpsons” reference, which is odd, but it works. Very nice installment.

Shadow Empires continues to be poorly written and enthusiastically, if amateurishly, drawn. Moeller signs the last page and it’s a little sad. It’s a full page panel and the art’s awful.

CREDITS

Monkeyman & O’Brien, Tortorus; story and art by Art Adams. Hermes versus the Eyeball Kid, Part Five; story by Eddie Campbell and Wes Kublick; art by Campbell, Peter Mullins and April Post; lettering by Campbell. Shadow Empires, The Passage, Part Two; story and art by Chris Moeller; lettering by Vickie Williams. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 79 (November 1993)

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Ever have a friend who could draw really well? Moeller’s art on Shadow Empires is like a friend who can draw well. He takes time with it, he works at it… but it’s still totally not ready for the big leagues. It’s somehow even rougher than some of the worse art Presents has published. The writing’s pretty lame too (it’s like Dune again).

Campbell and company turn in another fine episode of Hermes here. While the Eyeball Kid is in hiding, Campbell concentrates on the supporting cast. It’s awesome how little the fight has to do with what Campbell does with the story installments. This issue a trio decides to become supervillains in a rather hilarious conversation (I only hope Campbell shows them in the costumes they discuss).

Davis’s writing hits a new low on Paleolove. Every time I think I’m through reading him, Presents publishes yet another dumb story.

CREDITS

Shadow Empires, The Passage, Part One; story and art by Chris Moeller; lettering by Vickie Williams. Hermes versus the Eyeball Kid, Part Four; story by Eddie Campbell and Wes Kublick; art by Campbell, Peter Mullins and April Post; lettering by Campbell. Paleolove, Part Three; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Green Hornet Annual 1 (September 2010)

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What a pointless fill-in issue. Maybe the regular series was shipping late?

Hester doesn’t do a terrible job–he certainly is able to pace the annual better than the regular series–but it just fills in a question or two no one asked about the original series.

What happened to Britt’s girlfriend and what happened to his kickboxing. I’m not sure either question needed to be answered.

The annual does expand on the mythos a little, establishing the Green Hornet as being more interested in rehabilitation than punishment. He lets this teenage lookout go (as a bemused Kato watches) and the kid grows up to be his son’s kickboxing coach. Oh, what a small world.

Unfortunately, Hester’s writing of the Britt character doesn’t match Smith’s in terms of dialogue. Hester’s Britt is a lot more eloquent and self-aware.

It’s disposable and pointless, but not bad. Art’s nice too.

CREDITS

The Straight and Narrow/i>; writer, Phil Hester; pencillers, Carlos Rafael and Michael Netzer; inkers, Rafael and Josef Rubinstein; colorist, Carlos Lopez; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Green Hornet 10 (December 2010)

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Smith finally figures out how to pace a comic book. It’s a shame he does it for his last issue.

There’s a lot more Smith-type humor in this issue, which both works and doesn’t. As for his revelation Mulan is a lesbian….

It opens up certain possibilities but closes off a bunch of other ones. He also does it at the very end of the issue so he can turn it into a joke instead of having to deal with it. Given he just got done having the original Kato (oh, yeah, he survived… no explanation) avenge the original Hornet, one would assume Smith would want to establish a strong relationship between the characters.

But no, he just turns it into a joke.

What’s worse, he finally got chemistry between the characters (he was being too clean before).

It’s a harmless series. It might even develop into something good.

CREDITS

It’s in the Blood; writer, Kevin Smith; artists, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau; colorist, Ivan Nunes; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Green Hornet 9 (November 2010)

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Ugh. What’s worse than Smith doing three action scenes and calling it an issue? Doing one and, essentially, a chase sequence and calling it an issue.

Sure, there’s some of his banter between Britt and Mulan, but it’s barely banter.

What’s far more interesting about this issue is the supervillains. The young Japanese guy has turned into an outrageous villain, something Smith avoided prepping. Either he skipped it due to space concerns or because, while it works, it’s exceptionally anti-Japanese. Smith’s villain is a too smart man-child out to destroy the U.S. because of WWII. Except he can’t even concentrate long enough for that plan–too many video games, presumably–because he’s so moronic he needs to risk his business profits killing the Green Hornet… and orphans.

Smith actually gives Mulan some character here, but it’s too little, too late.

I think the issue reads in three minutes.

CREDITS

Orphans; writer, Kevin Smith; artists, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau; colorist, Ivan Nunes; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Green Hornet 8 (October 2010)

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Smith requires the reader to forget everything he or she has learned about Kato in the previous seven issues and assume he’s an idiot. He’s an idiot and he gets killed because he acts like an idiot, not a genius strategist.

The entire issue is something of a wash. For example, the corrupt mayor who gets Britt Sr. killed gets killed immediately after being revealed, saving any morally dubious outcome. Then there’s the way Smith paces the action scenes. The first one resolves the last issue’s cliffhanger and rolls into the second action scene, which rolls into the cliffhanger.

Since it’s based on a screenplay, it’s Smith revving up for the third act. He’s been having these adaptation problems since the first issue, so it’s not really a surprise.

It’s sort of unfortunate though. Smith’s dialogue and the general likability of Britt (young Tony Stark grows up) have garnered sympathy.

CREDITS

The Sting; writer, Kevin Smith; artists, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau; colorist, Ivan Nunes; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Green Hornet 7 (September 2010)

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Smith does a little bit more with this issue. He at least brings in the bigger storyline with the bickering father and son Japanese supervillains. Smith’s very obviously influenced by the Burton Batman movies here in terms of plot. Regardless of what problems the two have, Smith’s cast his Britt Reid into Burton’s Bruce Wayne’s movie adventures. This issue’s party mimics Batman Returns‘s to a certain degree and the whole thing just feels like Batman with a different costume.

Again, a lack of character development for Mulan this issue. It’s seemingly inevitable she and Britt will get romantically involved, but perhaps Smith isn’t going for the eventuality… as he’s not doing any prep work for it.

The arc (it’s ongoing, right?) should be wrapping up, but Smith hasn’t done much with the story in terms of epical drama. Britt’s change is too forced (and abbreviated).

Still, it’s a readable curiosity.

CREDITS

The Son Also Rises; writer, Kevin Smith; artists, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau; colorist, Ivan Nunes; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Green Hornet 6 (July 2010)

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Smith’s doing the movie montage in full effect this issue. He’s even got a wacky sidekick for the Green Hornet–a white guy who acts Chinese. I think it’s supposed to be hilarious.

Smith frames the issue around Britt’s training, his first crime fighting efforts and his costume.

There’s some bickering with Mulan too (it’s not really right to call her Kato since the comic’s full of Katos–how Smith is avoiding a Kaelin is beyond me).

The issue lacks narrative drive. Smith doesn’t bring the Japanese supervillains back into this issue, so it’s just the Green Hornet and Kato taking out random criminals. I know Smith’s goal is to show the reader how much Britt is changing… but he’s doing movie montage. This issue should have taken up five or six pages, not an twenty-some.

It’s not like the characters have any charm, so why read about them?

CREDITS

Wearing o’ the Green; writer, Kevin Smith; artists, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau; colorist, Ivan Nunes; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.