Saturday, May 28, 2016

Reader's Diary #1318- Mark Waid (Writer), Daniel Indro and Ronilson Freire (Artists): Green Hornet Volume One Bully Pulpit

Wanting to start exploring some non Marvel or DC superheroes, I turned to the Green Hornet, a character I knew next to nothing about except that Seth Rogen did a movie about him a few years back.

Interestingly, in Mark Waid's intro he insists that the Green Hornet is not a superhero stating that there's always been "a huge gulf between the Hornet and characters like Batman or Spider-Man." Spider-Man I'll give him, but I'm not so sure about Batman. A little less flamboyant perhaps, but I still thought Mark Waid's version of the Green Hornet had much in common with the caped crusader. What both lack in superpowers, they make up for in gadgetry and souped-up cars. They both have a sidekick (complete with subtle homoerotic undertones). They both wear a mask to conceal their identities. They both kick ass. If Batman is a superhero, then so is the Green Hornet.

That aside, it's awakened a new interest: pulp fiction heroes. Getting his start in radio dramas, I'm looking back to that time for other inspiration. Dick Tracy's next on my list, but I'm looking to read some Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, then possibly Zorro and the Lone Ranger as well. All of these characters were always sort of there in the background, but I've never paid them much attention.

But that's neither here or there where Green Hornet Volume One: Bully Pulpit is concerned. It's an entertaining story for sure, giving Green Hornet newcomers like me enough background to follow along. It's the 1940s and Britt Reid, aka the Green Hornet, has inherited his father's successful newspaper, the Sentinel. By night, however, he has earned the reputation of a crime lord, infiltrating the city's organized crime circuit in order to take them down. It's a compelling approach as occasionally he has to do things, even criminal things, in order to keep his credibility. In such cases, his sidekick Kato acts as his more assertive Jiminy Cricket, questioning and calling him on bad decisions. To be sure, the Green Hornet makes many bad decisions but the worst are made when he becomes overly confident, jumping to the wrong conclusions with disastrous consequences.

I was surprised to read such a psychological story, expecting pulp fiction to be all plot-driven, not character driven. Waid has struck a nice balance: enough dust-ups and drama to keep the energy up, but with characters who are just compelling enough to keep me intrigued.

The art is fine, if very typical of superhero comics. I especially enjoyed the brownish green, almost sepia tones, befitting of a 1940s Chicago story.

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