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Review: Green Hornet - Reign of the Demon #1
By Philip Schweier
Dec 21, 2016 - 14:27

Dynamite Entertainment
Writer(s): David Liss
Penciller(s): Kewber Baal
Inker(s): Kewber Baal
Colourist(s): Adriano Augusto
Letterer(s): Tom Napolitano
Cover Artist(s): Ken Lashley, Pete Pantazis; Anthony Marques, J. Bone, Pete Pantazis

I’ve been a fan of the Green Hornet for many years, having enjoyed reruns of the TV show when I was a kid. Later, I discovered the serials and radio program. When Now Comics started publishing GH adventures in the late ‘80s, I was disappointed that they chose a more modern version of the character, instead of the classic gangster era. I think some publishers feel compelled to somehow update older properties, in the hope of generating greater appeal.

So I was concerned with the title “Reign of the Demon” that Dynamite’s latest Green Hornet series might have supernatural overtones. I’m usually not much a fan of genre mash-ups, and in the case of a pulp-related character such as the Green Hornet, even less so. As a crimefighter who masquerades as a criminal, I expect his escapades to have firmer grounding in the real world.

I was relieved to discover the Demon mentioned in the title is a new crime boss – brutal and unforgiving. Like the Hornet, he also hides his identity behind a mask. Like most masked villains, it suggests the Demon may be a high-profile citizen. The new chief of police perhaps. It seems too simple an answer, so I hope not.

I tried to imagine the artwork without color, so I may be completely off-base when I say that the rendering seems rather simple. It seems that it’s the colorist, Adriano Augusto, who provides much of the depth and texture to the art. This strategy doesn’t always work, but in this case, one compliments the other nicely, and the blend of art and color is extremely effective.

Or it may be another supporting player, which is an element of the franchise that I especially enjoy. The original radio show introduced a handful of supporting players who fulfilled a variety of roles on the show, without being carbon copies of one another. Dynamite seems intent on respecting that strategy, which suggests a strong commitment to the Green Hornet’s history.

If I had a nit to pick, it would be setting the stories in Chicago. I believe the Windy City’s gangster history is too well known, and would have preferred another setting; real or fictional would not matter to me. But if that’s a small price to pay for new adventures of the classic character.

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