Comic Publishers

March 26, 2010

Dynamite Entertainment Reviews: Green Hornet: Year One #1

Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Matt Wagner
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Cover: John Cassaday

Minor spoilers ahead!

“Year One”: Where Kevin Smith’s take on the Green Hornet series brings us into the 21st century, Matt Wagner takes us back to the beginning, and even a little further back than that.  We are given a look into the lives of two young men and the decisions that will guide them to eventually become the Green Hornet and Kato, and it starts here.

The story begins with a very young Britt in 1921 Chicago with his journalist father, and on the other side of the world in Osaka, Japan a young Kato learning the way of Bushido from his father.  Throughout the story, we are dropped in at various points in their lives as they grow, and at one point the two are in their early stages of being the crime fighting duo of Green Hornet and Kato.  At each stage of their past that is shown, both men are beginning to step out of their father’s shadow and forge their own path in life; which to their fathers’ dismay isn’t the path they would have chosen for their sons.  They do however respect these individual choices of their boys, as one doesn’t want to go into the family business, but would rather see the world and grow in those experiences; and the other is joining the military to express his duty and honor as he has been taught.

I liked this slower paced tale with its noir appeal that Wagner established in this issue.  He chose to tell the stories of Britt Reid and Hayashi Kato, and used their alter egos as more of the backdrop in this issue, giving anyone who isn’t too familiar with the origin of the characters a very comfortable and easy read.  Even with all of the time hopping and flashbacks, Wagner does well at keeping the story from being cluttered and maintains a clear focus.

Campbell’s artwork compliments Wagner’s story very well and fits this time period perfectly.  From the crowded streets of Osaka, Japan, to the urban and industrialized Chicago, the book just looks good.  I could be picky about the lack of backgrounds in some scenes during  Green Hornet and Kato’s bust of some thugs going after some Union guys, but it didn’t take away from the action in the panels.  Nor does it take away from the overall story, as I think he takes away the background to force the eye to focus on what he wants.

What I’m actually more concerned about is continuity with this series, since Wagner has chosen to actually date certain events as well as Kato’s ethnicity.  From the events in this issue I’m going to assume he is Japanese, even though in Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #1 he speaks Mandarin at one point to Britt. Yes he could be bilingual, but I would finally like to have some type of consistency when it comes to his ethnicity.  This is something that has changed quite a few times over the years since the character’s debut, and I would just like to finally get something that is going to stick.

This is one of the Green Hornet releases that I was actually pumped about, and so far it’s my favorite, though I am partial to origin tales when done right.  Wagner provides a great balance of dialog and action that makes for a very satisfying read with this tale of Green Hornet and Kato’s beginnings, so if this level of quality continues, prepare to feel the sting of the Green Hornet!

Infinite Speech



  1. Billy

    Now I’m really kicking myself for not ordering this. Nice work man!

  2. get it if you can man it’s definitely a good read

  3. I dunno man, I tried getting into this but it’s not my thing.

  4. […] full face-mask Green Hornet here, for that unique yet strange look (fans of Dynamite’s The Green Hornet: Year One know how the original mask is different and […]

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