Dynamite gives Green Hornet a steampunk makeover (Legenderry Green Hornet #3)

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When someone asks "which comic company does the best licensed comics?" my typical answer has been IDW. IDW has a wide range of titles from Star Trek to G.I. Joe to My Little Pony, and they are adding Disney titles in the upcoming months. But in the last few weeks, I've had a chance to check out some of Dynamite's offerings, and I have to admit, IDW has some serious competition here.

What I like most about what I've seen from Dynamite is that they aren't afraid to think outside the box. They mix and match their licenses (and some public domain characters) in some unique ways. A few months from now, we'll be getting Sword of Sorrows, where Gail Simone will be heading up a team of female creators combining all kinds of female characters on an adventure. Forget Convergence or Secret War, that is my must read event of the summer.

And then you have Legenderry. Last year, Dynamite did a seven issue mini-series that took a variety of characters and reimagined them all sharing one steam-punk world. You had Red Sonja, Vampirella, Green Hornet, Six Million Dollar Man, The Phantom, Flash Gordon, and Zorro all working together to stop a legion of bad guys from taking over the world. It was a great mini-series, though I did think the end was a slight bit anticlimatic as everything seemed to be resolved in just a handful of pages. But there was still a lot more to the story, and Dynamite has launched spinoff series for Legenderry Vampirella, Red Sonja, and Green Hornet.

Legenderry Green Hornet #3

Written by: Daryl Gregory
Art by: Brent Peeples
Colored by: Michael Bartolo
Lettered by: Dave Lanphear

Published by: Dynamite
Cover Price: $3.99

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Green Hornet is definitely the character that fits best in Legenderry's steampunk setting. They basically were able to keep the character the same, and just gave him a few airships that he seems to keep crashing throughout Legenderry. I can't say I'm the world's biggest Green Hornet fan, but I've always liked the character when I've encountered him. I had a bunch of issues of the Now! series back in the 80's, and the show was campy fun the handful of times I saw it. I also thought Kevin Smith's Batman '66 Meets the Green Hornet last year was much better than I expected.  Green Hornet is just such a simple concept, rich man turned vigilante who pretends to be a criminal in order to fight against real criminals. And he has an Asian sidekick who kicks serious ass.

At the end of Legenderry Green Hornet issue 2, Hornet and Kato were trying to track down leads on the mysterious Veiled Lady who had been taking over their city's criminal networks. This led them into a trap from a mechanical man named Tik Tok (who is seriously hinted to be the Frank Baum character). This issue starts off feeling like the old Green Hornet show, with over the top narration and the heroes escaping a death trap that the villain just happened to leave them in and walked away to leave them to their fate. After they escape, Hornet and Kato end up encountering a new enemy called the Bronze Hornet who seems to think Green Hornet is just criminal trash. After realizing they are on the same side, they figure who the Veiled Lady is, and go to face her, which puts them up against a large alliance of the city's criminals.

What I really loved about this issue was how fun it was to read. The characters had terrific banter, and Green Hornet and Kato seemed to be having a great time in their adventures. I always love when the characters in a comic actually like being heroes and aren't glum and depressing to read.  I also though Bronze Hornet was a well realized adversary/ally for the Green Hornet. As far as I can tell, the character was created just for this story, but they quickly established the backstory so well, I really thought this was a character who had been an important part of Hornet's lore.

One character who's not likely be an ally anytime soon is Little Lord Homicide. The child of one of Hornet's enemies (The Murder King) who seems to be trying to replace his father who had been killed recently. I was reminded a little bit of the kids who had taken over the Hellfire Club in Wolverine and the X-Men, but I thought Little Lord Homicide was a much better character. Creepy, but still very childish in a lot of ways. Like everything else in this book, it just felt really well planned out and executed perfectly.

For the most part, the art is pretty solid throughout the issue. I did think there was some times in the issue that the art felt rushed and there wasn't a lot of detail, but these moments are few and far between, and never really took away from my enjoyment of the issue.

One thing I really want to see more of is the bizarre gangs that are taking over Green Hornet's city. My personal favorites are the guys dressed up as Mongul's led by a man named Bob. It was just so absurd that I had to laugh when I read it. Really, that is exactly what I liked about this series so far, its creative and ridiculous, bringing in some unexpected concepts (like characters from the Wizard of Oz), and fitting it all together in a unique and entertaining way.

Legenderry's follow up mini-series have all been terrific and definitely helped this concept reach the potential the original mini-series promised. I've enjoyed all three minis, but Green Hornet is probably my favorite of the three right now. I hope these books do well and Dynamite gives us more Legenderry!

Title: Legenderry Green Hornet #3
Written By: Daryl Gregory
Art By: Brent Peeples
Company: Dynamite
Price: $3.99
Pros:
  • Characters and setting were used brilliantly
  • Terrific banter, this was just a very fun comic to read
  • Added some great new characters to Green Hornet lore, I hope they end up appearing in the more mainstream Hornet stories too.
Cons:
  • Art felt rushed in a few places, but for the most part it was fine.
Is it worth your $3.99? Absolutely!  Even if you have never read any other Green Hornet or Legenderry comic, you will enjoy this mini series.  Gives me high hopes for more Legenderry to come.
Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0