Green Hornet Year One Special

by JohnP on January 19, 2013


The tag "Year One" has come to denote a certain type if story. Ever since Frank Miller used it in his retelling of Batman's beginnings as a crimefighter, it has been appropriated for various different heroes in order to reimagine their births with generally grittier and more modern tales. Moreso than just denoting origin tales, though, "Year One" has also come to carry certain expectations of high quality storytelling. Kate Crosby's Year One Special proves itself worthy of the title in that respect.

Matt Wagner's Green Hornet Year One was a truly great GH series. It stayed true to the character while not being stale. When this special issue was solicited, expectations were of course very high, but it turns out this story is really only tangentially related to that series. The "Year One" here serves more as a way of grouping it with that series since they are both set in the same time period of the original Britt Reid Hornet, but that is where the association ends. Still, this issue is a surprisingly fantastic standalone tale. It is told through the eyes of a "newsie" - specifically a pret-teen girl named Ruby. Thematically, this issue is very similar to the fantastically well-received Batman #12, which told of the Dark Knight crossing paths with Harper Row. Ruby and Harper have a lot in common, they both are poor, living troubled lives in the bad part of a big city, and they both have their lives changed in similar ways by their local vigilante. The story here, though, is presented in a unique fashion. Ruby spends much of her time fantasizing that she plays a part in the tales of the Green Hornet contained in the paper she sells. This fantasy is brought to life brilliantly in Golden Age style panels by Evan Shaner. Evan really steals the show from illustrator Edu Manna's "normal" pages. The look and feel of these panels is truly spot on.

While this issue may be pretty light on actual Hornet action, it really is a very well written and interestingly executed one shot. It is streets ahead of the current Green Hornet ongoing and really whets the appetite for more 40's era Hornet action coming in March from Mark Waid. Best of all, since the main character is brand new, this issue is perfect for fans both new and old, so if you've never read any Hornet comics, feel free to dip your toes in here.

Our Score:


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stephengervais's picture

I really enjoyed this issue. Like I told you on Twitter this is the first Green Hornet comic I've ever read and it's got me all excited for Waid's upcoming run. I think 2013 will be the year of pulp for me. I've really been enjoying the gendre so far this year.

I hope 2013 is the year of pulp for everyone.