The Green Hornet battles an international drug cartel while Kato ponders a life beyond masked vigilantism in this two-issue mini-series co-written by Van Williams, star of the 1960s Green Hornet TV series.
The Hornet made his radio debut in January, 1936, where he remained continuously until 1952 (with a brief hiatus from 1950-1951). Britt Reid, wealthy publisher of The Daily Sentinel, wages war on criminals and racketeers as the masked vigilante, the Green Hornet, with his valet Kato serving as his aide and scientific consultant. (It wasn’t until the 1960s TV series that Kato, played by Bruce Lee, was turned into a nigh-invincible martial artist and the Hornet’s chauffeur.) Somehow, the police thought the Green Hornet was a criminal, and Reid used that image to infiltrate rackets and smash them from within.
This mini-series is one of the better Green Hornet stories from NOW, at least from a writing perspective. Both Britt Reid and Hayashi Kato get a good balance of character development and screen time, and Reid as the Hornet in this storyis at his most badass. (Bonus points for explaining how Kato got into the movie business.) Dell Barras’s artwork is objectively good, although I don’t think the painted look was the right style for this particular story. It works in some moments, like Kato and Aiasha’s scenes together, but not during the martial arts fights. That’s just my personal take on the art, and some of you may feel differently.
“The Burma Horse” isn’t exactly essential reading, but it works as a Green Hornet story that gives Kato a chance to shine as a character, not just a fighter. It’s easily found for a couple of bucks, so if you’re into the Green Hornet – or want to be – there’s some good stuff here.