Thursday, October 26, 2017

Longbox Junk - Dracula: Vlad The Impaler


Since it's the end of October, let's take a short break from Dynamite's Green Hornet for something a little more in tune with the Halloween season.  I'm talking Dracula here!

But probably NOT the Dracula you might be thinking of.  I'm talking about the insane badass that Dracula was as a mortal man AND top ten contender for most awesome name in history. . .Vlad The Impaler.

Now, I'll admit I'm no historian, but the little I know about the subject from the History Channel's Halloween programming tells me that the actual historic figure that Count Dracula is based on is just as terrifying (if not more so, for having actually existed) as his fictional counterpart.  This 3 issue mini tries to do two things. . .tell the terrible true story of Vlad Dracula and then meld him with the fictional Count Dracula.  Does it work? Read on!

Topps - 1993
SCRIPTS: Roy Thomas
PENCILS, INKS & COVERS: Esteban Maroto
COLORS: Paul Mounts


Vlad Dracula, young son of Vlad Dracul, ruler of Wallachia, is taken as a hostage along with his brother, Radu,  by Sultan Mehmed I to ensure their father's loyalty. During his captivity, he becomes friends with Mehmed II.

Later, as a young man, Vlad learns of his father's death at the hands of traitorous nobles and the Sultan makes him the ruler of Wallachia. He wages a cruel war to regain his lands and forces the surviving nobles to build his castle.

Overall, I found this issue to be a pretty good read. It's a bit wordy, and told mostly in caption boxes, as it is trying to tell an actual historical tale, but Roy Thomas keeps it from getting dry and scholarly. The art is very nice in the pencil and ink department. . .it's really good in some panels, with a detailed old school look to it.

The big problem with this book is the AWFUL coloring. While the art itself is very nice, the colors are heavy handed and entirely too bright. Each page of this dark tale is a veritable rainbow of yellows, purples, reds, and greens to the point of distraction. For an example of the interior art, just check out the cover above.  It's exactly the same.  Those colors. . .NO BUENO!


Vlad Dracula rules Wallachia with cruelty and torture. He fights to keep his throne against the invading forces of his former friend, Mehmed The Conqueror and his own brother, Radu The Handsome.

After his forces are beaten back and Dracula is forced to retreat, his wife commits suicide and he is betrayed and taken prisoner by his former ally, King Matthias of Hungary.  In captivity, he descends into madness and plots his revenge. . .

This was another pretty good read. We get to see Dracula in full legendary "Cruel Bastard" mode. . .nailing turbans to heads, rounding up beggars in a building and burning them alive, feasting among impaled corpses, and so on.

Unfortunately, there's also a lot of random battles that only get a panel or two. I guess there was a LOT of fighting over this little patch of Eastern Europe at the time. Luckily, Roy Thomas keeps a steady hand on the wheel and doesn't let it turn into a documentary.

Once again, the line art by Maroto is very nice, with some panels being outstanding. Unfortunately, the color art is just as bad as the first issue, and possibly worse. Bloody battles are colored in bright shades of blue, yellow and purple. It's really distracting.  Once again, a look at the cover above will tell you what I'm talking about.


Vlad is freed from captivity to fight the invading Turks for King Matthias of Hungary, but after once again regaining the throne of Wallachia, he is assassinated by a traitor in the ranks of his army.

150 years later, one of Vlad's ancestors reunites his severed head and body, then brings Vlad back to life using dark magic and blood. Vlad The Impaler has become the immortal Vampire, Count Dracula. . .

This final issue was probably the best of the three. Not only does it depart from the history books to tell the tale of how Vlad The Impaler rose from the dead as a vampire, but the coloring. . .while in places still just as God-awful as before. . .is much more muted and appropriate for the dark story at hand.

All in all, a very nice wrap up for the series.


Overall, I enjoyed this little mini.  Comic veteran Roy Thomas did a fine job at giving a pretty good sketch of the life of the historic figure of Vlad Dracul, while also getting monster-ific at the end of things with the transformation into fictional vampire Count Dracula.  

The line art and inking by old school comic veteran, Esteban Maroto, was solid through the series and outstanding at times, with a great bronze age throwback style that I really liked a lot.

If that all there was to it, this would be a GREAT mini-series.  

Unfortunately, the color art was heavy handed and inappropriately bright for the dark story at hand.  Finely-drawn panels are splashed liberally with bright purples, yellows, oranges, and reds to the point that it really detracts from the quality of the series.  The last issue toned things down to a more tolerable level, and it's plain to see that if the same restraint had been shown on the first two issues, this would have been a MUCH better product.

Despite the awful coloring of this series, I'd suggest picking it up for a pretty good read.  I found all three issues in a comic shop dollar box, so it's definitely Longbox Junk, but decent Longbox Junk.

Up Next. . .

Back to Dynamite's Green Hornet for some REAL horror as the series flies completely off the rails.

Be there or be square!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Longbox Junk - Green Hornet Part 3

PART 3: ISSUES 13 - 19

Ready for more of Dynamite's Green Hornet? 
I hope so, because we ain't even halfway done yet. . .Let's do this!


This issue takes a small dip in the writing department as it builds up toward the end of this first post-Smith act. 

It's still pretty good, though. There's just a few eye-rolling moments like Kato in Japan confronting the leader of the Juuma Family with an extremely far-fetched story about robotic wasps that turns out to fake, but they spend a lot of page space on it. 

And then back in Central City, when Green Hornet and Kato are separated during their assault on Los Hijos de la Muerte, Kato finds herself getting her ass handed to her by a skull-faced "Saint Death" even though in earlier issues, her Father proudly claimed she was a master over 40 fighting styles. 

The issue ends out with the Juuma Clan not believing Kato and sending for an assassin to take him out, Mulan getting shot and Green Hornet rushing her to the emergency room . .so much for her being a "Master of Martial Arts". 

Despite some clunky writing, the art here is really good, especially in the opening pages with a training session between Mulan and Green Hornet.

Overall, I felt this issue sagged a bit, which is odd when it's the buildup to the final issue in this second arc. Still, it wasn't BAD. . .it just wasn't great.


In this final issue of the second arc on this series, Mulan is badly wounded and in the hospital fighting for her life while Green Hornet decides to take on Los Hijos de la Muerte solo.

After beating his way through the gang, he confronts Padre Benedicto, and during a fight with "Santo Muerte" , he discovers that she is actually Benedicto's deformed, mentally-retarded daughter. 

Oooooookay, then. . .

I don't know how to put this without offending SOMEONE. . .but the girl looks like she's got Down Syndrome with an extra helping of deformity. How in the flying F@$& did she pass off as a skeletal figure that demanded obedience from a street gang, and how the hell did she manage to beat "Martial Arts Master" Kato in a stand-up fight when she's laying there drooling and giggling when Green Hornet pulls off her mask?


Never mind the rest of the issue. . .Kato and Clutch are returning to America, blah, blah. . .Juuma Clan hiring most deadly assassin, blah blah. . .Crooked Cop starts turning good from Green Hornet's example blah, blah. . .Never mind.

Phil Hester had a person with extreme Down Syndrome kicking the ass of a highly-trained martial artist and terrifying a street gang into suicidal obedience!



Okay. . .after the sketchy foolishness of last issue's second arc-ending crap taking us on a sudden swerve toward the cliff. . .this issue gets back onto the rails, thank God.

Let's start off by recognizing the awesome Alex Ross homage cover to Amazing Spider-Man #50. Very nicely done!

Mulan is still recovering from being shot during her battle with. . .let's not even talk about it. She's in the hospital, okay? 

Kato and Clutch have come back from Japan, believing that they have put the Juuma Clan in their place, not knowing that Madame Juuma didn't buy Kato's B.S. and that a deadly assassin has followed them.

Green Hornet decides that crime doesn't rest just because Mulan is laid up, so he and Clutch get back on the job, with Clutch in the Batcave. . .er. . .Hornet's Nest. . .on backup while Britt goes it solo against a sex trafficking ring.

During the operation, Britt thinks he accidentally kills someone, which leads to him abandoning the Green Hornet. . .for less than one issue. . .once he learns that the guy he thought he killed was faking it to find out the Hornet's identity (it was Redhand. . .the Juuma Clan's assassin), Britt is like "Whatever, give me back my hat, Clutch" and gets back to work. . .this time to try and find out who the creepy guy who can play dead and knows he's the Green Hornet is.

All in all, a pretty good issue, especially when compared with the last one. 
It's basically just some setup for the next arc, but it's nice setup.


On this first issue of the new "Red Hand" arc, we get another shakeup in the creative team. . .new artist, new writer (Hester stays on in the back seat for plotting).

The art is pretty good. It's a lot more "Comic Booky" than Lau's, but it's still very detailed and only gets a bit iffy on character faces. Still, it's like a night and day shift in look from previous issues.

As for the writing, I can't really see much of a difference. I guess we'll see what happens when Hester is completely gone from the book. As long as there's no Down Syndrome Kung-Fu masters, I'm good.

Speaking of Kung Fu masters. . .Redhand makes his first move on Kato by tricking a couple of bumbling wannabe costumed heroes from another city into coming to Central City and tracking down Green Hornet. After they weaken him up a bit, Redhand captures Hornet and then readies to move on to his next target, Mulan. . .

All in all, I liked this book. Normally a creative changeup is sort of bad news, but the new writer and artist are doing pretty good so far.


First off. . .God, I love this cover! It's probably one of the best so far and a great picture of the new Hornet/Kato team. VERY nice!

The art in the rest of the issue is still pretty good. It maintains a nice middle ground between realistic and comic booky. It doesn't try to be fancy, but at the same time it isn't generic either.

The story takes a bit of a dip in this issue, though. The plot focuses mainly on Redhand's capture of Mulan and putting her through a gauntlet of traps and thugs until she's so weak that he easily beats her down in a rooftop confrontation that Redhand films and sends to Kato Sr. as a taunting "Come and get me". So Kato gears up in his old outfit to go and get him.

The building full of traps and trials just seems sort of old, and the villain (Redhand) comes off as more of a story movement machine than an actual threat.

All in all, pretty average. . .not great, not bad. Except the cover. Now THAT'S great. It's going on my cover frame wall in my man-cave.


In this issue, we learn the origin of Redhand through flashbacks while he and Kato Sr. battle.

Turns out that after the original Green Hornet and Kato split up in the first issue of this series, Kato returned to Japan and recruited a promising martial arts student in order to try and recreate the Green Hornet/Kato team in Japan.

It didn't end well, as his recruit was a killer by nature and didn't want to do things the Kato way. Eventually, he left to train with more murder-minded teachers and became a soulless assassin for hire.

So the origin was sort of interesting, and the flashbacks to Kato in his prime were pretty good and well drawn, but I couldn't help but feel a sense of Obi-Wan and Anakin-style Deja Vu over the whole thing. Sort of like a Kung Fu version of Revenge of The Sith, with a little A New Hope "When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master." boasting thrown in.


Last issue's Star Wars deja vu becomes full-blown. . .let's be kind and call it homage. . .in this one as we get the full "You were the chosen one! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them. You were to bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!” Revenge of The Sith ending in this one.

The art also takes a bit of a dip in this issue. It's still pretty good, but just looks rushed. 

That and the way that Redhand is defeated is pretty ridiculous, with some extremely eye-rolling dialogue from Clutch Kato as he defeats the enemy. . .with SCIENCE!

All in all, I found this issue pretty average. Good in spots, bad in spots. I don't think it was as smooth a landing as the creators intended. 

On to the next arc with the next issue, but in the wise words of Han Solo. . ."I have a bad feeling about this."


This batch of issues were extremely hit and miss for me.  The first post-Kevin Smith movie script arc really left a sour taste with its bungled ending.  The third arc was pretty good, but extremely derivative of Star Wars (and any other "Student turns on his Master" story).  But the thing is that despite the rough patches, Green Hornet is still a decent book.  It keeps WANTING to swerve, but is still on the rails for now.

Up next. . .

There's plenty of Green Hornet left. 23 issues remaining in the run. 
With the next entry, we're going to examine the age-old limbo question. . .
"How low can you go?  How low can you go?"

Be there or be square!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Longbox Junk - Green Hornet Part 2

Part 2: Issues 7 -12

Here we go. . .six more issues of Dynamite's Green Hornet.  Let's do this!


Except for a couple of short scenes, this issue doesn't focus on Green Hornet so much as on Britt Reid Jr. as he takes over his father's newspaper and attends a black-tie event where he meets Hirohito Juuma (The Black Hornet) face to face for the first time in a tense, non-costumed confrontation where the battle is fought with veiled words instead of fists. 

The Juumo clan's true motives are also revealed in the unveiling of a secret atomic-powered stealth fighter (that the Juuma clan has the contract to make the guidance system for) that they plan on stealing to sell to the highest bidder.

The art remains predictably fantastic, even in an issue with a lot of talking heads and people sort of standing around at a party. Storywise, I liked the shift away from Green Hornet to Britt Reid Jr. and his public identity. 

Like I said last issue. . .I know there's going to be some drama hitting the fan soon, but a few issues worth of breathing room for the characters to grow a bit is a great choice by the writer.


Things start rushing toward the finale of the first art (and Smith's movie script) with this issue. All the buildup of the past 7 issues begins to pay off here. . .

Black Hornet attacks the event Britt Reid is attending, leading to the first costumed showdown between Black and Green Hornet and revealing the identity of Black Hornet as Hirohito Juuma. After Black Hornet escapes, he attacks the Hornet's Nest, shooting Kato and capturing Mulan and Green Hornet.

And here's where it goes off the rails a bit. . .the captured heroes are tied to a giant typewriter on top of the Reid newspaper building. After the Black Hornet monologues a bit, revealing his plans to destroy Central City with an atomic bomb, he kills Mayor Scanlon and leaves our heroes to their fate. . .Batman '66 cliffhanger style.

Yeah. . .giant typewriter deathtrap.

That to the side for now, the art in this issue was some of the best yet. It really looked like storyboards for a movie. . .especially the scenes of Mulan fighting ninjas while Green Hornet fought Black Hornet. This is the most badass she's looked yet! 

And really, except for the campy Batman deathtrap, the story was pretty good, with a lot of great moments and touches of humor. Still. . .Giant Typewriter? No bueno.


Okay. . .this was probably the worst issue of the bunch so far, but it's a testament to the creative team that even the worst yet is still pretty damn good.

After Green Hornet and Mulan escape the. . .er. . .giant typewriter deathtrap, most of the issue is a fast-paced, high octane chase through the streets of Century City with Hirohita Juuma losing control of his obsession with the Green Hornet and in pursuit of the Black Beauty at the virtual controls of a stolen steath fighter while his father yells at him to just nuke the city already.

I can kind of tell that if this HAD been made into a movie, this would be a special effects fiesta. . .and probably the worst part of the movie as well. It's the big, bombastic final act that this street-level hero doesn't really need. The art is wonderful, the writing is good, but the whole scene/issue just feels overdone and out of place.


It's the final confrontation between Green and Black Hornet. . .the final issue of the first arc. . .and Kevin Smith's final issue.

It starts off a with a bit of a groan-worthy moment as it's revealed the Black Beauty has a break-away mini-jet inside it and the jet/car chase becomes an air battle in and out of the skyscrapers of Century City before ending in two crashed planes on Juuma Tower and a Kung-Fu showdown on the roof.

At the end of it all, the Juuma Clan's plans are foiled, Black Hornet falls to his death, and there is a nice quiet finishing scene of Kato and Britt Jr. visiting the grave of Britt Sr. before ending on the New Green Hornet and Kato on the job. Roll Credits.

All in all, except for the overly-bombastic and unnecessary jet combat scenes, this was a fine finish to what would have been a pretty damn good movie.

And if they would have ended the series here, it would have been just as well. . .but there's 32 more issues to go.


In the first post-Kevin Smith arc, things switch up a bit with Phil Hester taking over scripts and Lau on art duties without Hester on breakdowns. . .and you can definitely tell the difference on the art.

Lau's style is still a great fit for this series, but without Hester's contribution, there's. . .something. . .missing. A level of fine detail that really put the art on previous issues completely over the top. It's still great, don't get me wrong. . .just not AS great (and a hell of a lot better than what's to come down the road).

The story revolves around two main events: Green Hornet and Kato discovering a gang that seemingly doesn't fear death and behave in an almost cult-like manner. After they try to assassinate Green Hornet, the team turns the tables and tries to pull a trap of their own that backfires for a cliffhanger at the end with a member throwing himself off a bridge holding Green Hornet.

In the second story thread, Kato Sr. and Clutch decide to head back to Japan in order to defeat the remains of the Juuma Clan before they come looking for revenge over the death of Hirohito Juuma (Black Hornet).

All in all, the writing remains good and there's not much of a difference in transition (so far) between Smith and Hester. The art remains strong, but not AS strong. So far the title is remaining firmly on the rails.


Both the art and story remain strong in this issue, even improving a bit as the second arc gathers a bit of steam.

During their failed ambush of the Los Hijos de la Muerte, Green Hornet is captured by a crooked cop and unmasked as Britt Reid Jr. Lt. Chritton makes Britt an offer he can't refuse. . .he keeps his identity secret and helps keep the cops off the Hornet and in exchange, the Hornet gives him information, good busts, and dirty crime scene loot. Green Hornet and Mulan reluctantly agree to work with him for now. . .

In the second story thread, Kato and Clutch arrive in Japan only to be immediately attacked by the Juuma Clan. After defeating them easily, Kato lets them know he wants a meeting with their leaders.

Elsewhere, Padre Benedicto (leader of Los Hijos de la Muerte) shows a disbelieving gang member that Santo Muerte is real by having her kill him in front of the gang.

Overall, I like the continued quality of this issue and the direction things are heading. The story building up is not quite as cinematic as Smith's, but it's still pretty damn good. . .especially the new complication of the Green Hornet basically being blackmailed into working for a crooked cop.


Except for a few stumbles (Giant Typewriter? Eject-A-Jet?) the first 10 issues of Dynamite's Green Hornet are pretty much the Green Hornet movie I would MUCH rather see than Seth Rogan's half-baked attempt. . .which, to be fair, had its good moments, but really didn't respect the legacy of the character.  The second arc is just beginning, but so far so good post Kevin Smith.

Regardless of what happens in issues to come, I would highly suggest the first 10 issues of Green Hornet as some damn fine comic books.  It's a crying shame that Smith's Green Hornet movie never got made.

Up next. . .

More Dynamite Green Hornet.
30 issues to go. . .we're just getting started here, folks.

Be there or be square!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Longbox Junk - Green Hornet Part 1

PART 1: ISSUES 1 - 6

This series is going to be a little strange to review, because I know what happens, and what happens isn't good.  Dynamite's Green Hornet begins as an adaptation of a Kevin Smith script for a big screen Green Hornet movie that never happened.  And I can tell you that THIS Green Hornet movie would have blown the half-baked Seth Rogan effort that we got out of the water in every good way.

BUT. . .

Once Smith and his script are gone, this series goes off the rails in a big way.  The end of this run is a complete train wreck.  I know that despite my joy in re-reading the brilliant start of this series, I am going to be in a seriously depressing place eventually as the writing and art break completely down.

So let's get this party started and enjoy ourselves for a while before the beer runs out and someone puts Coldplay in the CD player because his girl really loves that one song they do. . .


This is about as close to a perfect first issue for a series that I can think of.

It pays respect to the original Green Hornet by starting off with the Hornet and Kato's last mission, taking down the final two crime families of Century City, and then Britt Reid promising his wife to hang up his secret identity for good and saying farewell to Kato. Then it brings us into the "present" day, 20 years later, introducing us to Britt Reid Jr. . .the spoiled son of the retired superhero, drifting through life on his father's money with no direction or responsibility.

Even if you know nothing about Green Hornet and Kato, I think this issue does a spectacular job of introducing the team, moving the story forward to present times, and establishing the status quo.

The art by Lau and Hester is totally fantastic. Every panel pops with life. On page 4 there is a shot of Green Hornet lurking on an overhead beam, ready to make his move, that I would LOVE to see as a poster on my wall. Some of the body proportions are exaggerated in a strange way during some fight scenes, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this is one GREAT looking book.

All in all, I found this issue to be fantastic in every way, from the dialogue to the general story, to the art. Dynamite hit it out of the park with Green Hornet #1!


The quality established in the first issue continues in this one as we dive into the political scene of Century City and meet Mayor Scanlon, who was the D.A. during the time of the original Green Hornet, and got most of the credit for cleaning up the organized crime in the city. . .and has been riding on that reputation for the past 20 years. It's also revealed that he knows (and has known) that Britt Reid was the Hornet.

After that, Britt Sr. and Jr. share a tense lunch together where the conflict between the hard-hitting newspaper man and his drifting trust fund son is on full display. The book closes out on a fundraiser for Mayor Scanlon at the Reid estate that is crashed by. . .ninjas? And Mulan Kato makes her first appearance as she has also infiltrated the party to protect Britt Sr.

All in all, there's a LOT going on in this issue, and it's pretty wordy until the attack on the fundraiser at the end, but the dialogue is extremely readable, and the art continues to amaze me with just how great even talking head panels look.

So far, this series is above and beyond my expectations. Well done, Dynamite!


Shit hits the fan in this issue as the original Green Hornet is gunned down and killed by The Black Hornet during the assault on Reid Manor during a fundraiser for Mayor Scanlon!

Enraged by his father's death, Britt Jr. decides to take things into his own hands and start searching for The Green Hornet, who he mistakes the Black Hornet for. This leads to him meeting the original Kato during a fight in a dive bar, who takes him back to the Reid estate and shows him the secret basement holding their old gear and costumes.

I have to say that even though it's usually no bueno to see a classic hero like Green Hornet meet his end, he went out like a hero. . .standing up to fight Black Hornet even though he hadn't thrown a punch in 20 years. It was a suitably epic end for one of my favorite characters. . .and a lot better than Dynamite did with Zorro, who basically got shot while trying to swordfight and got dumped in a mass burn pit. But THAT'S another story (okay, it STILL stings a little to see Zorro go down like a chump).

The writing and art remain superb in every way on this series. In my opinion, this has got to be one of the best sets of introductory issues I've ever seen.


The story keeps getting better as Kato reveals to Britt Jr. that his father was Green Hornet, and Britt tells him to sit and spin if Kato expects him to take his father's place.

Kato packs up all the gear in the Hornet's hideout and sends it and Britt Jr. on a jet to China to protect him while he and Mulan stay behind to discover who was behind Britt Sr.'s death and avenge him.

This all leads to a fantastic battle scene where we see Mulan in costume for the first time as Kato II totally devastating the thugs of a crime boss on the beginning of their trail of revenge.

At the end of the book, Britt has a change of heart and decides maybe some revenge might be just the thing, so he kits himself in Green Hornet gear and jumps into the battle for the first time as Green Hornet II.

Most of this issue was taken up by the battle between Mulan and various thugs, but the writing, especially at the beginning, where Britt Jr. is laughing off the idea of "Playing Batman", is still great. . .as is the art. Mulan's battle is outstanding in every way. Lau has a very kinetic art style perfectly suited for the martial arts in this book.

BUT. . .

I have some concerns. Only 4 issues in and the shipping schedule is already erratic, with this issue shipping 2 months after the last. Also. . .3 colorists on one issue. Never a good sign. This title is still firmly on the rails and speeding along nicely, but I wonder for how much longer.


This issue is mostly a fantastic chase scene as the new Green Hornet and Kato escape from the crime lord's nightclub that Kato was assaulting when Britt jumped in. Realizing that Britt is going to get killed, she retreats and we are introduced to the new Black Beauty. . .or "Urban Assault Vehicle" as Mulan calls it.

At the end of the story, the action lets up to reveal that Hirohito Juuma is the Black Hornet, and that Mayor Scanlon was behind the attack that killed Britt Reid Sr. The intent was to manufacture a fake crime wave with a "New Hornet" behind it that he could "clean up" and gain a few more years as Mayor. It's also revealed that the TRUE puppetmaster behind them both is Oni Juuma. . .the last crime lord the original Hornet put away, and thought dead.

Although most of this issue was straight up action during the fast-paced and beautifully-illustrated chase scene, I also enjoyed the banter between Kato and Britt Jr. where she let him know who the boss was. And the dirty politics at the end were also well written.

This issue double shipped (the second during that month) and the regular art team was on board, so my concerns from last issue were gone as I enjoyed the badass scenes of Kato and Black Beauty destroying opposition as they made their escape.


I really liked this issue. It was really lighthearted and pretty much served as the "training montage" scene if it were a movie (it's adapted from a never-used big screen Green Hornet movie by Kevin Smith, so I guess that would be accurate).

The story focuses on Mulan and Kato training Britt Jr., the introduction of "Clutch" Kato, Mulan's mechanical/tech wizard cousin, and several hilarious sequences where Britt tries and discards various Green Hornet costumes, including a beat for beat scene from the 1989 Batman movie where Britt Growls "I'm Green Hornet!" moments before tripping on his cape and falling from a roof.

I could easily see the Kevin Smith writing and humor in this issue. I'm sure it's going to hit the fan in a big dramatic way soon, but this lighter issue was the perfect touch.


Like I said above, these first issues are probably some of the best I've ever seen starting off a series. . .from the writing, to the art, to the covers, Dynamite hit it out of the park in a big way with Green Hornet.  Unfortunately, I remember what comes later. . .which makes this fantastic opening a little sad for me.  But for NOW , this is a hell of a party and highly suggested reading.

Coming Next. . .

More Green Hornet.  Issues 7 - 12.

Be there or be square!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Longbox Junk - One Shots: Azrael, G.I. Combat, Red Sonja, Lone Gunmen, Bruce Wayne, Scarecrow, & Conan


Welcome to another round of random single issue Longbox Junk.

Let's get this party started!


A team-up between two great characters. . .Azrael and The Question.

First, the good. . .an awesome Kitson cover!

Now the bad. . .the rest of it.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh here, it's not really BAD bad. . .it's just not really that good in any way. It's readable, but extremely forgettable. The art is okay, but I remember Giarrano's art being better than this. The teamup between The Question and Azrael is forced, and the issue ends on a note that makes it look like it was supposed to be continued, but it wasn't.

Overall, I don't really even see why this issue existed at all. Was it supposed to be the first in a new "Brave and Bold" style team-up book? I just don't get this at all.

Fantastic cover, though. . .so there's that, I guess.


First. . .Another awesome cover!

This 2010 one shot perfectly captures the feel of the old-school Haunted Tank stories I grew up on, both story-wise and with the sketchy art and muted colors. The story isn't anything fancy or outstanding, it's just another battle for the Haunted Tank crew. . .and that's what makes this great.

They didn't try to make big changes or an epic story, they gave us a great homage and paid due respect to the original material.  Very nicely done.


The best part of this one shot is the fantastic Paul Renaud artwork.
Every panel on every page is a perfectly-executed piece of art. VERY nice!

That fantastic art is attached to a pretty average story, though. Sonja rescues the wrong person and through her actions causes the death and demonic possession of a town full of innocents. Then she makes things worse when she tries to make things right.

 It was interesting in that Sonja totally effed everything up and just sort of ended up skulking away at the end of the story, but the execution of the story was pretty dull overall.

Good taken with bad, this was a pretty good read, but easily forgotten.

LONE GUNMEN (Dark Horse)

I found this one shot to be pretty enjoyable, but a little confusing.

It seems to be tied more to the short-lived Lone Gunmen T.V. series that I had never seen, so I had to Wiki who Jimmy Bond and Yves Harlow were, as they weren't in the X-Files T.V. show or comic that I knew the Lone Gunmen from. So there's that. . .but it didn't stop the story from being pretty entertaining, with witty dialogue and sharp art that captured the likeness of the actors very nicely.

But the best part of this one shot. . .which actually looks like it was SUPPOSED to be the first issue of an ongoing, from what's written by the creative team in the back. . .was a single-page silent "story" about two of the Gunmen engaging in the quintessential nerd argument: Kirk VS Picard. The third jumps in and settles it with something everyone can agree on. . .Seven of Nine.

And if you don't get that, don't even bother reading this issue.  It's pretty much for nerds only.


This mashup between Marvel and DC characters is a fun, frantic, all-out action fiesta!

Don't even bother trying to make sense of the story. It starts in the middle and ends on a cliffhanger. Just bask in the madness that was Amalgam and enjoy characters like Moonwing. . .a Dick Grayson mashup of Nightwing and Moon Knight.

The best thing about this craziness is the fantastic Cary Nord artwork. He makes what should be ridiculous look great!

All in all, this was a pretty fun issue, for a throwaway one-shot. It's full of comic cliche nonsense poking fun at comic cliche nonsense.


One of a series of "New Year's Evil" one-shots focusing on DC villains.

In this story, Scarecrow escapes Arkham Asylum determined to break the lone witness who testified against him in court and landed him in custody again. . .a young handicapped woman. He goes to great lengths to achieve his ends, even offering her a chance to be his partner in crime and get revenge on those who belittled and bullied her. . .but in the end, it's she that breaks the Scarecrow.

I REALLY liked this story. It very nicely spotlighted the madness of Scarecrow as he became obsessed with his victim. The dark and twisted art fits the insanity in this story very well.

Overall, I thought this was a great little villain-centric short story and a nice hidden gem in my collection.



I have to say right up front that this one shot is about as close as I've come to finding the perfect Conan (comic book) story.

It's a tale about Conan becoming a king, but it's not a King Conan story. It's about the FIRST time he became a king, when he was a young warrior just beginning his wanderings outside of his homeland. . .and he is a miserable failure at being a leader.

At first, everyone loves him because he's young and awesome and he keeps them safe. . .but as time goes by and he's more concerned with battles and parties than crops and plagues, his kingdom falls into disarray and misery. When the son of the previous king arrives with an army to take his revenge and his father's kingdom back, Conan just gives him the crown and rides away without a fight, knowing that he was the crappiest king ever.

I love that this story shows Conan as a loser. There are so many tales of his coming out on top due to sheer luck or skill on the battlefield. . .this story shows that his worst enemy is just day to day living outside of battle, and he is soundly defeated by it in the way no other enemy ever came close to.

Robertson's dark and extremely detailed artwork is perfect for this grim story. Probably one of the best depictions of Conan I've ever seen. Nicely done all around!  Highly suggested.

And there you have it. . .another fine little batch of Longbox Junk one shots.

Overall, I'd say there wasn't really a BAD one in the bunch.  The only one that came close was the Azrael/Question team-up.  My favorite this time around was clearly the Conan one-shot.

I'd suggest all of them, except maybe the Bruce Wayne and Azrael issues.  Bruce Wayne was fun and had great art, but it's more of a curiosity than an actual story.  The Azrael/Question issue just seems like it has no purpose in existing at all.

Coming Next. . .

Feel my pain as ANOTHER one of my favorite characters starts strong and then goes off the rails.

42 issues worth of Dynamite's Green Hornet.  Longbox Junk at its best AND worst.

Be there or be square!