Green Hornet: Free Comic Book Day Edition #1, Dynamite Entertainment
contributors: Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, Jonathan Lau, Ivan Nunes, Simon Bowland, Jai Nitz, Colton Worley, Romulo Fajardo, Jr., Matt Wagner, Aaron Campbell, Francesco Francavilla, Brett Matthews, Ariel Padilla, Giovanna Guimaraes
Dynamite Entertainment has developed its niche in the comic book industry by developing classic, beloved properties like the Lone Ranger, Zorro, and Red Sonja for a modern audience, and based on the advertisements in this preview issue of their Green Hornet franchise, the Phantom and Vampirella are soon to come. In just a few months' time, though, the Green Hornet has become a powerhouse for Dynamite, its main title producing four spin-offs, with names like Kevin Smith, Matt Wagner, Phil Hester, and Brett Matthews at the helm. Their FCBD offering is a glimpse into all these titles, and with so much material to spotlight, I'm afraid the result is all splash and no substance. Kevin Smith's wise-cracking Green Hornet sets the tone, but if anything stands out throughout this issue, it's a city besieged by crime and its need for a hero. The supplemental titles under the Green Hornet umbrella, specifically the ones featuring Kato, seem to explore the legacy of said needed hero, but again little content offers the stories' context. Am I interested in learning more by picking up an issue? Oh, absolutely. May this also be a fleeting thought that passes as soon as I move on to the next free comic of the day? Quite possibly, with so many series to choose from and little to help discern them. Sensory overload may have harshed this Hornet's sting.
Archie's Summer Splash #1, Archie Comics
by Dan Parent, Rich Koslowski, Jack Morelli, Glenn Whitmore
Archie has attracted a lot of press lately, thanks in large part to his forthcoming wedding and the ironic timing of a new gay character, but this free issue is rather bland in comparison, ever struggling to make this classic cast relevant to today's youth culture. When Pembrooke Beach is closed for the summer due to an oil spill (a device undoubtedly devised before current events, though strangely timely), the snobby Cheryl is forced to slum with our friends in Riverdale. Then, as Archie and his band practice for the Zowie-palooza concert, Cheryl gets jealous ans wants a piece of that action, too, so she forms her own girl band, Blossom. Fortunately, Archie and his pals turn the tables on Cheryl by tricking her into a change in venue, leaving Blossom to perform to an empty beachfront. It's a straightforward tale of adolescent jealousy, one part Mean Girls, one part The Heights -- a dated reference, but seemingly appropriate for an Archie story. Frankly, the only reason we care about the Riverdale gang is because they've been with us for so long. Equally interesting, though, is the presumption that they might not be missed if they were gone. Perhaps growing up and getting married is the best thing for Archie . . . Maybe he'll finally give up comics.
So, today's theme was classic characters and their sticking power. Apparently, the lesson is, presentation is a powerful tool in the battle for contemporary significance -- finding the balance between too much and too little substance.