ED.NOTE: Following the interview below, check out the first full issue of “Mark Waid’s The Green Hornet,” presented free for CBR readers.
It’s been a tough road so far for intrepid adventurer Britt Reid in writer Mark Waid’s “Green Hornet” series at Dynamite Entertainment. Although every action he took seemed to be going his way at first, it all came crashing down. Not only did he suffer a rift with his longtime friend and companion Kato, the Green Hornet began crossing lines left and right in the name of justice — both in his life as a vigilante and as a newspaper man at the Sentinel, using the paper as a way to drum up publicity for his mayoral campaign. Although some of his problems have started to fade, new problems and adversarial tactics continue to plague him in both his professional and personal life.
Waid is halfway through his reimagining of the classic pulp hero, and while the plot might be at the midpoint, it’s far from winding down. The Green Hornet has spent a vast amount of time and effort to insert himself as a part of the criminal underworld, extending his influence far beyond that of the classic interpretation of the character. Indeed, after his overconfidence led to a series of unfortunate decisions and hits to his credibility as Britt Reid, the Hornet continued his crusade for justice all the way to a staggering decision: choose to knowingly murder an innocent man, or risk his status as one of the up-and-coming criminal leaders of the city.
Although the Green Hornet’s ego has taken a hit — what with falsely accusing Winston Mills as being the mysterious bomber The Voice — he bounced back by telling off the Sentinel’s board of directors and continuing to push his confidence home, though the results of his ego may not be the ideal conclusion he hopes for.
“This is a story about hubris,” said Waid. “And it’s far from done.”
Keeping his ego somewhat in check is Kato, who returned to Britt’s crusade for justice after a good amount of time away, only to find that his partner refused to heed his warnings about crossing certain lines in pursuit of a greater good — and there’s the additional worry that the Hornet might become that which he wants to destroy before accomplishing his mission.
“In for a penny, in for a pound. Britt Reid has done well using his identity as the Green Hornet to infiltrate the underworld, but you can only fake your crimes for so long before you have to take drastic action to prove yourself,” Waid told CBR News. “In the issues ahead, the Green Hornet will have to cross some moral and ethical lines he wasn’t prepared to cross in order to maintain his ruse — but the ends may not justify the means.”
On the way to the finish line, the Green Hornet will have to call upon his newly-established network of ties in organized and underground crime for information to use against the very forces they represent — and action that will be incredibly critical to furthering his mission in the pursuit of justice.
“Kato will be, of everyone, the most surprised at some of the secret agents the Hornet recruited in his absence,” Waid said. “Most everything Kato warned about Britt’s disregard for the consequences of his actions and his ego and how all that could backfire — one of the Hornet’s “men” will provide an ample demonstration of this.”
The primary obstacle in Green Hornet’s path is Malcolm White and his cadre of corrupt businessmen, who most recently burned men alive to keep their secrets hidden and forced the Green Hornet into a corner, telling him to kill an innocent man to prove his loyalty to the criminal world he claims to be a part of. White’s despicable actions have continued to escalate, and Waid says the businessman isn’t done just yet.
“[He goes] far enough to be taking some secret money from some of the most powerful people on Earth, as we’ll soon see,” he said.
Beyond his war as the Green Hornet, Britt recently left the Sentinel newspaper in favor of advancing into a brand new media for the era: radio. Yes, Britt Reid has eschewed the print format for a more modern version, and it’s something his old employees and friends at the Sentinel don’t take all that kindly to.
“[They take it] about as well as his old buddies at the comics shop would react to him promoting digital comics,” Waid joked. “All kidding aside, the Sentinel stalwarts feel it’s a great betrayal — particularly once Britt recruits a surprise lieutenant.”
While Waid couldn’t reveal who would join Britt in his new endeavor, he did hint at some development in the relationship between the protagonist and crack reporter Lenore “Casey” Case, though it’s still somewhat of a mystery as to what that development might be.
“All I can tell you is that Britt and Casey’s relationship takes a very surprising and unexpected turn very soon,” the writer teased.
Whether it’s the story of a blind lawyer’s path to redemption in “Daredevil” or that of a time-traveling gamma-irradiated monster in “Indestructible Hulk” — are nothing if not multi-faceted. At its core, “Green Hornet” is a story as much about the pride, hubris and ego of a vigilante crimefighter as the crimefighter himself — and although he’s made some major missteps up through this point in the series, it’s unlikely that he’ll learn his lesson this close to the halfway point.
“Britt doesn’t learn well. And he hasn’t been driven nearly far enough to a point where he finally has to learn how to be humble. The great challenge is still ahead,” Waid said. “Even if you’re a crimefighter, the road to hell really, truly is paved with good intentions.”
“Mark Waid’s The Green Hornet” #7 is on sale 11/6 from Dynamite Entertainment.