Dynamite struck gold when they took Kevin Smith’s unused screenplay for “The Green Hornet” and developed it into a comic series. It definitely benefitted from the timing around an actual Green Hornet movie. Dynamite then turned their Green Hornet license into a stable of titles around the character and Smith’s reimagining of him. Here, they’re attempting to direct lightning into the same place twice by taking another unused screenplay from Smith and making it a comic. Unfortunately, this time up at bat is not so successful.
This debut issue constitutes what one would imagine the first 15 minutes of Smith’s movie would have looked like. When watching 120 minutes on the screen, you might forgive an intro where you know exactly how things are going to play out. As a standalone introduction, this book fails miserably. There’s the beginning of a mystery in the first pages and then the rest is simply what we know viewed through the prism of Smith’s parlance. When adapting this screenplay, more thought should have been given to how the debut issue would structure as a comic on its own. This doesn’t satisfy because it ends with some sort of cliffhanger as if we don’t know Colonel Austen will become the Bionic Man.
The major problem of this book is the need to inject constant, and sophomoric, humor into every scene and character’s mouth. Smith’s greatest weakness has always been his lack of restraint. He doesn’t know how to kill his darlings. Everything from smelly nervous pooping to anal probes to ‘your wife’ jokes make it through. None of it is funny and most of it slows the story down and clogs up the page. If this wants to be a juvenile comedy then it should be funny. If it’s an action comic then it should dial up some actual action.
Jonathan Lau does a decent job of telling a story around the many words that muddle the pages. Many of the pages are talking heads and Lau works to vary the zoom lengths to keep us engaged. It feels, at times, as if he’s trying to direct this like a Michael Bay flick. Ivan Nunes’ colors work well with the action, but the still scenes don’t seem to know what to do. Backgrounds inexplicably hold mood shading without it being contextual and the result gives this film a very hollow set.
This opening is not strong; It’s overwritten for a lot of scenes where not a lot happens. Characterization isn’t developed; we get more of Smith on the page than we do these men and women. By the end of the first issue you should not be just getting to the part everyone knows about already. There’s the possibility things might turn out different, but considering this is about the Bionic Man not enough shorthand was employed. The opening sequence is the only aspect of this book that delivers something to intrigue the reader and entice their return. The rest is pure filler of jokes that fall flat, and apparent set up that’s too slow. This is an adaptation that’s grabbed the story while not thinking about the medium of presentation.