The new "
" series from Dynamite is the literary equivalent of ordering chicken chow mein from your favorite Chinese take-out - not many surprises, but it doesn't disappoint and reminds you why you keep going back.
As written by Ande Parks, this is a tale where the themes of honor and vengeance dominate - and especially consume Hirohito Juuma, the villain of the piece who, as a young boy, saw his father, a former big shot in the Japanese mob, brought down by Kato and the Green Hornet. Since then, Juuma has become the mirror opposite of Bruce Wayne. Despite success as a legitimate businessman and wealth beyond measure, he chooses to focus his attention and the resources of his cutting-edge video-game company to "kill" versions of the Green Hornet and Kato - again and again and again.
As the moment he has been training for approaches, his closest ally questions whether his quest for vengeance is worth risking all he stands to lose. He scoffs and is determined to ensure Kato loses more and decides collateral damage may not only be unavoidable but necessary to cause his adversary pain - something his father taught him long ago.
Meanwhile, Kato is portrayed living an "Unforgiven" type of existence. His name and deeds have become legendary - too much for his daughter Mulan's tastes. Mulan reminds Kato of himself when he was younger - wild, willing to start fights, rebellious. Then there is his wife, Sayomi, who he claims makes him a better man and "perfectly balanced." Combine that with the fact that she is beautiful and bright and you know something unpleasant is about to happen.
Comics Guy wishes Parks had refrained from having the older Kato's motivation for the rest of the series be vengeance - which has been motivation for heroes since Bruce Wayne.
However, as these pages and the cover hint at, it seems his stronger emphasis is going to be on legacy - on how we want to be remembered and what we want to leave behind - and how lessons, both good and bad, can be passed down through generations.
If the first issue is any indication, this series will add to Kato's legacy - as both an individual and a character - and not tarnish it. Comics Guy recommends "Kato" highly.
Heirs to 'King' going to court?
Disney recently sent a legal memo suporting Marvel's legal position against the heirs of Jack Kirby.
While chances are a settlement will be reached, there will be huge repercussions if the case gets to court and Kirby's heirs win.
Kirby's heirs are suing Marvel and Disney to terminate the copyrights of Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Ant-Man, the X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Thor, Nick Fury, Spider-Man, Rawhide Kid and material created between 1958 and 1963 for "Journey Into Mystery," "Strange Tales," "Tales of Suspense," "Amazing Adventures" and "Tales To Astonish."
Marvel would be in deep trouble if they lose. They would lose the most popular characters in their comic line but would also have to surrender the copyrights to their most profitable movie projects.
Of course, Kirby's heirs must know the characters are worth far more at Marvel than if they attempted to shop them somewhere else. But there is another reason why there will likely be a settlement and that fans shouldn't fear a Marvel without the Avengers, FF and X-Men.
Stan Lee co-created most of these characters with Kirby. Which means Kirby's heirs likely wouldn't be able to do anything with them without his say-so as well. Unless they also wanted to sue Lee.
They'll make a deal.
Comic-book movies won't stop
The flood of comic-book based movies and remakes looks unlikely to stop anytime soon. The past couple of months are a prime example why.
"Sex and the City 2" looks like it will be lucky to make back its $100 million budget - that's a lot of dresses and shoes. "Prince of Persia," despite some name recognition and Jerry Bruckheimer, looks like it won't make half of its $200 million budget in theaters.
Meanwhile, despite mixed reviews, "Iron Man 2" looks certain to pass the $300 million mark, justifying its $200 million budget.
Who'll be new Spidey?
The Hollywood Reporter says five actors are in the running to play Peter Parker in the reboot of the Spider-Man film franchise. They're Jamie Bell, Alden Ehrenreich, Frank Dillane, Andrew Garfield and Josh Hutcherson.
Comics Guy can only say he hopes someone else enters the picture.