Guestwriter: Nick Monitto
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Bob Q
This article was made possible due to the gift of a review copy.
Before the super powers of “Spider-Man” or the devices of “Batman”, adventure heroes fought with more simple resources. In the post-Civil War years, the United States was still growing and the West was a rough and tumble place. Out of that land, came The Lone Ranger.
Spanning decades across pretty much all media, The Lone Ranger has been a long beloved and widely known figure. I had never gotten deeply into his stories, but knew them from family & friends. And when most people hear the “William Tell Overture”, their thoughts go not to the Rossini opera, but rather the masked man galloping on his horse!
Aside from numerous radio, television, and movie adaptations, The Lone Ranger has had several comic runs as well. The most recent came from Dynamite Entertainment, spanning almost a decade of books until a few years ago. Now Dynamite begins a new one written by Mark Russell, with art & colors by Bob Q, and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.
“Chapter One: The Devil’s Rope” begins in 1887, in Deaf Smith County, Texas. A group of cowboys are running a herd when they find a barbed wire fence, improperly marking off territory. The land owner shows up with a gang and threatens them. In the distance, The Ranger hears and ignores gunshots, until a cattle stampede makes him realize this is not something mundane. He reaches the fence & finds one cowboy’s body.
The others were taken hostage by the land owner. He is hosting dinner with a State Senator who holds higher political ambitions and seeks support. They agree that the government should protect these rich men by stopping or eliminating the “open range cowboys” and the natives who get in their way. The Ranger frees the captives and has a firefight with the ranch guards. Several are killed, but some (including the Senator) escape. Later, the Senator is seen with another rancher, plotting to send a large force in response.
As the first chapter ends, the Ranger seeks help in a native village, fearing what will come if these barons are not stopped, and knowing he cannot do it alone. While the name is not spoken, those familiar with the Ranger will know that the man he finds in the final panel is Tonto.
Overall, this was a good comic and a nice start to the story. There is no need to know details of previous Lone Ranger stories; a brief flashback on his ‘rebirth’ origin shows his motivation here, and if one does not already know Tonto, I imagine more will be told of him as the story goes forward. The content is tame by most standards: I would estimate an easy “PG” level of language and violence, appropriate for the character and fine for most any reader. This should be the start of another great series.
Nick Monitto is a gaming geek who came of age on the classic games of the 1970s and ‘80s. He is well-versed in Rangers, but only the ones who stalk the forests with bows.