Who’s the man who won’t cop out, when there’s danger all about?
Okay, well, that’s Shaft, but Lone Ranger still kicks a lot of ass. This is the second wave of Dynamite’s popular incarnation of the masked man, which comes with a great deal of pressure. The first run was a nearly perfect slice of the Lone Ranger legacy that left big shoes to fill. Thankfully Lone Ranger #1 is a great step in living up to the original series. Writer Ande Parks gets it, he knows what’s up with the Lone Ranger and why the character has endured for so long. He weaves within his story that sense of incorruptible justice the makes the Lone Ranger the kind of hero we’d like to be.
Parks makes a smart move by giving us a traditional Lone Ranger story to kick off the series. Jumping right into a master plan might have backfired, so why not just have the Lone Ranger save the day? Our story opens on a typical family in the days of the old west. The father is struggling to keep his family safe and healthy while building a better future in the wild open spaces of the new America. Standing in his way are some bandits looking to rob the good family and destroy their home. What is a man of upstanding virtue to do in the face of such incredible odds?
Call upon the Lone Ranger of course!
The story sounds a bit thin but Ande Parks digs deep with the personal drama and the message behind the Lone Ranger. To start, he allows the mother of the family to die at the hands of the bandits. Parks draws a nice parallel to the Lone Ranger losing his own mother. As the tension mounts, my hatred of the bandits grew to such a degree that the arrival of the Lone Ranger made me cheer out loud. I like that Parks doesn’t modernize the Lone Ranger by turning him into a killer. It’s rare that a writer can appreciate the core of an older character and use that which has kept him relevant and inspirational to tell a story in these murkier times. Parks stays focused on who the Lone Ranger really is and that makes the story click.
Not much is given as to whether this is the continuation of the last series or a completely new direction for the character. Regardless it’s good to have the first issue of Lone Ranger out of the way with no missteps and a writer who has great confidence with the character. Parks also knows how to get a feeling for the old west, the fear and desperation, the cutthroat manner of those forging a new frontier. I’m really excited to see where he goes from here and how his verse of the Lone Ranger will work into the great legacy.
The art by Esteve Polls is also quite good. Western books need a certain look, a combination of old pulp novels and the dime story picture books that first launched the cowboy into glory during the old west. Polls does that by using a fine art approach, each panel is small painting, a work of art depicting not just the action but also how the setting of the story plays in. The family’s home is old and worn; the bandits look filthy and hard labored. What’s amazing is that Polls conveys so much action with this style. I also like how all the colors are muted except for the Lone Ranger, bringing the subtext of one man standing out against the rest to life. Will Lone Ranger maintain this level excellence? I have no idea, but issue #1 is a great start.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 9/10 (4.75 Story, 4.75 Art)