REVIEW: The Lone Ranger #23

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The showdown between good and evil is about to occur, but before anyone can go out guns a blazing, the readers and the characters must say goodbye.

THE LONE RANGER #23
Writer: Brett Matthews
Artist: Sergio Cariello
Colorists: Marcelo Pinto
Cover: John Cassaday
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Editor: Joseph Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

Previously in The Lone Ranger: Everything The Lone Ranger loves is being torn apart by Butch Cavendish. Fortunately, his nephew and sister-in-law are able to fend for themselves, but Sheriff Loring is captured by the fiend.

I ATE HIS HAND IN A CARROT STEW

Butch Cavendish is certainly in the running to be the most vile villain in all comic history. He’s cooked sheriff Loring’s hand in a stew, and not content with that, ends up pouring the entire boiling pot on the bound lawman. It’s pretty safe to say that the sheriff is a goner, but not in a way one might expect. Butch has no problem going into town with blood all over his clothes, threatening others by “suggesting” their wives keep him company, and simply just being evil for evil’s sake. If this were a movie, critics would claim the actor is just chewing scenery, and in a way Butch does that in the comic page, but Matthews handles it so it doesn’t seem so melodramatic. There are no panels where he twirls his mustache, or laughs maniacally, he’s just pure evil and wants to end the Ranger’s life.

When The Lone Ranger finally shows up at Loring’s boarding house, it’s clear the sheriff isn’t going to make it. The two are able to share a nice exchange about John’s father, and why the Ranger is meant to do good things to avenge those that are wronged. Unable provide any help, the Ranger honors Loring’s last request and hands over one of his guns. The suicide moment is handled so well, that unless you are paying close attention to the art, one might think the sheriff had a thing for fancy guns and chose this moment to get a closer look. Loring goes out the way he wants, instead of letting the villain get his way.

The other big goodbye in this issue has to do with The Lone Ranger’s relationship to Tonto, Linda and little Dan. The Ranger knows that the showdown with Cavendish might not end well, and he tells Tonto to take the two and live a happy life. It’s touching that no matter what his loved ones say, he forces them to get the heck out of Dodge so he can face his enemy alone.

Or will he? There are still heavy indications that there are other forces conspiring to bring the two forces together for the ultimate showdown, and it just might occur in the next issue.

Matthews storytelling is solid and I like that the moments that could be full of shouting and calls for overly dramatic poses is really toned down. When I read this issue, it feels like I’m watching Once Upon a Time in the West – a very big story that is quite and slow, but full of dramatic moments that draw you in instead of pushing you away. I don’t know how you read comics, but sometimes I felt like i was leaning in to “hear” what the characters were saying to each other. If a writer can get that kind of reaction from the reader, then he’s doing something right.

SILVER IS REALLY MORE GREY

Sergio Cariello does an excellent job with the art in this issue. There are moments he could have gone over the top with the violent moments to bring more shock to the issue, but instead he toned it down to the level of the very westerns this series seems to imitate. It’s the treatment of the subject that makes the words and character development that much more intense, and that helps sell the issue even more. Cariello further pushes the idea that we are reading a film by laying out a majority of the pages with horizontal frames imitating the look that Sergio Leone and John Ford made famous.

The coloring is also muted, not drawing a lot of attention to blood and guts that other colorists would crank up to get a visceral reaction, and get the Intardwebz all abuzz. Overall, I really like the art delivered up in this issue.

BOTTOM LINE: CHECK IT OUT

THe biggest problem with The Lone Ranger is the release schedule. An every other month or later release does nothing to build excitement or tension in the series, which is exactly what the reader should feel when the final page is revealed. With an unfamiliar character, the long delay between issues lowers the enjoyment as the reader needs to go back and refresh their minds as to what is going on. It certainly pulled me out of the issue. The Lone Ranger #23 is worth checking out if you are into quite character moments. The writing and are are well done, earning the book 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆