When you are at the end of your rope, you’ll probably do just about anything to get out of a jam. The Lone Ranger is in a bit of trouble, and he’s only got his wits and hopefully his friend Tonto to save him.
Previously in The Lone Ranger: The Lone Ranger and Tonto were looking for a group of train robbers, on the belief they were bringing the gang to justice for killing innocent people. Little did they realize they were patsies sent on a mission to clean up an embarrassing mistake of a cousin of an up and coming Senator. The crazed leader of the gang, turns out to not only be a crooked marshal, but one who believes he is doing the Lord’s work, for his holier than thou town of Utopia. And he’s willing to kill anyone that gets in his way.
TONTO TO THE RESCUE
Why is it the Lone Ranger always needs his faithful companion to get himself out of a jam? It seems the Reids through history need someone to save their hides at the last moment. This issue finds a still wounded Tonto (shot in the gut by Dorsey) climbing back on his horse and riding to Utopia in the hope of preventing The Ranger from hanging at high noon…. hey, if you are going to go with cliches, go big…
For those who have been reading this series for the last three issues, the Ranger has had a rope around his neck, while Marshal Dorsey spouts religious quotes and idle threats at the town folk. Just when the noon bell strikes, Tonto appears with a massive herd of cattle that disperse the town folk, destroy half the town, and give the Ranger a chance to free himself and fight back.
Since this issue is all about cliched moments, the knife fight on the hanging platform, while the thundering herd rush past is something out of the movies. And when Dorsey lunges at the Ranger only to fall to his death beneath the feet of his own cattle, the trope cycle is complete.
This series started with such promise, but the last three issues have stretched the series to the point where I am glad the arc is finally over. For the most part, Ande Parks has done a fine job of telling various Ranger stories that make me feel for the characters, and cheer when the hero saves the day. This issue was a solid wrap to the arc, but had very few moments that made me want to cheer for anyone.
SHADES OF SMUDGE
I don’t know if it was my copy, but the art in this issue looked like the printer decided to dial back on the inks, but crank up the colors, resulting in a weird smudge of colors throughout the issue. It’s not like you can’t make out what is going on, but the overall result is a watercolor like effect that clashes with the theme of the Old West. On the plus side, this take on the art is different from the crushed black house style that I’ve talked about before.
BOTTOM LINE: STICKING IT OUT
There is only one more issue in the Hard Country arc, and I will be sticking with it, just to see if the Senator gets his, and to what lengths the Ranger will go to save his friend. If you are one that likes the cliched western of your childhood, then this issue has plenty to keep you interested. I was hoping for a little bit more in terms of the story and the art, earning The Lone Ranger #5 2 out of 5 Stars.