[**Warning: this review continues spoilers for The Lone Ranger #3!]
With Tonto and The Lone Ranger once again reunited, we return our gaze once again to the schemings of the Texan business cartel desperate to expand their holdings by any means necessary. A great cover under which to introduce a new character into the mix, a dandy by the name of Connor. He’s a hired gun – of sorts – and the cartel are considering hiring to protect them from the masked vigilante and his partner. To say Connor is a rather unsavoury sort is putting it mildly. But, boy, does he dress to impress.
Oscar Wilde famously toured America twice, and at a similar timing to when this book is set. Well, think Oscar Wilde, but with cannibalistic tastes and a habit of murdering, and you’ve got him to the letter. It would be better to have someone like this on your payroll rather than a dozen “unemployed farmers and failed highwaymen,” when facing The Lone Ranger and Tonto. And, it would seem Connor, the devilish dandy is the man with a plan. The whole scene is a great example of how comics and sequential art can be used to fool the reader with some sleight of hand, too. So, apologies for revealing the true villain, but you did read the warning prefixing this review, right?
In typical American gunging-ho fashion, however, these ne’er-do-wells and reprobates think the more guns you have, the easier the problem will be to solve. Leave it to Tonto and the Lone Ranger to cause as much commotion as possible with the littlest effort. Another subtle example of the humour on display in this book. that makes it such a great, original take on the Western. Not quite Blazing Saddles, but certainly not The Good, The Bad and The Ugly either.
It’s another humorous book that, will dealing with parts of American history some would rather not think about, isn’t a sober, serious book that tries to dictate to its readership. First and foremost this is a Western adventure story familiar to many aware of this all-American genre. There’s the shoot outs and stake outs, the David vs Goliath narrative dynamics and a sense of history behind it all. Setting his story in 1887 is no coincidence, as writer Mark Russell has spoken about previously, and it’s a fascinating time in American history too, as the wild west makes way for modern technology and the vast changes these would bring about in America rurally, and in more urban areas.
This was America at its most productive. A world in which skyscrapers where beginning to take shape firstly in Chicago and then in New York, and a world that still held the promise to would be settlers and immigrants looking for their own slice of the American Dream. But, as we are reminded in this series, an America that favoured the wealthy and the white. All rendered superbly, once again, by the talents of Bob Q who creates a dynamic and lively reading experience thanks to his choices of perspectives, angles and colours he brings to scene that could, otherwise, be rather pedestrian. A large obstacle when drawing Western comics at their quieter moments I imagine.
Another solid issue that sees the 19th century’s dynamic duo easily run rings around these vaudevillian villains that delivers on the action as well as the out there characters you would more likely find in any Lucky Luke book. And, as I write that last line, I cannot help but feel that the same spirit of those fun books, all but ignored in the USA, live on in this series. And, that’s more than fine with me.
The Lone Ranger #3 is valuable now from Dynamite Entertainment.