The Lone Ranger #4 // Review
Improbably, one of the most original, innovative, and politically relevant comic series on the stands in the beginning of 2019 is a licensed comic. Not just any license, but one based on a 1933 radio show and related media, and set in 1887 Texas. Improbable or not, Dynamite’s The Lone Ranger has proven, four issues in, to be worthy of those accolades and more.
The series follows John Reid, the eponymous Lone Ranger, and his partner Tonto (and, of course, Reid’s famous horse Silver) as they fight a group of corrupt ranchers’ efforts to carve up Dos Caballos, Texas, amongst themselves. This issue–“Chapter Four: Paid In Full”–sees Tonto come face to face with O’Connor, the ranchers’ psycho cannibal hired hand and the only man in Dos Caballos who seems to me a match for Tonto and the Ranger.
Writer Mark Russell continues to impress, using deft characterization and tight plotting to craft a timely and exciting story. Russell explores both Tonto and O’Connor’s histories and inner lives in a way that makes their current predicament that much more effective. Russell uses an impressive knowledge of history to make the world of 1887 Texas feel present and politically relevant, without turning the book into a polemic or a dry history lesson.
Bob Q’s art shines here as well, with a good mix of visceral action and personal conversation. Q’s character designs are clear and varied, so a book that could easily become a mass of interchangeable cowboys is instead full of colorful, varied, and distinct individuals with their own needs and agendas. Impressively, Q handles pencils, inks, and colors for the full series, but as of this writing there has not been a delay on a single issue of The Lone Ranger. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s letters are dynamic yet understated, telling the story clearly and staying out of its way.
Fans of Mark Russell’s work on 2017’s Flintstones and 2018’s Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles will find the same sharp satire and deep wit in Dynamite’s The Lone Ranger. The latest issue is fantastic, and the series is early enough in its run that catching up should be easy. This is one of the best books being published right now and deserves to be read by as wide an audience as possible–and this issue ends with a hell of a cliffhanger, promising an explosive resolution next issue.