Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Lone Ranger Rides Again!

Expected Publication:  July 9th, 2013
The Lone Ranger Omnibus, Volume 1
By: Brett Matthews (Story), Sergio Cariello (Illustrator) and Paul Pope (Illustrator)
Dynamite Entertainment
ISBN-13:  9781606903520

Dynamite's The Lone Ranger series - written by Brett Matthews and expertly rendered by Sergio Cariello and Paul Pope, with incredible covers by the amazing John Cassaday - is a must-read for long-time fans of America's favorite hero of the Wild West! Now for the first time ever, all 25 issues, plus The Lone Ranger: Creed #0 FCBD story, are available in one-amazing collection! The Lone Ranger Omnibus Volume 1 features 632-pages of this classic Eisner Nominated series, as well as a complete cover gallery! Read the entire story of how John Reid was transformed into The Lone Ranger, and, along with his partner Tonto, set a new standard of justice in the Old West!

     I have heard of Lone Ranger before and know about the T.V. show from the 50s, the comic books and even the racist stereotypes of the character Tonto, his Native American companion.  Never have I experience any of these things firsthand before now.  What the hell took me so long???  Seeing as this was a review copy, only the first hundred pages or so was collected in it, instead of the 600 and some in the full volume that will be released in July.  But the first hundred pages held more than enough adventure, tragic backstory and hero origins to make any comic book proud.  I loved the balance between dark and light in the artwork.  It had splashes of major color, like the real Old West but also represented the darkness in Lone Ranger's life and it's evolution while dealing with the massacre of his family, all the while not trivializing it or making it into 'statement' art like so many graphic novels become.  I loved the depiction of Tonto as his friend, equal and mentor in revenge, avoiding stereotypes for the most part except for a depiction of him carrying come scalps, but to say that no Native American ever scalped anyone would be PC rewriting history, so it didn't bother me all that much as a reader.  This comic managed to represent copious amounts of violence without becoming an exercise in unnecessary gore like another I read fairly recently, a retelling of Sleepy Hollow which could have taken lessons in tasteful violence from the newest incarnation of the Ranger.  As a fan of Westerns such as Young Guns, The Angel and the Badman, Dances With Wolves, Lonesome Dove (book and film), and the miniseries Into The West, this had an apprehensive start for me.  I knew I would enjoy it in some capacity, but was unsure quite how much - I was rewarded for my faith with a comic that I really loved.   My copy left off with a cliffhanger and I want to know if the Lone Ranger ever has a showdown with Butch Cavendish, the main villain of this rebooted series! :)  I guess I will have to get my hands on a full copy when it's published.  All I can say is that this comic managed to avoid some of the traps that comics trying TOO hard often fall into - lurid or sparse artwork, too much text, clichéd action sequences - and it definitely impressed me as a reader.  I don't know if I'll be seeing the upcoming film, but I'm a definite fan of the upcoming graphic novel!  Recommended for fans of Western novels and films, who like the tragic hero stories and have a thirst for justice.  I don't know how fans of the original comics will feel, but I'd like to think they'll enjoy it.
VERDICT:  5/5  Stars
*received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via Netgalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is July 9th, 2013.*

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