Best Shots Advance Review: THE LONE RANGER #1

Best Shots Advance: THE LONE RANGER #1

 

The Lone Ranger, Vol. 2, #1

Written by Ande Parks

Art by Esteve Polls and Marcelo Pinto

Lettering by Simon Bowland

Published by Dynamite Entertainment

Review by David Pepose

'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10

Sometimes, expectations can get the better of us. Take, for example, The Lone Ranger. For those who haven't read the first volume from Brett Matthews and Sergio Cariello, you're missing out on the best comics Dynamite Entertainment has ever produced. Those first issues were a gorgeously illustrated, downright cinematic introduction to John Reid, taking us inside his head and showing us how he became the man he was meant to be.

In other words, it's quite the pedigree to live up to. And perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that Dynamite's second iteration of The Lone Ranger doesn't match up to the first. To be honest, that would be unfair to even expect. But the accessibility and charm are surprisingly lacking in this first issue, as Ande Parks and Esteve Polls seem to expect us to love the Ranger without question, rather than refine the character even further.

The reason I say that is because, in a lot of ways, the Ranger isn't really the protagonist of this story. Considering this is a first issue, that's not necessarily the most intuitive introduction in the world. Focusing on a widower as he tries to move on after his wife is killed by bandits, it seems that Ande Parks is focused more on telling us how tough the Old West was, rather than showing us through the Lone Ranger's travails. The misstep with the narrator is compounded by the reality that he can't even solve his own problems — the Lone Ranger does end up coming around to save the day, but ultimately his screen time feels so short beforehand that the victory lacks the tension needed to make it feel really satisfactory. Unless you're already well-acquainted with the Lone Ranger and Tonto, you're going to probably be scratching your head at what the big deal is.

 

In terms of the art, Esteve Polls doesn't quite have that sweeping widescreen gravitas that Sergio Cariello did, but there are shades of those hard Chaykin lines in his characters' faces. He definitely goes for old-school panel compositions, which — at least most of the time, a few visual continuity issues aside — seem to flow nicely. It's clear that the action sequences, the few that there are, are where Polls really shines, especially with an image of the Ranger holding his horse's reins in his teeth as he uses both hands to aim a rifle. Colorist Marcelo Pinto, one of the lone creative holdovers from the first volume, punches up Polls' work as high as it'll go, particularly with a gorgeous moonlit night, where a young John Reid struggles to deal with losses of his own.

Once you push through a slow beginning and a somewhat jerky middle, you see Parks try to slip in that exposition of John Reid's past, but ultimately, it comes off as too little, too late. Whether or not there's a Vol. 2 in front of it, it's still billed as Issue #1 — and every issue is someone's first. Unfortunately, with the Matthews/Cariello run still fresh in our minds, it makes the dropoff for The Lone Ranger seem that much more apparent. This isn't a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, but it does feel misguided. I want to know what Ande Parks thinks about the Lone Ranger, I want to know more about how John Reid and Tonto operate. Because right now, it feels like The Lone Ranger is just going through the motions.

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