Writer: Brett Matthews
Artist: Sergio Carriello, Marc Pinto and Impacto Studios(c)
The Ranger and Tonto mosey upon a lynch mob. After freeing the hostage, neither hero is all too sure whether or not they want to trust the accused. The presence of the hostage complicates matters for the Ranger with regard to Linda. Meanwhile, Butch Cavendish beats up his pudgy little Smee when he finds out how much damage the Ranger did to his enterprises during the previous issues.
The story in The Lone Ranger suffers from decompression, but the art and some choice character moments rescue the issue from mediocrity. I for instance like how Brett Matthews begins the evolution of the Ranger as a detective. The Ranger has yet to develop his intuitive abilities. So he's immediately skeptical about the man he rescued. However, he's not willing to let him swing without a trial, and that sets him out to investigate.
Matthews sagely starts with the Ranger's raw abilities as precursors to the advanced ratiocinator he'll become. He arrives at his conclusions by cursory observation of the evidence, a corpse riddled with bullets. It's his experience as a gunman that gives him insight into the fishiness of the alleged crime.
The Ranger keeps above board at all times, and this nicely gibes with the Clayton Moore epitome. The Ranger gathers items that he needs, and he pays in silver. Matthews also uses the transaction to show the Ranger's effect on the youth of the West. While making his purchases while the shopkeepers sleep, the Ranger's unaware of young eyes watching his actions and dreaming of riding "the fiery horse." Sergio Carriello makes the scene genuinely cute. He beautifully illustrates the child mimicking the Ranger's horsemanship.
Outside of the mystery, Matthews deepens the relationship between the Ranger and Linda, his deceased brother's wife. Her strength and forwardness makes her a perfect foil for the Ranger, and we know for a fact that at some point, he'll have to get off the horse to sire the man or the woman who will become the parent of the Green Hornet.
Number eight of The Lone Ranger is a good, solid issue, but it moves a little too slow for my tastes. Tonto could also use a little more of the writer's attention.
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