Writer: Brett Matthews
Artists: Sergio Cariello, Marcello Pinto of Impacto Studios (colors)
Last issue, the Ranger took a bullet for Tonto. After promising the Ranger not to kill, Tonto goes after the shooter. Off panel, the late Dan Reid's wife extracts the bullet, and the shooter's fate haunts the "masked rider of the plains." Should The Ranger turn over the shooter to the law where he will surely be found guilty of murder? Should he turn the shooter over to his own brutal country where the shooter has already murdered? Should he simply kill the shooter, or should he let him go?
Each medium has its strengths and weaknesses. A moral dilemma is probably best seen in film or television where an actor can express nuances in countenance that can only be dreamt of by artists and the rare pages of the printed word from a masterwork. Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" comes to mind. Such questions just may not be addressed satisfactorily in the pages of a humble comic book. Then again, perhaps it is only the execution in The Lone Ranger. I cannot be certain.
The creative team try to give the question of due process gravitas, but the attempt fails. The art is too introspective, and it borders on the pretentious. Having the Ranger, his thoughts kept in mystery, seen from behind as the sun sets and the sky fades to black just looks rather cheap and lazy rather than deep. Basically, the artist had to do little except mark xes where the black was supposed to be. The writer did nothing at all.
The effect of the scene depends on the inferences of readers. For me, it's just not a big deal. I feel that any Lone Ranger fan would be shocked if this incarnation, however updated, simply shot a silver bullet through the murderer's brain. Execution has never been the Ranger's game. That's the bailiwick of the Spider, the Shadow and the early Bat-Man and Superman. The art and the story in a sense dance around what's obvious to the audience. It's a slow dance not a jitterbug.
An extraordinarily dull issue of The Lone Ranger suffers from decompressive storytelling and repetitive art that tries to signify power but ends up whimpering on the pages. The story doesn't really have the weight to warrant such complexity in the characterization, and the best scene occurs when Cavendish discovers a leech among his pack of cowed men.
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