Matthews opens the book with the Ranger and Silver becoming the perfect team of man and horse. Cariello illustrates Silver handsomely. In the annals of television, no horse ever came close to matching Silver's beauty. Trigger, Tornado, Fury all paled in comparison. Cariello does that magnificent steed justice.
The first move the Ranger makes is a classic, and Cariello expertly stages the sequence. Usually directors shoot the traditional scenario of a cowboy jumping onto his horse from long and/or back. Cariello starts with a forward perspective splash page, drops down to the Ranger's viewpoint and then expresses Silver's momentum and the Ranger's landing from the side. He increases the level of excitement and daring by defying conventional angles.
Tonto in a spooky moment manifests on the trail and he pulls off a move against a group of bandits conducting a stage jacking that's so cool that I can forgive his strike being completely impossible, or at the very least highly improbable. How Tonto avoided being squashed by speeding horses and a stage going at breakneck speed is a mystery. The Ranger slaps Tonto's hands and enters the ring for the coup de grace. Again, Cariello chooses an unexpected and more dynamic angle to show the Ranger in motion.
In a humorous instance, the Powers That Be of the plains warn the Ranger not to get too cocky and start being a zealot to his own legend. Cariello emphasizes the danger and humor using space. Marcelo Pinta facilitates Cariello's intent with a clear blue sky and just a puff of white cloud. The wide open contrasts the puniness of the stage. The distance spells out impending doom and instills amusement through an allusion to a certain hapless coyote.
The rousing conclusion to the stagecoach set piece demonstrates the smooth partnership that Tonto and the Ranger have forged. The dialogue between Tonto and the Ranger during the stagecoach robbery is sparse, yet meaningful. The joke the Ranger makes gains substance when he and Tonto return to the homestead of Linda Reid. It's a rather beautiful, warm moment and a fine testament to Matthews' skill.
At the Reid home, the Ranger makes a decision. I would really like to see Matthews follow through on the romance. While it's clear that young Dan Reid will be the father of the first Green Hornet, I would still like to see the Ranger begin a legacy with Linda or at the very least get some. I'm rather tired of sexless heroes. I'm not asking for explicitness or cosmos forbid burlesque, just an inclination.
To be perfectly honest I never thought I would see another issue of The Lone Ranger. Was the latest worth the wait? Yes.
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