And Then I Read: THE LONE RANGER Definitive Edition Vol. 1

Images © Classic Media Inc.

This handsome oversized boxed hardcover matches DC’s Absolute format, and collects the first twelve issues of the series from Dynamite written by Brett Matthews, art by Sergio Cariello (with a small section by Paul Pope), covers and design by John Cassaday. It looks great in every way, and was a joy to read. I’m not a big western stories fan, but I did enjoy the Lone Ranger TV show in my youth. This storyline definitely refers to that in places, but it’s a darker, more violent approach to the character’s world and motivations, though the character of John Reid, the Lone Ranger himself, comes across as a good man, and even something of a pure soul, driven to sometimes dark feelings of revenge for the deaths of his father and brothers, an ambush murder that almost kills John himself. John is rescued by a lone Indian, Tonto of course, and again this version of Tonto is somewhat darker and more realistic than the TV version, which is certainly a good thing. The passage through near death to rebirth as a heroic figure is handled well by writer Matthews, and I like even more his villains, secondary characters, and the authentic feel of the language and settings, all very well done.

The art by Sergio Cariello is wonderful. It has a Joe Kubert feel in places, so I was not surprised to learn that Cariello was a Kubert School student who loved learning from Joe. The action scenes are vivid and thrilling, the character moments touching and real. The covers by Cassady are also terrific. Great work throughout.

This story stayed with me as I read it, I kept thinking about it during the days it took me to read the entire thing, something which doesn’t happen often. I don’t remember specific episodes of the TV show anymore except for the “origin” story, of which this is a parallel in some ways. I found it reached me in a way that few comics do at my present age, and that made the reading experience all the better.

Highly recommended!

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