REVIEW: “The Lone Ranger” Annual 2013

(Dynamite Entertainment, 2013)

Review by Brad Gischia

Written by – Shannon Eric Denton
Art by – Matt Triano
Colors by – Dinei Ribeiro
Letters by – Rob Steen
Cover by – Colton Worley

*Limited Spoilers

I’ve said before how much I love westerns.  From the old Rifleman TV series I watched with my grandmother, to Firefly, everything about the genre is exciting and inspiring.  So what better way to introduce someone to it than through one of the greatest and longest running western stories in popular culture?

The Lone Ranger has often been seen in comics and television, cartoons and the movies, but has recently gotten more attention due to the Jerry Bruckheimer film of this year.  The Ranger himself came into being as a radio show developed around 1933 in Detroit.  In 1948, Western Publishing launched a book that ran 145 issues.  Western was a partner with Dell Comics, and when they split in 1962, Dell published its own Lone Ranger title.  All of this leads to Dynamite Entertainment, and in 2006 they ran a mini-series focusing on the masked man and his sidekick, Tonto.  It was such a success that Dynamite has continued to publish Ranger comics, and in July of this year released The Lone Ranger Annual.

This follows the tradition of annual comics, giving us basically a longer story, a piece of history that we can add to the Lone Ranger folklore, which helps to round out a character that is shrouded in mystery.  What drives a man to don a mask and fight crime?  Isn’t that the question we ask of most superheroes?

Writer Shannon Eric Denton is no newbie to writing.  He has scripted several cartoons shows, as well as the full length Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.  He has published comics with Arcana, Desperado Publishing, and Image, and he doesn’t pull any punches when diving into this story.

We start with a flashback.  Oklahoma Territory 1858, and the taking of a killer and thief named simply “Bob”.  He escapes and kills the sheriff who took him in.  Eleven years later, a costumed gunslinger known simply as “Devil Gun” has been hunting down anyone who rode with Bob Burdine, now the territorial governor.  For a character as iconic as the Lone Ranger, in a book by the same name, we don’t see the hero until the sixth page.  Despite that, I liked Devil Gun, a dark version of the masked man, who emulates his dress, right down to the mask.

The Ranger catches up to him minus Tonto, who makes no appearance in the book.  The question posed at the end of the story is one that we would ask of any hero.  How far past the law should any one individual go?  When does the line between vengeance and justice get crossed?  Who should cross that line?

This book is all that and more, with beautiful art by Matt Triano, who manages to keep Devil Gun in shadow and at the same time helps to ramp up the tension in the book by the characters’ posture alone.

This book serves as a great intro to the Lone Ranger series from Dynamite.  It’s a good jumping on point for a new reader, and a great addendum to the Lone Ranger mythos for those familiar with his blue jacket and red kerchief.  Hi-Yo Silver!

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Follow Brad Gischia on Twitter:  @comicwasteland

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