Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Lone Ranger #14
Matthews, Cariello & Cassaday
The latest installment continues with the Scorched Earth arc as the Ranger begins to unravel the mystery. This is a good thing because the reader was largely in the dark until this issue as to what the mystery actually was. We get some more interaction that satisfies and builds character, but we also get some more symbolic and near “moments” between Tonto and the Ranger. It’s a good issue but it isn’t great. The artwork is good but isn’t at the “wow” level we’ve seen in the previous issues.
The issue begins with the unveiling of the classic Lone Ranger costume. Tonto had a joke ready but Ranger shuts him down. I find it interesting that the Ranger is leader and Tonto does what he says, for the most part, but aren’t Tonto’s instincts on the mark as well? Why is it that the Ranger’s hunches carry more weight than Tonto’s? I’m trying to figure out their relationship or their deal because it isn’t explicitly stated on paper. They head to the house where the murder took place.
The house is a mess. Blood, scratch marks on the wall, just brutal. It looks like a wild animal was kept in the there. Eventually they head into town to check in with the local Sheriff who then turns them on to a bar. This is significant because it is presumed the killer is in the bar, but that isn’t what I would have guessed. But the bar contains every person in the town at the time the Ranger and Tonto visit it, so it must have the killer, right? It’s difficult to piece this together. It’s also difficult to comprehend how the entire town is at ease with a strange man in a mask standing in their saloon.
The comic wraps up with the Ranger investigating the murdered victim’s bodies before declaring he has the case solved. The comic contains some other scenes with Cavendish and the Ranger’s nephew, but for the most part the story is centered on the investigation.
The artwork is fairly tame except for two scenes that help tell an excellent visual story. The Ranger visits a little girl in a coma whose mother was murdered. This scene captures how human the Ranger really is and how much he cares. Sure the dialogue is potent, but without words the drawing tells a powerful tale. The second scene is when they visit the morgue. It’s gruesome because you see the torn up hand and nails that matched the scratching on the walls from the crime scene. In some ways it’s worse to see just the hand of the victim instead of the ravaged body just knowing how the crime scene had looked. Beyond that the art work doesn’t leave too many impressions as previous issue had done.
This issue is good but not great. There are too many scenes that are difficult to understand what is really happening in them, especially for a new reader. Both the Cavendish scene and the nephew scene seem so underdeveloped that I was actually checking to see if I skipped a page. The crime investigation is good but we get too little in the explanation department. I understand there needs to be some mystery but the Ranger could reveal some of his mindset to Tonto or maybe Silver, someone. In the end it’s a good issue but it isn’t the same gold that was struck in previous issues.
3 out of 5 geek goggles