Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: Lone Ranger: Snake of Iron #1

We open with a group of renegade Indians trying to steal some horses. A young boy catches them as one of the renegades sneaks up behind him brandishing a knife. Really would he have killed a kid I mean the boy is just a boy and while I know that during this time period the Indians were described as savages, though I know better, I don’t see them just killing a boy. It’s a moot point as the Lone Ranger comes and diffuses the situation.

Upon riding back to their camp and talking to the tribal elders we learn that a horse spirit has been seen and guides them to war. The Ranger asks for time to see this for himself and either disprove or prove their claim, so they agree to hold off war for now. The elder asks if his companion will be joining him, a perfect segue to Tonto.

The dialogue here is utterly fantastic! This is one of the reasons I don’t mind reading anything Chuck writes because he’s always putting out some of the highest quality work I’ve ever seen. The conductor doesn’t know who Tonto is and is treating him with extreme prejudice. When a man leans in and whispers in his ear exactly who Tonto is his attitude does a one hundred eighty degree turn to sweet as sugar. I loved this exchange it was so very well done.

Civilized, yeah if the white man really were at this time they wouldn’t feel the need to impose their will upon those who believe differently. This is the Indians land and the white man are the invaders and yet they consider the indigenous population savages and it’s their duty to civilize them. Pshaw is all I have to say about that.

The Lone Rangers finds the ghost horse but in reality it turns out to be a Camel. Now what on Earth is a camel doing in the wild west in this era? Who would have access to renting out a camel in the first place this seems kind of strange to me but it’s also pretty darn neat too. Considering the Indians have never seen a Camel and to them this is a spirit, an omen to go to war. Now it’s being ridden by a young woman who is an investigative journalist from Chicago trying to make a name for herself. It is also quite evident that she is out of her element completely.

On the train there is a young Indian boy being taken east to Pennsylvania for schooling and to be civilized. The boy is escorted by an “enlightened” white man whose exchange with Tonto is again some of the better dialogue in the book. We also learn some thing important here from the boy, his father is a chief.

Really as the Lone Ranger comes upon a camp and the danger to him and the woman mounts we see the danger to Tonto aboard the train come to a head. We’ll see how things unfold from here next issue.

This is a much more complex and interesting story than I was expecting and it is thoroughly enjoyable and though provoking. Esteve’s art inside seems to be inspired as well. Making this book a standout surprise for the week.

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