Originally, I wasn’t going to read this issue let alone review it, but, then, I read the preview pages and was immediately impressed by Sergio Cariello’s art and slow, methodical pacing of the opening pages. Not only that, but they work incredibly well as a teaser that makes you want to read what happens next. And, thankfully, what happens next matches up to the initial pages in quality.
Sheriff Loring’s attempt to take the Lone Ranger into custody isn’t explained until the end of the issue, but it’s a pretty solid cliffhanger. Meanwhile, the Lone Ranger agrees to work with the Sheriff, while Tonto remains wary, and a politician of some repute buys some weapons. The slow methodical pacing of “The Lone Ranger” #18 means that not a lot happens in the way of plot. Events move forward, but a slower pace than normal. However, where this would be a flaw in many books, the slack pacing works quite well here in the capable hands of Cariello and colorist Marcelo Pinto.
The pacing is very cinematic, allowing the art to convey this different, broad terrain, often emphasizing how wide open things are by juxtaposing the setting with the characters and buildings. Lots of grass and space with small groupings of people or buildings; the landscape is unique and gets its due place here.
Cariello also does very good character work. His Lone Ranger and Tonto aren’t the skinny young men they’re often shown as, with Cariello preferring to drawn them a little bulkier and older as would work with their chosen ‘careers.’ Even the Ranger’s mask has an added level of realism, more a broad clothe than form-fitting mask held on by spirit gum. Pinto’s muted, subdued colors add to the lived-in, not-quite-modern feel of the world and characters. It’s not a bright, shiny, clean world that they live in and the colors reflect that.
Brett Matthews wisely relies on the art to tell the story, obviously influenced by Westerns like the work of Sergio Leone where the visuals do most of the work, lending the few words that are spoken more power. When one character delivers a long speech, it’s a little jarring since, before that, the most dialogue a single panel contained was only a few lines. It makes you stop and take notice of the speech. The little dialogue that Matthews includes is also well-written. A small moment like the politician mentioning that he thought firing a cannon would be more fun adds a lot to the character even though it’s just a single line.
Believe the hype with “The Lone Ranger,” as it’s a very good read, a strongly visual one that demands you slow down and appreciate the gorgeous art. Sergio Cariello and Marcelo Pinto do fantastic work as a team, giving “The Lone Ranger” a unique, stunning look.