“I’ve had all I can stomach of people using God to rationalize their own bloodly agendas. The God I pray to…the God my mother taught me about…He wouldn’t see all these men die for what they’ve done.” ~The Lone Ranger
After two months, Native Ground continues. This arc has been divided between the Ranger bringing Tonto to a Native American tribe and flashbacks. The latter took over the story, establishing a very interesting back-story for our Native American friend. This issue on the other hand focuses on the Ranger and his quest to find the ‘Ute Healer.’ While I have been greatly enjoying reading about Tonto, it’s good to see the Ranger back as the main character, I had forgotten what a great focus he can be. The penultimate issue is packed with a great story, very good writing, and is definitely one of the best Lone Ranger comics I’ve read.
Here’s the official description from Dynamite:
As Tonto’s gunshot wound festers, the Lone Ranger will do whatever it takes to save his friend. The Ranger joins forces with a band of Ute Indian braves, on a daring mission to save the tribe’s healer from the settlers who kidnapped him. The gods who foresaw a fortune of blood and suffering for Tonto may now claim them as their own. Part five of the epic and character-defining Native Ground arc.
This issue starts out with Silver riding into the moonlight, accompanied by a text from the book of Psalms, a very nice touch. A day and an half earlier, we see the Ranger not accepting Tonto’s demise and is desperate to find the Ute Healer. After some convincing, he heads off with tribe member Tasunke, among a few others. Ande Parks is ahead of the game in this one, nailing the dialogue from all the parties. We never for a second think this is taking place in modern day 2012, the writing firmly compliments the 1800 era. The Ranger has many memorable lines, the one I quoted on top being my favorite. This issue isn’t action heavy with punches and kicks, rather it’s heavy on the action in the dialogue. We see the Ranger talking to an American about that even though Tasunke broke the deal, he and his brethren don’t deserve to die. Tasunke is written pretty well. We see in the beginning he wants to kill the Ranger, but later the words spoken from the latter appears to move the Indian. Some really great dialogue in this one.
Regarding art, it’s good. There’s not too much exposition, since this is more of a dialogue issue. The backgrounds are simple, sometimes you see trees and hills, it really compliments the Western setting. (It would be interesting see the Ranger dropped in a New York-like setting.) Did I mention how great the horses look on the opening page? The cover is a very retro piece, showing Tonto’s face in the background with the Ranger and Silver on it. A simplistic, but effective cover. The ending is rather intriguing. I was disappointed by the ‘To be Concluded’ text at the bottom, two months is going to be a long time for this fantastic arc to reach its finish.
Overall, a great issue of The Lone Ranger. The title character takes center stage after a few issues of being to the side, and he hasn’t been better. The writing hits the ball out of the park, and the story keeps you reading. The Lone Ranger is a truly good comic, this issue is an example of how engaging it can get.