The Lone Ranger/Green Hornet: Champions of Justice
Writer: Michael Uslan
Artist: Giovanni Timpano
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
Every time I crack open one of these Lone Ranger trades from Dynamite comics, I expect that it will finally begin to feel played out, but that’s yet to happen. I came in with particularly low expectations for this dual IP crossover, and instead came away with a story that will always link these two characters in my mind. I don’t know if this is essentially an Elseworlds tale for the Lone Ranger, but if not it is certainly a must read for the ending for both the Lone Ranger and Tonto.
Although there are a few flashbacks in this five issue series, all strung together they are probably less than one actual issue in length. Instead this is a story focusing on The Lone Ranger and his great nephew, the man who becomes the Green Hornet. I didn’t realize all the similarities between the two characters until the sidekicks started making an appearance. Both of them wear masks, use non-lethal techniques, and have a ethic sidekick who is actually much more dangerous and interesting than they are.
Of course, by the time the Green Hornet is on the scene, the Lone Ranger is a relic from an older time. Horse transportation has been replaced by automobile (or horse power, as the Lone Ranger makes repeated bad puns to point out). Also, it’s much tougher to maintain a secret identity with the 20th century press and technology. The book serves as a sort of origin story for the Green Hornet (at least for the idea of the character, not so much for his weapon or Kato). For the Lone Ranger and Tonto, it is a final mission.
Aside from the bad puns (“I’m as mad as a hornet! is shouted at least three times), there is a bit too much in the way of coincidences bringing everything together at the end, but I didn’t mind being manipulated because it was a very fun and high stakes story to intertwine the two main characters. As a Lone Ranger fan, I was glad to see it is much more of a Lone Ranger story than a Green Hornet one, and I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much if I was coming just for the other feller.
I’ve found the art on these books to be routinely very good, and this was no exception. The characters are very striking, with plenty of cool images just drawn to take advantage of their iconic designs. The only problem I had with it was near the end there was a crucial moment where two characters take a long fall and I had a hard time figuring out if everything was intentional or accidental.