Volume 8, which collects issues 19-25, finishes the series and its exploration of the bonds created by two men of very diverse cultural backgrounds. As with previous volumes, historically accurate details are interwoven with the personal stories of the Lone Ranger and Tonto to give a humanistic side to a pair most know as a caricature. The ranger and his companion are fleshed out and given nuances and backgrounds; easy answers are avoided and their moral decisions, for right or wrong, explored.
Story: this volume again collects several short stories, each exploring a specific theme: the affect of tourist buffalo hunting on Native Americans, train robbers whose goal is to help Indians fight back by hijacking weapons, a family lost in the snow in Denver with a newborn, Tonto’s horse, the death of an historic Abilene sheriff, a native woman who is about to be hanged for not bringing rain as she promised to a drought stricken land, and revenge/betrayal on a posse.
At 178 pages, there is a lot here to enjoy. The stories may sound simple but each is a complex tale with historical, physical, mental, and philosophical implications. E.g., Tonto can stop a train being robbed, innocent killed, but when he learns that it is being done to help Indians and get them weapons to defense themselves, should he still be on the side of the ‘law’ knowing he is helping the genocide of his own people? Or a ‘Wild Bill” type showmaster will have to grapple with his own guilt about making money through bringing tourists to shoot at buffalo from a moving train – destroying a species and impoverishing natives in the process. Issues of god(s), faith, and hope come up often in each of the stories.
This is definitely a title for the mature and one well worth reading from start to conclusion. Events/characters from stories in earlier issues often have importance later; the man Tonto decides not to kill in issue 6 may just end up going on to kill even more later in issue 20.
28 issues is a good run and kept the series from becoming too long or stretched out, yet of sufficient length to let stories overlap in the years 1870 and 1871, from Texas to Kansas, Oklahoma to Denver. Well worth a read for the historical aspects as well as the superb character studies.
Reviewed from an ARC.