Now here’s something plausible but unexpected, a Lone Ranger/Green Hornet crossover. I say plausible because the time period in which these tales took place would allow for such a crossover to occur. The Ranger very well could have been riding alongside The Hornet, but as far as I’m aware this is the first attempt at such a crossover (and probably the last). I know it’s strange to only talk about issue 5, but I picked up this issue to see if it was worth picking up either the back issues or the TPB*.
I hesitated in buying this title as I’m rather fond of icons such as The Shadow, Green Hornet, The Phantom and Lone Ranger, but I suspected this wasn’t a story that would be told to my satisfaction. As a rule, I haven’t been thrilled with the Green Hornet comics, they tend to lack the edge or modern take on the character that I think he deserves or that I feel was present in his early adventures. More often the writers seem to be more keen on recapturing the tone of the old Green Hornet and in doing so the sprit of the hero is left by the wayside. Nostalgia purely for nostalgia’s sake is rarely any good. If you want the old serials, they’re there for you to enjoy, it’s long been my opinion that with these types of stories and heroes, the rebirth for a new generation often fails to connect because it fails to bring that hero or story into the modern age. A couple good examples I can think of would be the popular films L.A. Confidential or The Untouchables, they were told with modern flair/style yet still set as a period piece, they do not attempt to tell their story in the same style of a 1950 black and white film.
Sadly, it seems my fears were not unwarranted, Lone Ranger and Green Hornet Vol. 1 #5 feels dated and low budget. I realize there’s a market for telling stories that feel dated and that a good portion of the indy comic fanbase loves that low budget feel, but I’m not a part of the group that thinks these are good qualities. Dynamite is a fair sized publisher and my expectations for Dynamite publications are more than my expectations of someone who self publishes. Giovanni Timpano is a capable artist, but this is far from his best work. And while I’ve not read Michael Uslan’s work before, it’s clear here that he can write. But this title to me felt like a struggle between good writing, and what someone might think they were forced to write to please a certain fanbase. The concept here is a good one, not a decent one or a moderately ok one, but a solidly good idea. But the dialog feels forced and dated. Like the worst of the old radio serials, not the best. The Lone Ranger here is an elderly man, barely recognizable and Green Hornet is lacking the convection and tenacity that are typical with him in his past comics. Honestly, I have a hard time thinking too many fans of these heroes would be fond of this tale. I found the heroes nearly unrecognizable. There’s a neat little page at the end of the book that shows the creative team put forth effort and there’s some neat history there, but that’s not enough. There’s a crowd that will certainly enjoy this book, including some of my friends. But new readers and myself aren’t among them.
SPOILERS from here on out…
I found myself, despite my many issues with the title, actually getting somewhat drawn into the concept. My main issues being overall quality, but again I do like the idea. I dove right in, skipping the synopsis/recap on the inside cover and then… I noticed Tonto was missing. I went back to the synopsis and found out they’d made the decision to kill Lone Ranger’s faithful friend off, which I was as unhappy with as I’m sure many fans of the Indian warrior were. This isn’t the only death that felt gimmicky or for shock value, by the end of the book Uslan decided he’d go on and kill off the Lone Ranger himself. The one emotional moment, the funeral scene, was unpolished and rushed. Both the writing and art are inconsistent at best, there’s a few neat moments such as the Green Hornet briefly and for no reason whatsoever riding Silver. But a solid page or two isn’t enough to save a whole book.
I wanted to like this title. I tried to like it, I even read it a second time after a week went by just to see if I was too harsh the first time around, but upon a second reading I found even more that bothered me. Gone was the opportunity to make something of this idea, instead it was reduced to a silly Green Hornet adventure that served only to kill off two beloved American icons. There’s no suspense or thrill to reading this other than any attachment you may have to these two pairs of classic heroes. A whole new generation of readers could have been introduced to these iconic heroes. But instead the creators choose only to service the dwindling fans of these four heroes, and they do even that rather poorly. This book goes to prove that sometimes, a fan isn’t the best person to tell a story. PW
Issue #5, Dynamite, Teen: A utterly underwhelming team up that should have been a fans dream come true, but instead served only to kill off two American icons. 2/10
*Trade Paper Back
From Dynamite: “The Lone Ranger Meets the Green Hornet: Champions of Justice” #5 of 5! In this last issue concluding the saga of the Reid family, the torch finally passes from The Lone Ranger to The Green Hornet… but is the price that must be paid in blood worth it? We cannot provide any more details of this story without using spoilers, but we truly believe our readers will find the denouement uplifting while at the same time being emotionally affected by the intense ending of a tale that has been 80 years in the making!