The Lone Ranger #14 (Dynamite Entertainment): Brett Matthews and Sergio Cariello, with a delicious as usual cover assist from John Cassaday, give us a murder mystery set against the Old West. Our titular hero and Tonto feel just like modern day cops at a crime scene; it's got that grisly, mysterious perpetrator feel that's a perfect blend of two different styles of genre fiction. The murder also hits close to home for The Lone Ranger, as it involves a child left without parents. One or two cheesy quips aside (I know they're designed as homage, but... ick!), this arc is scripted well and is shaping up to be something a little different than what we're accustomed to. Cariello's pencils boast a more restrained and refined line, as if there's been an increased conscious effort on detail. Noticeable are finer lines in the folds of the clothing and amid the shadows on the faces. The Lone Ranger is really proof that there's something to be said for a strong and linear approach to storytelling, it can be impactful with a relative simplicity and clarity of the ideas presented, all amid a time of convoluted "summer" spectacles that now seem to last all year, if not in perpetuity. Grade B+.
Invincible Iron Man #6 (Marvel): The art deco inspired variant cover, with its washed out crimson hue, is very attractive! It's nice to see Tony as tactician, with lines like “a high-pitched whine hiding on the edge of hearing.” Oh Matt Fraction, you clever devil you! It’s really the little things, isn't it? In the hands of a lesser writer, it would have just said "a high-pitched whine," and that would have sufficed for description. But Fraction gives us the extra little flourish; lines like this make you stop and think for a second to notice their beautiful style of prose. Larroca's pencils still bear some residual photoref (I swear Maria Hill is Jessica Alba, with those pouty lips, smoldering bedroom eyes, and near flawless skin...), but overall his art is settling down. It's largely clean and clear without that distracting energy it can sometimes possess. The EMP has sort of become a go-to deus ex machina in a lot of recent pop culture offerings, but oh well, we still get a good old fashioned fist fight too. Ezekiel does sorta' have a point, Tony sells the weapons, then forbids their use (to some), and hunts them down hypocritically: “I don’t bill the people I kill, Tony.” It's still not the new SHIELD Helicarrier that Tony bragged about, which we saw in Mighty Avengers' first arc, (I like this one better, the new one was ugly anway), but I'm just sayin'... continuity's continuity. I like the somber and illuminating end to this first arc. It will be interesting to see how Fraction handles the next arc featuring Spidey with the post-Civil War tension. Grade B+.
I also picked up;
Queen & Country: Definitive Edition: Volume 3 (Oni Press): Being the third in a series of four, collecting the last two “regular series” arcs titled Operation Saddlebags (which is one of the best voyeuristic views into Tara’s mental descent... also note that it is "Saddlebags" with an "s" as found in previous collections, there is a small typo in the TOC that lists it as "Saddlebag," sans "s") and Operation Red Panda, along with the Q&C Script Book. The fourth collection will assumably collect all of the (3) Queen & Country: Declassified mini-series.