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Lone #1 By Matt Martin
Dark Horse Comics Ė Stuart Moore (w); Jerome Opena (a)
Lone is what could accurately be described a ďWeird WestĒ book. Itís not technically a Western, I guess, because it doesnít take place during the time period that we, as Americans, typically identify with that culture known as the Wild West though it definitely maintains some of the feel of the films of that genre (with a twist, of course). Lone takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, not unlike Mad Max or something, the decimated remains of a civilization crushed by nuclear and biological warfare.
Across that dystopian landscape are scattered settlements, ramshackle affairs populated by the bedraggled survivors of a world gone violently mad who are terrorized by a wide variety of radioactive mutants (such as an impossibly large boar) and flesh-eating zombies. Our introduction to this world is given through the narration of a girl named Luke (the best shot in town), tracking a pack of zombies across the blasted terrain, seeking revenge for the death of her friend. Trailing the walking dead to their hideout, Luke discovers that a glowing, vaguely humanoid-shaped creature is giving the orders, something she clearly didnít expect. When their leader discovers her, Luke fires a volley of shots into the zombie mob and high-tails it back home, where she finds that the undead have taken over several houses in town and are expected to make a move for the rest. With her family fleeing into the hills to seek shelter, Luke and her brother are dispatched westward (where else?) in the family truck to seek the aid of a man known only as Lone.
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Pretty decent start, I thought. Not great, because itís been done before, but thatís OK, because the delivery is just as important as the story in a book like this. So, naturally, the book pretty much falls apart afterwards.
To make a long story short, Moore basically lifts Clint Eastwood out of Unforgiven, calls him Lone and sits his geriatric ass down inside a tarpaper shack (with an airlock, no less) in the middle of a toxic no manís land, complete with the protestations that heís no longer a gun-for-hire. And complete with a return his former ways, albeit with none of the pathos of Eastwoodís role, when more zombies inexplicably burst into his home. There are some implications that Lone finds something familiar about Lukeís description of the zombieís leader, but thatís about it.
Basically, I just canít think of a reason why I, when I already read more than enough books in a given week, should add Lone to a pull-list as long as some people are tall (granted, those people are children; itís still a big list). The first issue is entertaining enough, but in a ďblah blah, Iíve already seen thisĒ sort of way. Itís like reading Garth Ennisí Just a Pilgrim, but without the promise of comedic violence or genuine camaraderie that an Ennis-penned book generally carries (and, for the record, I was none too impressed with the aforementioned book either).
In the end, the saving grace of Loneís first issue might be the simple fact that this week was a fairly light week for comics. If Moore could somehow convince Dark Horse to only release his book on weeks when they wasnít any strong competition, itíd probably do alright. Itís that kind of book, the kind that you could stand to read on a week when you didnít get any of your favorite titles and needed something else to kill time on, but one that youíd pass right over when you see a shelf full of books like Fables and Y and New X-Men.
Not much a review, I know, but then again, itís not much of a book. Itís simply mediocre; itís by no means the worst book Iíve ever read, but itís certainly not good and itís not worth three dollars either.