For a minor DC Comics western-super hero that got his start way back in ACTION COMICS #42 , THE VIGILANTE (Greg Saunders), really brings ol' school six-gun justice to modern day gangsters!
In this very cool graphic novel, we catch up with Greg Saunders (THE VIGILANTE) trying to revive his "singing cowboy" movie career in 1940's Los Angeles. No longer does he wish to be the motorcycle riding, sharp shooting, trick lariat tossing, bar-room brawling, two-gunned hero and the "no-nonsense" red masked detective that the fans of the golden and silver age comics have come to know and love!
Unfortunately, for Greg Saunders, he is forced to pick up his guns and mask once again! STUFF, The Vigilante's longtime teenage sidekick from many previous adventures, tells Greg Saunders that he's madly in love with this beautiful teenaged Chinese girl, STACEY! STUFF introduces STACEY to our hero and asks Greg Saunders' help to get the lovely STACEY a screen test and an audition for the movies.(While I find this an interesting plot device, 1940's Hollywood was openly racist towards none-white actors. However, teenagers back than and now are all starry-eyed and think that they'll be the one to make it big and to cross over into fame! So, I can go along with this for now.)
Greg Saunders agrees, reluctantly, to help STACEY. Two days later, STACEY just disappears without a trace! She never shows up for her audition and no one knows what happened to her or where she may have gone! STUFF, being deeply hysterical and fearing foul play being involved, desperately asks Greg Saunders (THE VIGILANTE) to don his famous adventurer's garb and to find STACEY!
From there on in?..Dude, it spirals down to a showdown with gangsters, drug runners, pornographers, crooked Mexican cops, numerous wiseguys, the diminutive assassin/arch villain: THE DUMMY, and then turns into a wild slam-bang confrontation with none other than the 1940's infamous mobster himself.....BUGSY SIEGEL!
Hold onto something very solid and that's completely weighted down, you adventure lovers! VIGILANTE: CITY LIGHTS, PRAIRIE JUSTICE doesn't leave much standing after the last page is turned!...This is a good thing!
James Robinson, the comics' writer for this book, has done an amazing job of making a modern day gritty western, but with very delicate finite touches of the silver screen's "Noir"-styled story telling, with a great second tier DC Comics character to boot! I really loved that Robinson shows us that THE VIGILANTE is not just some gun toting hero with a simple or lame western gimmick! THE VIGILANTE, at his heart, is really a morally conscious lawman struggling with the lawlessness around him, a master detective, and a superb strategist. These character traits really jumps off the pages as our hero searches for STACEY in the underground world of 1940's erotica and especially how he then wars with those responsible for her's and STUFF'S eventual downfalls.
I could go on and on about how I really got a big kick out this book! So, let's just end it here!
Oh!..Before I get back to goofing off on the job, I originally had the 4-part comic book mini-series but let those individual issues go so's that I can have the trade paperback edition instead!
I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO A GOLDEN AGE VIGILANTE: DC COMICS ARCHIVES NEXT!