I write comic book reviews that NOBODY has ever asked for!
This series leads off exactly where the previous Dynamite Zorro series ended. . .but a full year and a half later. Why they took so long to continue the story, I don't know. It reminds me of how a season of a show like Walking Dead or Game of Thrones will end on a cliffhanger and pick up later on exactly where they left off. But unlike those shows, from the looks of the back issue values and print run numbers, it doesn't seem like anyone was particularly anxious to learn how this particular cliffhanger worked out.
ANYWAY. . .
ZORRO RIDES AGAIN (Dynamite)
This first issue picks up at the exact moment the last issue of Zorro left off, with Diego's father discovering his secret hideout below the De La Vega hacienda. Most of this issue re-introduces all of the characters from the earlier series, as well as sets up a new conflict in the Alcalde moving into a new territory (the San Fernando valley) and Zorro determined to foil his plans.
Mostly introduction and setup, but there's promise here, especially since Wagner is still on scripts. The new artist is no Francavilla, but the art is very nice, if not as dark and moody as I'd like a Zorro comic to be. And the cover! I'd love that as a poster. One of the best Zorro pictures I've seen!
Still a strong start for this series, with the Alcalde and his henchmen stepping up the plot to steal Don Pulido's land and the gold beneath it, Don Alejandro trying to deal with his discovery that his son is Zorro, and in the aftermath of the Alcalde's first attacks on San Fernando, a woman who saw her family killed seems set on revenge. Still a lot of re-introduction to the plot threads from the first series, but it doesn't feel forced. All in all a good read. I just wish the story would move out of exposition mode.
The beginning of this series seems to be a bit of a slow burn, touching on the same themes of the previous issues. . .Don Alejandro coming to terms with his son being Zorro, The Alcalde's plot to steal Don Pulido's land, and Major Pasquale's counterplot with the Alcalde's wife to do away with him once the wealth of the Pulidos is theirs. We also get to see more of the un-named woman from the first issue as she continues on her own search for Zorro.
Again, it's well written and the art is good, but three issues in (a quarter of the entire run) and we're still in exposition mode.
Looks like things are about to get real! In the process of arresting Don Pulido on trumped up charges, Major Pasquale kills Don Alejandro during a duel. As his father later dies in DIego's arms, his last words reveal that he knew the truth about his son being Zorro. There's no way Zorro's going to let THAT slide! It looks like the threads are finally weaving together on this series.
Zorro is out for revenge against the man who murdered his father. . .and during an epic sword duel in a burning horse stable, he reveals his secret identity to Major Pasquale. This isn't going to end well for one of them. But we don't find out who in this issue, which ends on a cliffhanger. A great, fast read. I can also see some improvement in the art. It was already pretty good, but there's some really nice panels in this issue.
In the wake of Don De La Vega's death, the Alcalde flees, leaving Major Pasquale to deal with the uprising that results. In an epic confrontation during the riot, Diego reveals his identity as Zorro and kills Major Pasquale. After all the chaos, Sergeant Gonzalez is stripped of rank and removed from the military. At the end of the issue we see him cutting "Z" all over his body and blaming Zorro for his misfortune. He names himself "El Galgo" and swears revenge.
A fine issue that resolves most of the plotlines from the original series. . .but Gonzalez giving himself a new name and carving "Z" all over himself concerns me a bit. The previous Zorro series from Topps went overboard with trying to give Zorro a superhero-style rogues gallery. Hopefully this isn't the direction Wagner is deciding to go with this series.
First the good. . .the new artist for this arc is fantastic! I've said that I consider Francavilla the best artist for Zorro, but John K. Snyder III comes in a VERY close second. Every panel of this issue is great. I love how he draws Zorro as a shadow constantly in motion, with only a hint of detail.
Now the bad. As I feared, it looks like "El Galgo" AKA Sergeant Gonzalez is going to become a sort of supervillain for Zorro. Unfortunate. No wonder this series only lasted 12 issues if the creators decided they HAD to have themed supervillains in it. I give this issue 3 stars instead of 2 because of the new artist only.
As if giving Zorro a supervillain wasn't enough, it looks like Wagner is building the un-named woman we met in the first issue who saw her family killed in front of her up into some sort of sidekick character, or possibly another villain. Either way, I see shades of the failure of the Topps Zorro in this series now. Well. . .at least Snyder III's artwork is still top-notch. I have a sinking feeling this series won't end well. . .
Oh Lawd! "Lady Zorro" makes her first appearance. Is she going to be a sidekick or a villain? Why, Matt Wagner? WHY? Is Zorro such a shallow character that you ran out of ideas and had to provide him with a rogue's gallery?
You gave us a perfect origin story in your first arc. . .a pretty good defining of the dual character of DIego and Zorro in your second. . .a fantastic Rashomon-style interpretation of Zorro through the eyes of others in the third. . .and a defining of what makes Zorro a hero in the fourth (the first of this series). Now it turns to standard superhero tropes? Say it ain't so!
"Lady Zorro" (Couldn't they come up with a better name, for God's sake?) isn't as concerned with honorable battles and fair play as Zorro, and as she massacres any soldiers she finds, Zorro takes the blame because of the Z's she cuts into her victims. As the landowners become nervous, Zorro resolves to find the killer. Villain turns into sidekick, anyone? Why, Wagner? Why did you do this? The worst part is that the art is so damn good!
ASS-TASTIC! How about that cover? This series quickly turned into a joke. No wonder we haven't had a new Zorro series since 2012. It fell victim to the same thing the earlier Topps series did. . .supervillains and cheesecake. Am disappoint.
Zorro finally confronts Lady Zorro, the disagree and fight, only to be interrupted by El Galgo. I'm sure a team-up will ensue. Why are there superhero comic tropes in my Zorro comics, Wagner? I wish I could at least still say the art is great, but most of the first half of the book looks sketchy and unfinished. I'm sorry, Zorro fans. . .I had nothing to do with it and I'm still sorry.
Thank God it's over.
As expected from last issue's "cliffhanger", Zorro and Lady Zorro team up to defeat El Galgo, then Zorro takes Robin to the Batcave and reveals his identity. . .to a person who he only met a few hours before, who got him blamed for mercilessly killing a bunch of soldiers, and tried to kill him when he told her revenge was no bueno.
A disappointing ending for a series that started strong. It feels rushed, forced, and seems to serve only to introduce a cheesecake female Zorro at the expense of a classic character. A damn shame is what it is.
This short-lived series started strong, and the first half was very nicely done.
But then. . .
As soon as I saw the words "Lady Zorro" a handful of issues back, I knew this series wasn't going to end well, and it didn't. As a matter of fact, it ended so unwell that Zorro hasn't had a regular series since.
Up next. . .
What happens when you mix Chtulu and Marvel superheroes? You get Invaders Now!
Be there or be square!
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