Overview

Zorro Rides Again #1

Review

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Zorro Rides Again #1

Credits

  • Words: Matt Wagner
  • Art: Esteve Polls
  • Colors: Oscar Manuel Martin
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Aug 3, 2011

Zorro is a turn of the century, swashbuckling bandit who fights greedy businessmen and the armies at their disposal, all in the name of his fellow countrymen. He’s a romantic hero; noble, agile, and the best swordsman in the west. Thanks to decades of media involving Zorro, from radio programs, television series, and recent movies, everyone is familiar. Maybe not with the details of his origin, but most people definitely know his purpose and role in society. 

In issue one of this current series, writer Matt Wagner wisely skips the origin and moves directly into what seems like the middle of Zorro’s career. He is already known and, in some slimy circles, reviled. Wagner takes care of exposition through the eyes of his father, Alejandro de la Vega, discovering evidence that points to his cavalier son being El Zorro. His son, Diego de la Vega, is a seeming playboy and rogue incapable of placing his life before others. Alejandro is torn over how he feels about the fact that his son very well may be Zorro. In one thought, he is proud that his son is a stronger man than he thought, but in another, he is sad. Sad that his son risks his life every night and even sadder that Diego was either too ashamed to tell his father or didn’t trust him enough. It’s a very intriguing aspect to the secret identity conflict that isn’t explored as much. That of the people that find out and are forced the question why they weren’t trusted.

As fun as a good swordfight can be, this first chapter by Wagner and artist Esteve Polls unfortunately lags in spots. This break in pace, although necessary for the more macro elements of plot being laid out, really messes with the momentum of Rides Again, almost to the point of requiring revisit (putting down a comic and picking it back up later). Everything in this issue belongs, but gets bogged down by heavy text boxes, chronology, and important names of people you haven’t met yet. It becomes a surprisingly dense read in parts.

But boy, does it pick back up when Zorro returns to the panels. Polls' art, coupled with colors by Oscar Manuel Martin, is wonderful. The pencils are kinetic when necessary and stationary when the scene calls for it, all brought together with the consistency and sun-drenched color scheme Martin is using. Martin’s contrast between day and night, using the moon as his only light source in some scenes, is really quite impressive and peaceful (that is until the action starts). 

Aside from some pacing issues that will hopefully pay off in the grander scheme of things, Zorro Rides Again #1 is a fun opening chapter to this latest exploration of El Zorro and his unending battle for justice.

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