Review: Zorro Rides Again #2

Matt Wagner continues the adventures of the crusading hero while showing us the anguish of his father, who has learned the truth of his son's identity.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Zorro Rides Again #2

When last we left the man known in the shadows of night only as El Zorro, but in the bright of day as Don Diego de la Vega, much had transpired.  Unbeknownst to him, his very own father had discovered his secret dual identity and has been struggling with his feelings of shame about doubting the man his son had become.  What's more, tragedy struck when Zorro arrived at the San Fernando Mission mere moments too late to prevent the thugs of the villainous Alcalde Quintero from killing a farmer and his young daughter, leaving the mother devastated.  Even the best of us have their failures.  As a monk caring for the widow says in Zorro Rides Again #2, "alas he is, after all, only one man."

Matt Wagner's story has all the makings of a classic western tale – the swashbuckling hero, the nefarious men in positions of power attempting to destroy innocent families in order to get at a secret fortune in gold and their brutish henchman who has been amusingly made into Zorro's personal whipping boy on more than one occasion – and that belligerent Sgt. Gonzales gets another Mark of Zorro to add to the growing collection of scars on his face in this latest issue. 

Unfortunately, the art of Esteve Polls is leaving a lot to be desired in this new series.  I was relatively okay with it during The Lone Ranger: The Death of Zorro despite its inconsistency because there were some nice elements to it that really helped shape the mood of that story.  Even in these first two issues, there are some cool depictions of Zorro in action.  For the most part, though, it is just becoming frustrating here.  That said, one of the more troubling aspects is likely a coloring error on the part of Oscar Manuel Martin or just some communication issues in general.  Lolita, who came to Don Diego at the end of the last issue wearing black to ask for his help, but at the start of this issue, she's wearing a yellow dress with an orange-brown scarf draped over her hair – the same exact colors and arrangement our tragic widow is wearing one page later as she takes refuge in a monestary, leading to a good deal of confusion, since the two women are drawn to look remarkably similar – a recurring problem with Polls.  After noticing a mole on Lolita's cheek as a handy way to tell the two apart, of course, she shows up later in #2 without that mole, and the widow is dressed in the black Lolita was wearing in #1.  It's not enough to ruin the story, but it's enough to make it harder for Wagner's tale than it should be.

What's most compelling is Alejandro de la Vega, Don Diego's father, dealing with the aftermath of his discovery of his son's secret identity as a legendary hero, when all his life he's believed Don Diego to be nothing more than a frivolous wastrel and a lout.  Unable to see how his own fight against injustice must have inspired his son, he instead is convinced that Diego did not share this secret with him out of shame for him.  The sudden, drastic shift in their dynamic – one which Diego is currently unaware of – has him reeling, and it's a unique and interesting take on how a family responds to finding out one of their own is essentially a superhero. 

So far, Zorro Rides Again is a good old-fashioned tale of western justice about to be served.  We only hope that tale could be more consistently served by the art.