The stakes in this series are high, real, and undeniable. Death has become a humdrum standard in comics, but when addressing the demise of a fictional character as legendary as Zorro, the story needs to rise up. Ande Parks brings a strong story with vibrant characters to this meeting of legends. Unfortunately, as is revealed in the preview for this issue, “Death of Zorro” isn’t a mere marketing ploy. Zorro is truly dead.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto ride into California to reclaim Zorro for a proper burial. They bury the man’s body, but in doing so discover they must also set out to deliver justice for the way that Zorro met his end. Parks tells the story of why the Lone Ranger should care about Zorro and the significant influence Zorro had upon the fate of the Reid family. It’s a compelling story that seems to have been waiting to be told for generations now. Parks does the story justice without making the link between the two legends feel forced or unnatural.
Esteve Polls and Oscar Manuel Martin make the story earthy and rugged. The people shown here – Don Diego, Reid (elder and junior), Tonto, and the many lives crossed by them – are depicted with detail and filled with character. There are no generic figures or faces here. Even moving in silhouette, many of the characters are discernible. Martin’s colors fill the pages with splendor of the Old American Southwest. There are purple mountains majesty, blazing orange sunsets, and splendid costumes filling the panels of this issue. The art is a well-matched suitor to the story, which is building up steam here.
The sides in this battle are drawn. The characters are moving into place and the odds are stacked against the heroes, just as they should be in any dramatic story of yesteryear featuring Zorro or the Lone Ranger. The end of this issue adds a nice surprise that is certain to have impact to the remaining three issues of this series. This issue, however, is well-crafted and worth reading, even if you’ve somehow missed the first issue. Parks’ story is clear and strong. The legends certainly deserve no less.