Zorro #12

Dynamite Entertainment's "Zorro" has been running a very long fuse, slowly building Zorro's world and populating the cast around him. This issue is short on adventure, but deep on seeding the world around Zorro, from the opposition soldiers who are vexed by El Zorro to the company Don Diego keeps when not wearing the mask.

The art in this issue, while clean and brisk is pock-marked with inconsistencies set among the fringe players. Diego, Zorro and Sergeant Gonzalez are all consistently rendered and instantly recognizable, but Captain Ramon -- particularly during the visit from Major Pasquale -- is at the very least capable of shape-shifting, as he is at once Anglo-American and later portrayed with features more in line with a Mexican heritage, including a slightly darker hue to his skin. Perhaps one character left when another arrived in the story, but that was neither addressed in the text nor the panels of this tale.

Additionally, Sergeant Gonzalez, besmirched with a reminder of El Zorro, is harassed by his comrades for missing a meal and a siesta, yet is rendered as a man in considerably athletic military condition.

This tale has been stretching on for quite some time, but as a newcomer to this incarnation of the adventures of Don Diego and his masked alter ego, I had little difficulty acclimating to the setting and found this issue to be intriguing. In a dense comic book market, "Zorro" has survived a year and Wagner appears to have a long-range plan in place for his story. This is not the most ideal entry point for a new reader, especially a new reader who only knows Zorro as a snippet of the inspiration for Batman. Next issue appears to offer a little more excitement with the foreshadowing of a duel alluded to in this issue. This is definitely a title that would benefit from Marvel's method of sharing what came before this issue; especially considering the vast amount of open space in the inside cover.

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