Zorro #13

After a few issues of this title, I have come to the startling conclusion that it has to be difficult to script and/or illustrate a sword fight. As things are heating up in California, Zorro is setting about once more to mete out justice, to save the oppressed and topple the oppressors, or something like that. The action in this issue is based around a swordfight that poses a challenge to design and deliver, as it certainly challenged my ability to comprehend when Zorro took a blade to the belly.

Wagner, nonetheless, leaves little uncertainty regarding the lines of righteousness and greed in this title. This issue could easily be the gateway issue for many a reader, offering a tale of good versus evil and honor challenging duty.

Razek's art is solid and workmanlike, strong in many areas and fluid enough to accept the scripted challenges that Matt Wagner throws his way. The reproduction of Razek's art is inconsistent, however, as certain pages transmit the softness of being colored from pencil work while others remove that softness for bitter harshness and patterned coloring. The layouts Razek chooses, however, offer a frequently unnecessary challenge to the reader. Panels on slight angles do not make the scene as dramatic as heavier angles do while some of the slight angles would allow for a smoother visual transition for the reader.

This title has not presented the fastest moving story in the history of comic books, but it has proceeded with a very determined plot. In this issue we are treated to quite a bit more swordsplay and interaction from Zorro than in previous issues, but the next issue seems to offer more still.

Wagner and company have done an admirable job translating Zorro's adventures to the four-color world. Unfortunately, "Zorro" hasn't found a way to make the leap to the top of comics racks or reading piles as deftly as Zorro leaps to the saddle upon his trusty steed, Toronado.

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