"It would have been a mortal sin to have killed such a beautiful woman" - Zorro
I covered the second story in Sorab Del Rio's two punch first release right about here so this review will focus on the first story The Defeat of Destiny as El Zorro gets his very own Downunder makeover. Oh and also the actual release of the book, oh yes I do have a copy in my grubby paws friends and neighbours.
General Cypher is the new Regent of California and is raging a war of genocide against the indigenous Indian population. He wants their land to grow opium for export to Spain and some as yet unexplained nefarious plan involving medical experiments. Zorro is immediately investigating and in the process battling a never ending army of Spanish soldiers.
Cypher, who was left for dead after an Indian raid, has become ruthless and takes the still beating heart of each defeated Indian Chief to fill with liquid gold as a memento. He launches an attack on a local tribe, killing the Chief and decimating the Indians. In the process he captures the Indian Princess Aiyana, who he is using in a trap to either capture or kill Zorro. Our mask avenger must battle against the odds and the legendary samurai Ashikaga in order to free the Princess. Having walked the gypsy dream path Zorro knows the future is bleak but is undaunted in his quest.
The first ever edition of Zorro by Silver Fox Comics marks the first time an Australian has tackled a story featuring the original Dark Knight. While Zorro will forever remain a Latino hero, it's something of a surprise that after years of Disney syrup diluting the original storylines that an Aussie has dragged back the decades and returned the mask crusader to his rightful dark heritage. This is Zorro as he is meant to be, dark, ruthless, rampaging through stories with a supernatural tinge. Hopefully the comic reaches beyond Australia's shores to what should be a receptive Audience in the Americas. I should add for those unaware, Zorro was a huge influence behind later masked hero Batman. I leave it to the reader to decide which crusader is better suited to their tastes.
To the technical specifications, Silver Fox deliver Zorro in standard American comic book format, which for mine remains the best medium for a comic book. The covers are high quality colour while the 52 odd pages in between are black and white inked panels. The book comes with two stories, The Defeat of Destiny and Love Never Ends, a letter from the Publisher, and a number of pre-publish reviews (including one form this site). All up it's a professional package with a sort of retro feel to it, not sure where that observation comes from but hey ho let's go.
The Defeat of Destiny sees Author Sorab Del Rio laying down the groundwork for the entire series, or at least the first major plot arc. We are
introduced to the new back to the future Zorro showing the influences the whole Dark Knight thing pretty much purloined. Zorro is helped out in his never ending
quest to end Spanish tyranny in California by the local Gypsy woman Mirela, skilled in the mystical arts, the beautiful Carmelita, his trusted
Alfred aide Bernado, and hinted at the local Indian nations. Arrayed against Zorro is the might of Spain, led by the thoroughly evil and merciless General
Cypher. Everyone is getting the name of the General right? There are naturally also a number of grey characters who will either help of hinder the masked avenger,
depending on effects on their own agendas. So yeah an intriguing journey ahead folks with some twists and turns no doubt ready to trap the unwary.
I should also mention that while the story seeks to introduce our protagonist and assorted antagonists, it also remains a compelling read in its own right. Quite the mournful ending to this story that in just a few panels wipes away any grease residue left by that Disney bollocks that has been polluting the legend. Thankfully Zorro doesn't feel the need to leave a Z cut into anything like some demented Sesame Street character on crack cocaine.
Emerson Dimaya's artwork represents the atmosphere and general feeling of Del Rio's script to excellent effect. The panels are lush, capture the action, and bring across the mood of what is happening, without missing a step. For sure there's a traditional feeling to things, not a bad thing considering the number of retro readers about, which should see most comic book fans fall into the book without effort. I would describe Dimaya's style as traditional United States comic book super hero, once again a good thing. While I would love to say there's a definitive Downunder style, this just isn't the case, and anyone mentioning Koori artwork should immediately enrol in a Popular Culture course as they clearly have no fracking idea what they are talking about.
In the wash up Emerson Dimaya's panels are crisp, full of kinetic energy, and get the plot across to even the most reading challenge of individuals. Great achievement, two thumbs up on the artwork.
I had a lot of fun with Del Rio's Zorro and can see the comic becoming a regular feature here at ScaryMinds. In some of the more undignified moments of our existence there's been a bit of argy bargy on who gets to read the comic first. Del Rio has taken a legendary character back to his roots, added a whole bunch of dark menace, and given us a historic hero for the ages. Drop your linen and start your grinning kids, we're onto something good here.
Zorro is available from Silver Fox Comics for a low price, and can also be scored from your local emporium or news agency, for those lucky enough to have a decent agency. Full recommendation, give this one a go, Zorro makes the Phantom look like a panty waist.