Friday, November 21, 2014

I Reads You Review: DJANGO/ZORRO #1

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT/Vertigo (DC Comics) – @dynamitecomics

WRITERS: Quentin Tarantino and Matt Wagner
ART: Esteve Polls
COLORS: Brennan Wagner
LETTERS: Simon Bowland
COVER: Jae Lee with June Chung
VARIANT COVERS: Francesco Francavilla (Cover B); Matt Wagner with Brennan Wagner (Cover C)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S.

Rated T+

Dynamite Entertainment, in association with DC Comics' Vertigo imprint, present an exciting new comic book miniseries based on licensed properties,  Django/ZorroDjango Freeman, the hero of Quentin Tarantino's Oscar-winning film, Django Unchained, joins forces with Don Diego de la Vega, better known as Zorro, the legendary fictional character created in 1919 by New York–based pulp writer Johnston McCulley.

For almost a century, Zorro (the Spanish word for “fox”) has appeared in countless movies, television series, comic books, and stories.   Django/Zorro is the first new story starring Django Freeman since his film debut almost two years ago.  [Vertigo did publish a comic book adaptation of Django Unchained as a miniseries, beginning in 2013, so this isn't Django's first comic book appearance.]   Django/Zorro is written by Quentin Tarantino and Matt Wagner, drawn by Esteve Polls, colored by Brennan Wagner, and lettered by Simon Bowland.

Django/Zorro #1 opens several years after the events depicted in Django Unchained.  According to the back story to this series (provided by Dynamite), Django is still a bounty hunter.  He has settled his wife, Broomhilda, near Chicago, and is working in the western states to avoid the bounty on his head back east.  As the story begins, Django encounters the aged and sophisticated Don Diego de la Vega and his man-servant, Bernardo.  Django, of course, does not know that Don Diego is also Zorro.

After Django shows his shooting skills with a pistol, Don Diego hires him as a bodyguard.  Django is fascinated by this unusual older man, who reminds him of a deceased old friend (King Schultz).  Don Diego is also the first White man who seems unconcerned with Django's skin color.  Now, Django will follow his new boss on an adventure in which he will discover that slavery in these United States isn't just for Black folks.

First, I have to say that Esteve Polls is one of those comic book artists perfect for drawing comic book Westerns.  The Spanish artist's style and storytelling recall the late, great artist of Western comic books, John Severin.  In this first issue, Matt Wagner's script merely teases what his and Tarantino's story will offer in later issues, but still, it is a very good tease.  As first issues go, this is the kind that entices you to keep reading.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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