Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer(s): Quentin Tarantino, Matt Wagner
Artist: Esteve Polls
Release Date: 12th November 2014
Acting as a sequel of sorts to the movie, Django Unchained, this crossover from Dynamite and Vertigo brings Tarantino’s Django into the world of Zorro, as penned by current scribe, and pulp character specialist, Matt Wagner.
Set in the pre-civil war period, the story opens with a seemingly coincidental meeting between the two titular characters. An aged Don Diego De La Vega (A.K.A. Zorro), on his travels across the country, offers assistance to the mysterious Django, and soon discovers he is very much a kindred spirit. Django, seeing similarities in the benevolent stranger to his mentor Dr. King Schultz, accepts his offer of gold in return for his assistance in taking down a ruthless villain known as The Duke of Arizona.
As is common with this type of story, the issue is essentially an extended introduction to establish the character’s relationship and showcase their abilities. As such, the overarching story regarding Zorro’s quest is relegated to little more than an afterthought at this stage, with only a few lines of dialogue dedicated to it towards the end.
Although sharing common ideals of defending the weak and oppressed from the bad guys, both characters could not be more different in terms of personality and approach, a point emphasised in Matt Wagner’s sharp, authentic dialogue, and Esteve Polls’ impressive artwork. For example, Zorro’s penchant for the theatrical and flamboyant is accentuated not only in his grandiose costume and florid patterns of speech, but in his stylish method of dispatching his foes whilst humiliating them at the same time. By contrast, Django is calculating and pragmatic; a man who kills without hesitation, but always with purpose, expressing himself in as few words as possible.
The issue features two lengthy action scenes where each of our heroes take centre stage. Both sequences are dynamically staged and neatly framed by Polls, whose muted tones perfectly set the mood of the piece, from the arid, sun-baked California landscape, to the dusty, one-horse townships so familiar from classic westerns.
Although missing any form of antagonist at this point, Django/Zorro is a solid opening issue from a pretty high profile creative team, that has potential to be something special.