Review: Lone Ranger: The Death of Zorro (AKA: A Lively Crossover)

Written by: Ande Parks
Illustrated by: Esteve Polls
Published by: Dynamite Entertainment 

Huge crossovers featuring dozens of titles and stacks of comics don’t interest me in the least. Every time I give them a shot, they let me down. I can’t think of more than a handful that I look back upon with any fondness. The basic idea of a crossover does not offend me, though. Point be known, I actually love the idea of seemingly disparate characters joining forces or, at least, crossing paths. Recently, on the American version of the Office, Ricky Gervais’s David Brent briefly encountered Steve Carell’s Michael Scott. It was an off hand sequence during the cold opening of the show. Not necessary in any way, but an absolute joy nonetheless.  

The Lone Ranger and Zorro have a number of aspects in common. Mainly that they are masked avengers in the Old West created in the first half of the 20th Century. Their character timelines don’t cross well, since Zorro is typically portrayed in the early part of the 19th Century and the Lone Ranger generally depicted after the Civil War. Dynamite mentioned in the pre-release material that they had to massage the timing of the characters slightly to make this story possible, but in the end, who really cares. They are fictional characters. When a story captures my fancy, I could care less if it’s “possible.” If someone told a spectacular story where the Ranger and Zorro are shrunk to miniscule size whereupon they battle the Scrubbing Bubbles count me in. Just don’t waste my time with a lackluster tale. 

Does the Story Work? 

Ande Parks has written an excellent first issue. Everything you need to know about Zorro is quickly established. The villains of the piece are introduced and get on to their deviltry immediately. As the title states, the story is set in motion by the death of an aged Zorro (Don Diego in his everyday life). Diego is long since retired from the costume, but is pressed into service to aid a tribe of Native Americans set upon by a vile band of former Confederate soldiers. There’s no wasted pages and the dialogue and artwork propel the story along at a brisk pace. The titular heroes do not meet, but some connection between them is promised next month. 

Esteve Polls has all the important bases covered with issue one. This is a dynamic looking comic with strong panel layouts. Obviously there’s no point to the comic if Zorro, the Lone Ranger, and Tonto don’t come off as iconic. Thankfully, Polls lends the heroes grandeur. California in 1870 offers picturesque settings which Polls captures beautifully. Finally, the action builds to Zorro’s final sword fight. The action is clearly defined and spectacular to behold. Polls could not be asked for any more than to pull off the character, setting, and action with the flourish illustrated in issue one.  

The most surprising piece of this story is the license holders allowing Dynamite to show the “death” of Zorro. I’m never a champion of killing off famous characters, since they will only be brought back in some form or another. This is a case where it works since there’s not a continuing story waiting to be told. This is a fine snippet in the “lives” of both characters, and doesn’t effect any of the stories previously told. That’s a perfect crossover!  

A few months back I mentioned in a review that Dynamite currently publishes the finest comics. This is another clear example proving that point. As a first issue everything you need to know is laid out, but there are four chapters ahead to look forward to. If the rest of the issues hold up to this standard I will have a wonderful time ahead of me. The industry needs to make this type of comic happen more frequently. Instead of gobs of ongoing series with no narrative focus, tell a fantastic story and move on.