23rd Jun2020

‘Lady Zorro #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Pat Shand | Art by Vincenzo Carratu | Published by American Mythology Productions

With all the disruption to the comics market of late, it feels as though all I’ve read lately are Marvel and, even more so, DC. This, of course, is not a bad thing as I love their books, but I do like a bit of variety in my diet. So when a Lady Zorro book popped up in the release list I was scanning, I took a punt. I don’t know a lot about the character, other than she had a couple of mini-series and was created by Matt Wagner, but I do like some old school Lone Ranger/ Zorro stuff now and again so here I am. As I settled in to read the book, I suddenly realised I had got it all wrong.

This is Lady Zorro, but it isn’t THAT Lady Zorro. Same name, completely different attitude. American Mythology Productions, the publisher of this issue, have recently picked up the Zorro licence. This is a licence that just keeps on giving. Zorro comics have been published by Dell Comics, Disney, Gold Key, Topps Comics, and , more recently, Dynamite Entertainment, where Lady Zorro first appeared (although Topps had what I remember as a very similar Lady Rawhide character). American Mythology now have it, and have been publishing new Zorro books for a couple of years now, and their Lady Zorro first appeared there, in Zorro: Sacrilege. So what makes her different? She is Muat, a Native American woman who has decided to become, inspired by El Zorro himself, both protector and avenger for the native peoples against the Spanish Empire’s soldiers and colonists. Sounds a good set up to me.

That oppression is evident from the very first page, as native Americans are being systemically murdered by a rogue Catholic priest, Padre Serra, for some strange ceremony he has planned. Whatever the severed wolf’s head and dead man were needed for has worked, and Serra has evolved into some unholy terror indeed. Which is unfortunate, as that’s exactly the time that a wandering Lady Zorro arrived in the same area. She is still learning her craft, only now starting her mission for real, and has been wandering the land, moving between remote villages and tribes, saddened by the destruction she finds. This particular village mistake her for a ‘Prodigo’, a Spanish settler it seems, and a fight ensues until she persuades them she is here to help. She then realises something here is very wrong.

The Prodigos, they tell her, are Spanish but neither true priests or soldiers. They have been raiding Indian burial grounds, and releasing old magic. Magic, it seems, that allows control of the Coyotes, an animal with a link to other worlds beneath our own. They attack the villagers, and Lady Zorro shows she is equally as deadly as her male counterpart, a ninja of sorts deadly with her speedy swordplay. Beautifully choreographed art from Carratu in this sequence too. With a few of the soldiers dispatched, the coyotes, being controlled by the transformed padre Serra, turn on her too. She fights through them to take him on. He confesses he has married his Catholic faith with the Coyote magic to create an unholy, and deadly, power to wipe out the ungodly. Like all fanatics, he doesn’t see the irony in using evil means to accomplish what he thinks of as good. He also didn’t appreciate the irony of losing to Lady Zorro either. Her faith in her mission was as strong, if not stronger, than his. Sharper sword too.

I really enjoyed this. The Spanish settlers setting, the use of magic and mythology, the literal and mental conflict between Old World and New World. I also liked the Samurai vibe I got from the character, a lone warrior with no master, wandering the land looking for purpose. Overall a solidly delivered stand alone story, that gave a little insight into Lady Zorro, enough to pique your interest. The art, throughout, was great. Lovely, clean lines, nicely paced with good layouts. Some pages had a lot of panels on there, but the art never felt crowded.

I’m not sure there is enough to Lady Zorro to carry her own book, but she certainly has the qualities of a strong supporting character. Her motivations are unique and, well, strong female characters are never a bad thing.

One to keep an eye on.

**** 4/5

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