Comic Reviews

Review: Zorro — Man of the Dead #3

In this review of Zorro: Man of the Dead #3, Zorro and his small band of rebels prepare their next move as El Rojo tear through La Vega looking for them.

 

Zorro: Man of the Dead #3
Written and Drawn by: Sean Gordon Murphy
Main Cover by:
Sean Gordon Murphy
Colors:
Simon Gough
Variant covers by:
Ryan Sook, Jon Sommariva
Page Count:
24
Release Date:
3/27/2024

 

This review contains spoilers
zorro: man of the dead #3 main cover
Zorro: Man of the Dead #3 main cover (Image courtesy of Massive Publishing)

Zorro: Man of the Dead #3 continues Sean Gordon Murphy’s new take of the classic hero that began as a Kickstarter campaign. To be clear, just in case you haven’t picked up the series, this is not a re-telling of the classic story of Zorro. Instead, this is a new take with new modern characters. However, in Murphy’s world of Zorro, he pays a ton of homage to the classic Zorro stories.

In this new universe, Zorro is young Diego, who is named after the original hero. However, that is where the similarities end. Diego is a traumatized child, having witnessed the death of his father as a child. But he is enamored with the legendary hero and when the time came, he donned the mask of hero. Yet, he truly believes he is the original Zorro despite his sister trying to make him see otherwise. The trauma of his father’s death has changed him.

Zorro: The Man of Death #3 opens in what is believed to be the original Zorro’s secret hideout where one of the elder members of the village presents him with a chest with tools used by the hero. Rosa, Diego’s sister is in complete shock with how everyone accepts her brother as the fame hero, despite the fact that he clearly shows in moments that he is not all there mentally (and examples of this go back to the first issue). They even discuss this mental break.

This crazy take on Zorro that Murphy presents is what makes it so good. I have read several other runs of Zorro as a kid and for the most part things stayed aligned with the continuity and lore of the hero. Zorro: Man of the Dead, however always a completely new world to be created, a new story be told. And yet, flipping throw the pages of the first three issues, readers find that Murphy pays a lot of homage to the classics.

Zorro: Man of the Dead #3 starts off a little bit on the slow side as Murphy established the groundwork for what will be happening over the next few issues. We finally get the backstory of how Rosa joined El Rojo’s cartel as a young girl. We also learn more about the bodega owner Tomas. Turns out he’s a former assassin and La Vega is his adopted home he’s willing to help fight to protect.

For his part, El Rojo and his gang are also preparing themselves. Trejo has revealed the connection between Diego and Rosa. El Rojo personally leads them into La Vega to find them. After the villagers refuse to reveal the whereabouts, the ruthless cartel leader orders the towns beloved church to be burned to the ground. He also takes Rosa’s girlfriend, Esperanza, hostage.

 

It’s time to prepare for battle. (Image Credit: Massive Publishing)

 

Upon learning of the attack on La Vega, Zorro and the small band of rebels plan they counterattack. they make their move on El Rojo’s mansion, where Trejo and a few henchmen are left guarding the grounds. Things work well for a while. Rosa is able to steal files on the cartel’s network of tunnels under La Vega. But a henchman finds her. Before he could warn the others, Zorro kills him. Then he takes out two more.

Things turn for the worst, however, when the emotions of seeing Esperanza turns Rosa away from the plan. This causes a firefight to break out. The gang captures Rosa as Trejo shoots Zorro. The issue ends with Trejo holding his gun against Diego’s temple.

“La Vega belongs to El Rojo.”

 

 

So, let’s be clear. Zorro: Man of the Dead is a violent series. There’s a lot of sword impaling coming from our hero. The same can be said of El Rojo who not only kills Diego’s and Rosa’s father in the first issue. He does the same to the police chief this issue. The most swash-buckling duels readers see is in Diego’s training and practicing. However, I think this is a part of the genius of Murphy’s Zorro being a modern story set in current time. It allows new life to be breathed into the classic hero. This is similar to the Antonio Banderies movies. Having a new personal don the mask of Zorro allows new stories to be told.

Yet, this modern story doesn’t prevent Murphy from paying homage to the past. Diego dons the name of the original Zorro. The town of La Vega also bears the hero’s name. There so much within this series that makes one remember everything about the original Zorro.

From an artistic standpoint, Murphy’s art continues to be superb.  His style of art came to my attention in the Batman White Knight series. It’s a stye that I have always enjoyed. Simon Gough does a decent job on the issue’s colors. His style is similar to that of Matt Hollingsworth, who typically works on projects with Murphy. I think I lean more towards Hollingsworth. However, this shouldn’t take anything away from Gough work here. He makes good use of his color palette.

 

Final Thoughts

Zorro: Man of the Dead #3 continues a great new take on the classic hero. Readers should not have trouble catching up. Murphy’s storytelling literally and visually continues to be superb.

 

Editor’s Note: Massive Publishing provided The Comic Book Spot with an advanced copy of Zorro: Man of the Dead #3 for review purposes. You can find this comic by purchasing this issue digitally exclusively on Omnibus beginning April 2nd. Volume 1 of the series will be released on July 30, 2024, and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

zorro: man of the dead #3 main cover
Zorro: Man of the Dead #3
Final Thoughts
Zorro: Man of the Dead #3 continues a great new take on the classic hero. Readers should not have trouble catching up. Murphy's storytelling literally and visually continues to be superb.
Story
Art
Colors
4
Overall Score

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