Django / Zorro #1
Writer: Quentin Tarantino, Matt Wagner
Art: Esteve Polls
Publisher: Dynamite / Vertigo
Released: November 12th, 2014
Django / Zorro #1 is a really neat project that’s happened. This is the first comic book developed from a Quentin Tarantino film (one of my all time favourite directors and most of my favourite films of all time). It is a story that follows Django several years after the events of Django Unchained, and it happens to be a crossover story with one of fictions most legendary vigilantes from roughly the same time period, Zorro. This series is written by Quentin Tarantino and his writing comes through in this issue transparently as it is full of conversational dialogue, slang and racism of the time period, and full of gory action in which makes the heroes of the story look like badasses. The art, done by Esteve Polls, also compliments the wild west setting that the story takes place in. This story is quite an absurd crossover but considering all of the above, it was worth picking up to give it a try.
This story takes place in Arizona during the time period of the Wild West, where a carriage rolling through the desert is halted by the presence of a tall dark man of whom we all should be familiar with, Django. Django is looking to hitch a ride and to his surprise, a wealthy man named Don Diego de la Vega invites Django to join him the carriage. Don Diego treats Django to some sandwiches and tea where they become acquainted with each other and we learn about what these two characters are up to in their adventures and why they join together. Django is hired as a bodyguard for Don Diego after their carriage is abruptly stopped by three dangerous looking men on horses. It turns out that Django was being hunted by the remaining members of a the Barrington Brothers gang. This whole scene is quite excellent as it is action packed and builds the world/setting of this series.
There is a really great scene in this story where Django and Don Diego roll into a town and are aggressively confronted by three troublemakers making fun of Don Diego’s fancy Spanish clothing. After being called a “peacock”, Django and Don Diego show these troublemakers just how vicious peacocks can be. After laying a beat down on them, the three injured men pick themselves up, only to find that they have crossed paths with someone of whom we are all too familiar with. On the palm of one of the men’s hands, they notice that he has been scarred by the infamous bloody mark of Zorro! To the readers this shouldn’t come as a surprise, however in the story Django is left to wonder who exactly it is that he is working for.
Django / Zorro #1 is a really good first issue to a story that a lot of parallel dynamic in both setting and main characters. Despite my thoughts on how well a Django and Zorro crossover story would turn out, the time periods in which these stories happen seems to make plausible sense in this series. The art is gritty and has nice western colours and backdrops and everything has a nice style to it. The writing feels as if you were reading a Tarantino script, and it works really well for this kind of crossover. Considering that this is the first character from a Tarantino film made into a comic book, this is a pretty special story. The story is ramping up, so while the first issue was mostly world building, I have a feeling that this story will shape up very quickly in the following issues to come. As for bonus content in this book, the end of book commentary has a small section in which you are given a playlist to listen to while reading the first issue again. This bonus content is exciting enough to get me to re-read this story. I would recommend this book to any Django and Tarantino fans, as well as Zorro fans. This book is a tough sell to begin with and the first issue is just dry enough to turn people off of this series in the first issue. I will continue to read this series as I am a huge Tarantino fan, I am excited to see where this goes, and the idea that I can listen to a soundtrack while reading this series is really appealing to me. I rate this book 3 dead fools out of a potential 6 dead fools.
~ Tyler Head