Dave Ortega’s Abuela Y Los Dead Mexicans tells the story of the decade-long Mexican Revolution in two interspersed tales with extremely different tones.
The first story takes up the vast majority of comic, in which Dave chronicles in quick succession the power-hungry machinations of the different parties involved in the long civil war. The revolts, the assassinations, the changing of allegiances, and the foreign interventions are told with an omniscient narrator, and historical figures like Emiliano Zapata and Venustiano Carranza explaining their motivations directly to the readers. This story line is given a theatrical element in which many panels start with a title banner, like a silent movie or news reel from the 1910’s, introducing a new scene.
The second story is that of Dave’s grandmother, who as a child, fled with her mother and sister from Mexico to the United States during the war. Though it is much shorter, this story is told in the first person, and is far more intimate in mood, and profound in its implications.