Eva Perón died tragically young having packed a lot into her life, her legacy being portrayed as adored when alive, and fondly remembered afterward even before her fame was cemented by the global success of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Evita musical. In 1970 Argentinian creators Héctor Oesterheld and Alberto Breccia intended to follow their critically acclaimed Life of Che with a look at the much loved national figure, but the version issued was written by someone else, as detailed in the introduction.

She was actually a far more controversial figure than Webber’s mythologising suggests, and Oesterheld’s biography needed to ensure it fell into line with the then official view, because being an irritant to the Argentinian authorities could be life-threatening in 1970. Oesterheld finds her a broadly sympathetic personality, which wasn’t the view of the government, hence the rewrite. This edition restores Oesterheld’s original script.

Oesterheld and Breccia take a very different approach to their look at Che Guevara, sticking resolutely to text and accompanying pictures, but at the start there’s considerable variety to Breccia’s drawings. Some are dark and impressionistic while considerably more are light and airy, almost polished advertising realism with ziptone shading. The art was produced with the help of Breccia’s son Enrique, an acclaimed talent in his own right, but there’s no obvious breakdown of responsibilities. It’s a major departure from previous Breccia work translated into English, and because it’s a succession of illustrations, not panel to panel storytelling, it’s frustratingly bland, as if maximum commercial appeal is the priority.

Perhaps that was the case. When it was produced the presidency of Juan Perón was being rewritten and he was a political outsider in exile. Oesteheld, though, obviously preferred a form of socialist democracy to government by military appointees, so phrases the text to highlight contradictions, presenting them all, but rarely announcing a definitive version as he offers truth alongside myth. His text is dense and occasionally florid as he combines politics with Eva’s social activism, noting the good work she insisted on for ordinary people. However well intentioned, though, it’s very dry reading, so far from the most engaging of Oesterheld and Breccia’s collaborations.