Color Spread of Chapter 1031 portrays the “right-hand men” of several infamous groups; specifically Zoro, Bepo, Rayleigh, Beckman, King, Katakuri, Killer, Marco, Shiryu, and Sabo.
So Zoro is officially confirmed as right hand/vice captain/first mate or whatever you want to call the 2nd strongest in a group.
This was rather obvious, there are a lot of feats and portrayals from manga and databooks that are clear proof. But now it’s literally undesputable.
These characters (Marco, Shiryu, Benn Beckman, Rayleigh, Katakuri, King, Sabo, Killer, Bepo, Zoro) have nothing in common for Oda to put them together as if there was a precise reason.
Nothing in common; bar a single thing.
Being the obvious 2nds strongest/right hands/vice captain/first mates of their crews and groups.
This is a shonen and Oda makes things easy. Strength means hierarchy. Hierarchy is because of strength. The strongest is the leader and the captain. The 2nd strongest is the right hand of the captain and factually acts as vice captain. Then there’s the rest of the crew.
The beginning draft of the cover shows Oda’s intent maybe even better than the final one: all characters are drew in the same way, and to Marco, Shiryu, Ben Beckman, Rayleigh, Katakuri, King, Sabo, Killer, Bepo and Zoro there are also added Mr 1 (Crocodile’s right hand) and Vito (Capone’s right hand).
Again, all these characters have nothing in common bar the most obvious thing: being the 2nd strongest in their respective crew/group.