Zatanna, Comic Book Review

Author Paul Dini

Paul Dini created Zatanna for his wife. Misty Lee is a professional magician and I’m sure she loves her husband’s homage to her.

I’m just sorry I didn’t. I love magic. I freaking love it. It’s one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. I love the spectacle of it, I love not knowing how a trick is done, and then when I find out I love the engineering and ingenuity that went into creating it. Magic is awesome and anyone who doesn’t like it lacks joy in their hearts.

The problem with “real” magic, as in magic in the comic book or fantasy worlds is that it’s limitless. Magic often lacks rules and is just a blanket power for whatever the magician needs at the time.

Zatanna only needs to speak backwards to make basically anything happen.

zatanna speaking backwards
bind the demon inside

Her power only appears to be limited when she either is rendered incapable of making a spell or the bad guy is impervious to magic. Both of these statements are incredibly vague. The first one is especially frustrating because notice I didn’t say rendered incapable of speaking. At one point she uses a speak and say toy to make her spell and it works somehow. Why? Huh?

The bad guy thing is just annoying. Randomly a bad guy will appear and just not be affected by her for no other reason than to make the issue longer. He power has no rules and the universe isn’t built for it.

Limitless power with no rules gets annoying and boring pretty quickly. If she’s that powerful why is she wasting her time performing stage magic and not helping the world or universe already?! At least part time.

Usually when a new character gets added to the DC or Marvel universes they have a run with at least a couple major cameos to help ease them into the fan base. Zatanna had surprisingly few. Constantine apparently is an ex of hers but he’s the only big player to show up to bring her into the fold. I really was expecting more.

The entire book is episodic and does not contain an over-arching plot. That would be fine for a short run but for nearly 500 pages it got very tedious. There was one story line that lasted two or three issues that I actually really enjoyed but other than that they all just blended together into a meaningless stack.

Also, the whole backwards speaking spell thing gets really annoying to read. I found myself just skipping those sections of dialogue entirely just hoping that the pictures would fill in the blanks, they sometimes did.

I’d like to see Zatanna more developed and placed in an actual story line. As seems to be the case with Paul Dini creations, they become much better when taken over by someone else.

2/5 top hats 🎩🎩

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4 thoughts on “Zatanna, Comic Book Review

  1. I absolutely adore Zatanna and while I enjoyed this comic, I was also expecting stuff that was more grand. Sadly, Zatanna’s never one to stay in the spotlight of DC for too long, ironic since she’s a magician and all. She definitely deserves another solo series soon!

  2. I’ve been meaning to read this series for a while, but you don’t make it sound all that appealing. Just so you know, Paul Dini didn’t create Zatanna, she’s been around since 1964. She debuted in an issue of Hawkman and guest-starred in various comics before joining the Justice League for a few years. After the Crisis, they kept trying to reinvent her, changing her costume and background (that’s where her hook-up with Constantine came in), which muddled the character a bit. Maybe that’s why Dini’s version didn’t work for you … too much baggage.

    • Thanks for the correction! It was just kind of all over the place. And the constantine bit just didn’t go anywhere in this book. Maybe if it had been explored more it would’ve been more interesting

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