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Royal Reviews: Zatanna #1

Written by Royal Nonesuch on Thursday, May 20 2010 and posted in Reviews

Royal Nonesuch reviews the new Zatanna #1, published by DC Comics!

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:

Written by PAUL DINI • Art by STEPHANE ROUX and KARL STORY • Cover by STEPHANE ROUX • Variant cover by BRIAN BOLLAND

At last – the Mistress of Magic in her own ongoing series! Zatanna Zatara has long made her home in San Francisco, but right under her nose a sinister threat has developed – a crime boss who dominates the criminal underworld with the dark powers of the magical underworld! The terrifying Brother Night is making his play for San Fran, and the police force – including hunky detective Dale Colton – turn to Zee for help. But Brother Night is a whole new kind of criminal and if Zatanna thinks she can backwards-talk him down, then she's in over her top-hatted head! Superstar writer Paul Dini (BATMAN: MAD LOVE) is paired with the gorgeous art of Stephane Roux (BIRDS OF PREY), making his anticipated DC debut on interior art! There's only one thing to say – T'NOD SSIM TI!
DC Universe 32pg. Color $2.99 US
On Sale May 19, 2010


Paul Dini has quietly been turning in a lot of fun, solid comic books at DC for a few years no, so it was really only a matter of time before he got to launching a new ongoing title for one of his declared favorite characters, Zatanna. 

For her part, Zatanna had some baggage foisted upon her in 2004's IDENTITY CRISIS limited series, where her part in the forcible behavior modification of several villains (and Batman) was retconned into the history of the Justice League.  It was a dark place to take the character, and it never really fit with everything else readers knew and felt about her.  ZATANNA #1 serves to inform readers that six years is enough time to move in comics, and that's just what the superhero magician sets out to do when the San Francisco police department enlists her aid to investigate out an obviously magic-based mass murder. 

Zatanna's design was always fun since it brings to mind simple trickery and sleight-of-hand rather than actual sorcery, but we get to see in this issue just how powerful she is.  However, it seems that her powers slightly outpace artist Stephane Roux, who after years of providing covers for DC finally gets a shot at interiors.  Roux' pencils are competent enough (if hewing a bit towards the cheesecake--does Zatanna's cup size actually increase when she gets into costume?), but there are some trouble spots where his static storytelling does not do the fast pace of Z's powers, or Dini's script, many favors.  Still, this seems more like a case of an artist needing more time to really inhabit the world of a character, since there are some sequences that work very well. 

If the art is solid yet unspectacular, then the same can be said of Dini's story, which is your basic first-issue setup.  The real draw here is the main character, who come across as truly charming and personable.  This is a good showcase not only for Zatanna's powers, but for the woman herself.  Unconstrained from the weight of crossover and mega-event stories, ZATANNA #1 is able to breathe and set forth what the series as a whole will be about.  It may not be a remarkable debut issue, but it is a solid one that will please fans of the character, and may interest newcomers.    



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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch

As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well.  You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.


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