Sunday, February 8, 2015
Zatanna: Mistress of Magic
Publisher/Year: DC, 2011
Artist: Stephane Roux, Chad Hardin, Jesus Saiz
Writer: Paul Dini
Collects: Zatanna #1-6
The crippling problem with characters and storylines that revolve around magic is that there’s no natural set of rules to lay down the score. If the infernal druid mage from the 8th circle of hell rears his tri-wand at a magic-wielding protagonist, the writer can just summon a mystical deus ex machina to wrap things up nicely.
Fish-netted heroine Zatanna proves to be the poster child of this dilemma in her new series. She’s so ridiculously over-powered that watching her confront a spell-slinging baddie is about as suspenseful as a showdown between an ice cube and a sauna.
The silver-age witch and reserve Justice Leaguer confronts an assortment of supernatural foes like she’s a peppier John Constantine, cracking witty asides in the face of trans-dimensional crisis. This isn’t much of a challenge for Zatanna—all she has to do is utter a phrase backwards and reality bends to her will. Unless she’s suffering from strep throat or battling God, few challenges are going to prevent a victory.
Veteran writer Paul Dini nails the character’s alluring mix of snappy confidence and quiet vulnerability, but he’s going to have to stray into some more challenging territory to let this femme fatale show off her real magic.