Thursday, 20 May 2010

Zatanna #1 review

The bad: Zee's too busty.

The good: Everything else. This is a stylish little comic, as the first-ever Zatanna ongoing debuts. The backwards-talking magician shows a terrifically conceived mystical mob boss and his band of demons what's what after they begin to strike at the mortal world. And apart from the introduction of presumably supporting regular Detective Dale Colton, that's that for big events.

And that's enough, in the hands of writer Paul Dini, penciller Stephane Roux and inker Karl Story. As well as Zee's sorcerous crimefighting, we see her perfecting an oddly tasteless stage illusion - cough Dr Light cough - and relaxing at home. Whether she's casting spells or chatting to her assistants, Zatanna's a delight to be with, she's at once sunny and serious. And extra value is added with the debut of the heinous Brother Night, aforementioned kingpin of the San Francisco underworld (literally). As characterised by Dini's witty script, and Roux's luscious art, he's good for a few more rounds.

Ah yes, the art, I mentioned Zee's bustiness. Seriously. Here she could give Power Girl a run for her money. Except she'd trip due to top-heaviness. I realise part of Zee's appeal has always been her sexiness - raven-haired girl magician in tux, tights and top hat - but the boys should tone it down just a tad, or no one will be listening to those spells! I do like Roux's depiction of Zee in costume, though the cape is unnecessary and ruins her silhouette, while the new boots are rather the clunky ones. The bright red cherry on the illustrative cake is provided by the colouring of John Kalisz, who finds a balance between shiny superhero and moody crime book that fits this script. And Pat Brosseau's letters are faultless as always.

While triumph comes to Zee rather easily here, there's some foreboding towards the end, and it makes sense to show how competent a hero is in their first issue (she doesn't even need to rely on spells to take a foe down); by the close of the book we can see some mystical spanners about to be thrown into Zee's works. I can't wait - if Dini keeps the witty, clever scripts coming, and Roux continues to share his dark vision of San Francisco, I'm here for the duration.

(?kaeps-sdrawkcab arataZ annataZ detnetap ni gnihtyreve gnitirw fo ekoj dlo eht detsiser I dalg uoy t'nera dnA)

6 comments:

  1. I was thinking that her figure is physically impossible unless she had had breast implants, then I realised that she probably has magical breasts which inflate by a spell.

    Have always liked Zatanna though, sounds like a good read.

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  2. Magic has always been difficult to write as it's too easy for "Deus Ex" where a spell solves everything. Saying that I've always had a soft spot for old Z. (And glad you didn't write the whole review backwards)

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  3. I agree with Mart you about her chest, isn't there anybody in the DC Universe with a cup size below a "D"?

    I'm not too crazy about her boots either because they cover too much of her fishnet stockings.

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  4. Interesting reading this alongside one of this week's other #1's - Avengers. Here, the creative team get everything right. Introduce the hero, her "real" job, her connections, establish her supporting cast and her superheroic raison d'etre. Set up the bad guys, foreshadow evil machinations to come while showcasing that the hero can take care of things in a witty and heroic way. And do the whole thing without making it feel like it's the eighth issue and I've missed the previous seven.

    Avengers - let's not bother to disarm the time-travelling terrorist, we only outnumber him eight-to-one and have a god on our side.

    I loved what Paul Dini was doing with the semi-regular Zatanna guest spots in Detective, and he's really worked hard to get this series going. As first issue's go it ticks all the boxes and looks gorgeous. Stephane Roux's facial expressions are just terrific - even on incidental characters like the Mojo Jojo-style monkey on page 15. And Karl Story is one of the slickest inkers around, never seen him place a bad line on a page.

    If I had to level a criticism, it's that Detective Dale's intro was a little sudden - good to get things started but makes me hope he's more than he seems. And I prefer Zatanna's classic shoes/jacket over the thigh boots/cape, but that's a minor point. If anything, this costume combines the elements of her mid-80s JLA duds with her classic magician look, I guess... she just needs that Lego-snake thing in her hair.

    Oh, and Mart - your last line is wrong. S'annataZ slleps daer sa sdrawkcab sdrow ni sdrawrof redro, sa yna laer naf swonk! Emahs no uoy!!! Taerg weiver hguoht.

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  5. I see what you mean about Detective Dale (I don't like the name, it's a woman's, to my mind!). Wouldn't it be weird if he became Zee's fella and actually stuck. That'd be a first!

    And you got me on the last line - I was hoping no one would call me on the computer program I so lazily used.

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  6. And that's why your magic spells never work!

    Yzal traM tsum pots gnikat trohs stuc!

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