Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Zatanna #1! About time, right?

Zatanna #1
Written by Paul Dini
Pencils by Stephane Roux
Inks by Karl Story
Colors by John Kalisz
Letters by Pat Brosseau
Published by DC Comics
Review by Lan Pitts

"The world's a scary place. If I can show people a friendlier aspect of magic, it benefits everyone, mystic or mortal." -- Zatanna

Created over four decades ago by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson, Zatanna has been a somewhat A to B-list character, having a few mini-series and one-shots sporadicly through the years, but never has had her own ongoing series. I find that a bit odd, but thankfully Paul Dini has remedied the situation and brings us everyone's favorite sorceress to center stage with her first series, simply entitled Zatanna.

Having moved away from the dark shadows of Gotham City, Zatanna has found a new home in San Fransisco with a steady gig, but of course a normal day goes awry when she's confronted by Detective Dale Colton who needs her assistance in a mass murder investigation. A very particular investigation. Reading a witnesses mind, the culprits are revealed to be led by well-known mystic by the name of Brother Night (no relation to Mother Night). The horrific acts of violence and sorcery play out while we get a feel of the villains at large and who they are. Zatanna decides to take matters in her own hand and pay Brother Night a visit to confront him on the situation and she easily takes on his cronies. Dini has supplied some great dialog between Night and Zatanna, including a bit on why she aligns herself with teams like the Justice League and doesn't look down on the human world. Though we also see that Night may not be the big picture and something more sinister and darker lay in nightmares and shadows.

As a Zatanna fan, I loved how Dini presented Zatanna in this issue. It shows her life as a super-hero, a stage show performer, and a protector of the human realm. She's many things to the DC Universe and this series could be one to watch for with Dini penning a character he has adored for years. If anybody was going to bring Zatanna into an ongoing series, I'm glad it's him.

The art team assembled on this book is astonishing. When I heard Stephane Roux was on board on the art, I was a bit concerned since I had only been aware of his cover work and wonder how his style would transfer to actual page layouts. Yeah, no worry here. Roux's construction and flow make it a real page-turner and just fun to look at. Of course since Roux is aided by the incredible talent of Karl Story on inks, it's sharp, clean and dare I say flawless. John Kalisz's colors fit everything just right as well. From the opening page with the spotlight, to how Night's den appears. You get a real sense of the world right down to the feel of Zee's cape to Night's skin.

Dini has set up numerous things in this first issue, and I love how easily accessible it since because it doesn't bog down with continuity and we get an idea of who she is, as I mentioned earlier. It's a great start to what I hope will be a fantastic read for years to come. It's been a long time coming and it was worth the wait.


Zaius said...

I agree - this was a good read and I'm looking forward to picking up the second issue. As someone that's not too familiar with the world of Zatanna I'd have benefitted - and appreciated - a little 'origin' but I enjoyed the book nevertheless.

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