Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Zatanna #1

Paul Dini & Stephane Roux

I'll be honest:  I don't really get Zatanna.  She seems a bit goofy to me.  She's a stage magician, but actually some sort of sorceress in fishnets?  Isn't that...cheating, using real magic?  It seems from this issue that her powers make her pretty much omnipotent too.  She just says things backwards (whatever the hell she wants) and it happens.  Seems like she could be running the DC Universe in a matter of minutes.  But magic is kind of a hard thing to write.  The boundaries can be sketchy, so making any real tension when magic's involved is difficult.  Zatanna is a prime example, it seems to me.  Also the whole talking-backward thing bothers me.  It's a little silly, but it also takes me out of the story, stopping the action to decipher what she's saying.  At the same time, it's a way to let the audience know what she's doing specifically and since it's not written normally, that it's magic.  It's just weird to me.  I liked what Grant Morrison did with her in Seven Soldiers, but this is pretty bland stuff that Dini throws at his readers, coupled with bland art from Roux.  The dialogue can be pretty sharp and funny at times, but the story weighs it down, and tries too hard to portray Zatanna as a bad-ass, easily taking down the demons introduced at the beginning of the story with her backward-lingo, one after another, a little too neatly.  And looking ridiculous the entire time.  It seems like Zatanna needs to be updated with a real creative mind at the helm guiding her into a new era for the character.  As is, her powers are just clunky and she's a little out of control.  Something fresh and inventive with the character would be most welcome.

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