Thursday, April 14, 2005

Devon's TCC review of Seven Soldiers:Zatanna #1

There is very little to dislike about a backwards talking, raven-haired beauty clad in thigh-high stockings and a top hat. Truly very little.

Before Identity Crisis, there really wasn’t much to dislike or like about Zatanna. She’d always been nothing more than a fantastic visual. A vision in fishnet stockings.

Let’s regard Zatanna and her mindwiping Batman in Identity Crisis, shall we? She did it because the other Justice Leaguers told her to. Why’d they ask her? That’s what you do with characters who’re just …there. She’s been a member of The Justice League for twenty-plus years. Someone point out the one great pre- Identity Crisis Justice League: Zatanna story? No, you can’t. There aren’t any. She’s one of three DC characters that can crossover into The Vertigo Universe. (Swamp Thing and Animal Man being the other two.) Why isn’t that being played up more? You have to ask yourself, “Why does a woman who has access to some of the most eligible bachelors in The DCU go out of her way to lie down with the vile John Constantine, Hellblazer.” Of late, Zatanna’s character has become defined in her faults. So what’s a Justice Leaguer to do when she’s having another really bad day? Leave it to writer Grant Morrison to have all the answers in Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #1, on sale now.

The world is about to end and Zatanna’s visiting her superheroes with low self-esteem support group. Y’see, Zatanna got drunk and naked, except for the fishnets, cast a spell, unleashing the man of her dreams onto the world, killing some of the DCU’s greatest magicians in the doing so. In the process, she also managed to lose her ability to cast spells. The world’s coming to an end and Z’s got no powers. So what’s vacuum-abhorring nature gonna do for Z? It gives her…a sidekick.

Grant Morrison gets his metaphysical freak-on and takes us down a road less traveled in The DCU, proper. Morrison, in 22 pages, gives us Zatanna’s origin, revisits a classic Swamp Thing tale and shows us the promise of bigger things in The Seven Soldiers’ future. Morrison, once again, proves himself to be a master of characterization, as the characters in Z’s support group are an absolute hoot and personally, I hope they see daylight again, someday. Also great in this issue is the reward you’ll get if you’d previously read Seven Soldiers #0.


Artist Ryan (Hawkman) Sook can draw one hell of a babe and again, he doesn’t disappoint with Seven Soldiers: Zatanna. His Zatanna wears her every emotion in her face. Sook easily takes her face from wild-eyed wonderment to wild-eyed weariness in just a few pages, perfectly conveying the emotional rollercoaster Morrison’s put her on. When he’s not drawing exquisite faces, he’s drawing exquisite imagery. Trust me, pages 10 through 13. You’ll be hard pressed to find more thoughtful imagery anywhere else.

Be warned, if you’re looking for Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #1 to be a direct sequel to Identity Crisis, well, it ain’t. Good writing and spectacular art finds Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #1 as a reward for the fans of backwards talking, raven-haired beauties clad in thigh-high stockings.