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In Your Dreams

July 19, 2010

Zatanna continues her fight against the threat of Brother Night in Zatanna #2, though she’s not actually fighting Brother Night on the first page.  Zatanna is off in New Orleans with Black Canary and Vixen taking out a few people turned into were-hyenas by the now deceased Hyena.  Afterward, Zatanna returns home to get some well-deserved shuteye, but she’s woken up by her carpenter doing work downstairs.  When she finally starts to get to go to bed, Fuseli starts hopping dreams in the area around her to get closer to her.  Ember kills some drug dealer who refuses to bow to Brother Night, and Fuseli finally makes it into Zatanna’s dream.  There, he tortures her about some terrible event that happened to her in the past, then about her own self-esteem as a magician, then about those who she has hurt, like her parents.  As she realizes that Fuseli is working with Brother Night, Detective Dale Colton digs up dirt on Brother Night from before he turned into what he is now.  Then, Brother Night visits him, offering a few criminals in exchange for acknowledging him as the big man on campus now.  Colton refuses, and after Night leaves, Colton calls Zatanna, providing her the opening she needs to shove Fuseli out of her dream.  She ends up binding him in her hat once she gets him to promise to talk.  Then Zatanna finally does get to get some sleep.  Elsewhere, Brother Night muses about her skill to his final assistant, the ghost of her father, Giovanni Zatara!

I guess the biggest problem thus far is the lack of a strong sense of foreboding.  Brother Night is a really cool villain and all, but I just don’t feel like he’s that dangerous.  It would be nice to see just what he can do and why he’s considered so dangerous.  Otherwise, it’s one of those cases of telling, not showing.  But otherwise, Zatanna’s solo series is pretty dang good.  Paul Dini has a great grasp on her, so basically everything is a great character moment, even if it wasn’t intended to be.  Her personality oozes out from every panel, which just makes me like her more.  Plus, there are seeds of at least two future storylines: explaining who her carpenter is and why she feels indebted to her, and what this incident is that Fuseli was torturing her with in her dreams.  And why does this carpenter claim that she’s immune to magic?  It would have been nice to have a tiny bit more explanation that these things are upcoming plotlines, not necessarily things that we’re supposed to know from her past.  Still, this is a solid story that both shows Zatanna’s skill and shows us an interesting new villain in the form of Fuseli, who is definitely not as dangerous as I thought he would be.  Stephane Roux’s pencils are still superb, even if Zatanna’s breasts are absolutely ridiculously sized.  He only really draws attention to them when she’s in costume, so it almost looks like her costume actually increses her breast size.  Oh yes, and he draws Vixen’s nose too big.  But that’s about all.  He’s definitely the perfect artist for this book.  So Dini and Roux do have a few things to learn (more explanation, less breasts), but they’re on the right track.  This is a fun solo series that I hope lasts long enough for them to learn those lessons.

Plot: 8.3      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 8.9      Overall: 8.4

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