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Father and Child Reunion

August 9, 2010

Zatanna #3 is the final issue of the opening arc of Zatanna’s ongoing series.  And it starts with Zatanna running to the theater, almost late for her show because of everything the night before and talking to Detective Dale Colton during the day.  However, she’s quickly attacked by enchanted effigies of her coworkers.  But she does get one of the effigies to tell her where her friends and Brother Night are: Mt. Diablo, where Night killed those thirteen children all those years ago.  She arrives there, where Night is preparing to sacrifice her friends for power from his masters, and she takes out his helpers, Ember, Romalthi the Shaper, and Teddy, rather quickly.  She traps Night in some rocks for a while, then dresses her carpenter up like her so the show can go on.  After she teleports her crew away for the performance, Brother Night breaks free and forces her to confront the spirit of her father, which he saved from oblivion back during Reign in Hell.  Zatanna brings out Fuseli and has him infiltrate Zatara’s dreams.  He manages to reawaken Zatara’s consciousness through a dream of his love for Zatanna.  Zatanna lets Fuseli go, and Zatara passes on.  Brother Night tries to escape while she’s busy, but she catches him and uses her powers to force him to renounce his powers.  The souls of the children are set free, and Night, now powerless, is arrested.  However, he has a far greater punishment awaiting him in Hell, when his masters get a hold of him.

I’m sad to say it, but this opening arc was a tad disappointing.  You would expect Paul Dini, who gets Zatanna better than any writer nowadays, to do a lot more with the character.  You’d also expect him to do a lot more with Brother Night, considering how big he build the bad guy up to be in interviews and solicitations.  Fact is, though, once Zatanna took out his helpers and whipped out Fuseli, there wasn’t much left for her to do.  I know Zatanna’s one of the top magicians in the DC Universe, but you’d expect then for her conflicts to be on a higher scale with tougher enemies.  I do like that Dini is hinting at far darker forces behind Night, the true lords of Hell (based on him commenting that Reign in Hell was a minor power struggle).  That shows that Dini has a long term plan for this book.  But between the fact that we didn’t get to see much of Zat’s supporting cast and the weakness of the villain, this didn’t quite measure up.  Dini obviously wasn’t going for the technique of decompression that a lot of writers use nowadays, but that technique lets you get more character moments and build up the arc more.  So I think that would have helped.  Maybe even just one more issue.  As for the art, Stephane Roux’s work was great.  He’s definitely the man for this title, which just makes me sadder that he’s already not penciling the next issue.  We did get to see Zatanna’s old costume with her carpenter, and personally, I think she should still be wearing it.  If for nothing but less ridiculous breasts.  Anyway, this was a fun arc, but it wasn’t as deep as it should have been.  I hope Dini gets us into some darker, deeper, more complex territory as things go along.

Plot: 7.6      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 8.4      Overall: 7.8

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