Sorry that this one’s late everyone, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks!
In this single-issue story written by Matthew Sturges (whom you may know from Fables and Blue Beetle), Zatanna takes us on a tour of her hometown, San Francisco, when she finds several mermaids brutally murdered. She confronts the killer, Backslash, whose enchanted weapon renders her spells useless.
This is a fun and thoroughly enjoyable issue, particularly because of the plays on language when it comes to Zatanna’s spellcasting. Casting spells only by speaking the command backwards can feel gimmicky and contrived at times, but Sturges really elevates the playing field by creating a ruled system around it, not to mention a villain that challenges Z’s lingual skills. I love how Zatanna uses flashcards to practice longer, more specific words, and her overly enthusiastic use of the palindromes really emphasizes her mischievous, playful side.
In contrast, the villain Backslash’s diction gets old really fast, and that guy is one bad rapper. Like, a really bad rapper. He definitely didn’t capture that fairy with smooth talk. Don’t get me wring, this isn’t bad writing– it’s definitely intentional, and it proves how important language is to Zatanna and her skill as a magician.
Zatanna’s “tour” through San Francisco is charming, and there are some wonderful historical moments reimagined as magical ones–1906 might ring a bell.
Are mermaids Aquaman’s territory? I was half-expecting a cameo, but it wasn’t essential to the story.
I like Stephanie Roux’s art, but Zatanna is noticeably top-heavy throughout the issue, and I think it’s because of the thick outline around her figure. It isn’t too distracting save for Connor’s cover, which is cute enough except for her disproportionate cleavage (whatcha gonna do)…I would love to know what Z’s top ten apps are on her iPad.