I don’t read a lot of DC Comics. Don’t get me wrong, I love Batman, and I enjoy Superman, Wonder Woman, and many other DC properties. And while certain events like Kingdom Come and Darkest Night will get me to pick up a TPB or mini series for a little bit no property had gotten me regularly reading an ongoing DC title.

Until Zatanna.

The cover to my copy of Zatanna #1 by DC Comics.

Zatanna as a character offers just the right amounts of, well, everything. As a female super hero she is a strong and independent woman blessed with the most common super power. As a stage magician she chose a trade that justifies a tantalizing (but not slutty) outfit and shows  off her sharp mind. Being an actual sorceress allows for the opportunity for transformative magic and adventures. All of those items together meant that I was totally stoked for Paul Dini’s ongoing series.

The first story arc of Dini’s run, covering Issues 1 – 3 and drawn by Stephane Roux, gets off the line running. We are quickly introduced to two of Zatanna’s recurring allies, although their presence is minute at times. The tomboy Mikey is Zatanna’s stage manager, builder, and right-hand woman who has been “blessed” with the ability to counteract any spell cast that would be harmful to her person. Detective Dale Colton is the open-minded and attractive policeman who shows up when a murder scene clearly needs a magic wielder’s input.

The cover to my copy of Zatanna #2 by DC Comics.

Brother Night, a literal Underworld crime boss who gained his power by sacrificing children, has decided to make public his grab for the mortal crime world and Zatanna quickly inserts herself into his affairs. The back-and-forth between them is really enjoyable, and all seems set to have Brother Night established as the ongoing arch-villain who is always available to complicate our heroine’s life when the story requires. So when the promising nemesis is defeated in Issue 3 it seemed so sudden and unexpected to me that I assumed the series had been canceled and the storyline quickly wrapped up.

Fortunately, now that we are onto Issue 11, it is clear that cancellation was not the case, although I still find the plot choice unusual. But despite the somewhat sudden conclusion to Brother Night’s menace the three issues are great reads and worth anyone’s time, especially for fans of magic and transformation.

The cover to my copy of Zatanna #3 by DC Comics.

Roux’s pencils, when combined with Karl Story’s inks and John Kalisz’ coloring job, are like having a series of pin-ups on every page. Regarding the presence of magic, in Issue 1 alone we get a woman-frog transformation, a sexy female dragon (who gets frozen later), various shots of demonesses in leather outfits in Brother Night’s lair, a woman-slug transformation, and some male transformations as well. Shots of Zatanna magically stripping and getting into a bubble bath are also worth the purchase of the premiere issue.

Issues 2 and 3 also have their moments. In Issue 2 our magical heroine is fighting a pack of were-hyenas alongside Black Canary and Vixen, and eventually we see the pack turned back into human form. Extended sequences of Zatanna in her nightgown are fun, and the dragoness Ember gets to have more time giving men her deadly kiss. Issue 3 has Zatanna using her magic to counteract the main villains, such as turning Ember’s breath into water. We also get a nice shot of Mikey’s unflattering outfit having been turned into Zatanna’s classic bustier and fishnets.

Even when spells aren’t being tsac that doesn’t mean anyone will be bored. All of this is wrapped up in a story of real substance and heart – there’s no skimping on the development of Zatanna’s character as she faces threats from both her present and past. And at no point did I feel lost; this may be my first time reading any of Zatanna’s adventures but any information that I may have needed from previous exploits was nicely incorporated into the plot. And despite all the magic and fantastical action going on Roux keeps the progression from panel to panel clean and clear.

THE FINAL VERDICT: Definitely Pick It Up

If you’re a fan of light magic, transformation, good story and great sexy art I highly recommend you go and buy these issues or the TPB when it comes out – or download them through DC’s service. If you’ve already read the issues in some other fashion please make sure you reach out and let DC know that people are reading and loving this series, and that the ads are being seen.

Because, like all comic book series, even Zatanna’s wonderful ongoing performances could go up in smoke if we don’t make sure the investors are happy and our applause is heard. Be loud and proud, people, and let’s keep this excellent series going!

Keep checking in as I continue to review Zatanna’s story arcs and try to catch up with the current issues!