The cover to my copy of Zatanna #14

This issue is nearly a complete waste. I only say “nearly” for the basest of reasons, but over all it’s something of a travesty.

The issue opens with Zatanna and Zachary Zatanna after performing together. The female cousin is royally pissed because Zach was sloppy, missing cues and ignoring details. The two fight back and forth as Zatanna chases her cousin through the theatre, in a limo, and it is only after they are inside a club called Torque that John Zatara’s daughter realizes Zack has tricked her, and he revels in the fact she missed all the details of their trip.

Zatanna wants to leave but Zach embarrasses her by making fun of her usual nights in, and the sorceress attempts to fit in – but quickly finds the clientele tiresome. Attempting to find Zach to have one last word before she teleports home she realizes too late that her cousin has gone off with a Japanese succubus called Yuki-Onna. The succubus has already shrouded her activities from the general group of dancers and is able to manipulate Zach like a puppet.

At this point a battle of spells breaks out between Zatanna and her manipulated cousin. It’s fairly standard Zatara-style backward speak spells of one-up-manship, but then Zatanna bemoans something rather unsettling; that she can’t directly attack her cousin or Yuki-Onna because her spells don’t work on living flesh.

What?!

Not only have we directly seen Zatanna casts spells on living people in this series (see the earlier story arch that even includes Zach) but there may be a little tale called Identity Crisis that perhaps Writer Adam Beechen should have read.

Perhaps it would be one thing if it had just been a passing thought, but the victory of the battle hinges on it – Zatanna tricks the succubus into having Zach cast a spell directly on his cousin, and the violently feedback separates Yuki-Onna from her meal. As she curses Zatanna’s trickery she fades away, a dramatic death or as a strange escape I can’t be certain.

Zach, none the worse for wear, picks himself up and immediately hits on the next girl he literally sees that isn’t a blood relative, and Zatanna is stuck dealing with two doofus clubbers that really have no business ever having gotten into Torque in the first place.

THE FINAL VERDICT: Buy only if you want to finish out the full run, or really want the transformation.

The only redeeming part of this issue is the art. Which is good because we get to see transitions between Yuki-Onna’s human manhunter form and her green maw-faced succubus shape. The effect of her fingers stretching out as the “vines” manipulating Zach are also very good. These sequences alone are the only reason I would justify buying the book, beyond being a completionist. Otherwise we’ve seen magic battles done better, for far more interesting reasons, that don’t fly in the face of confirmed continuity.