Not that long ago, I came across a list on wikipedia of what titles are coming back or starting after the dc relaunch (to see the list, click here, and to see my previous post about this, click here). I was quite disheartened to see that one of the characters not returning with their own title was Zatanna.
With big companies like Marvel and DC, it’s imperative they have a handful of characters whose adventures take place mostly on the fringes of the fictional universe. One of the joys of reading, say, Batgirl or The Atom or Blue Beetle is that they usually don’t get involved in the epic crossover events that people like Geoff Johns and Mark Millar insist on writing every couple of months. People who read these comics are given actual storylines that play out within one series, whereas, to understand how Bruce Wayne came back after being “killed” by Darkseid, or for that matter, how Captain America came back from being shot by a sniper, you end up having to buy not only a bunch of their books, but also spin-offs, and so to this day I still don’t understand how those characters were resurrected.
It seems DC after the relaunch will be introducing characters who will have separate adventures, and I’ll say I’m particularly excited about the return of Blue Beetle as well as Static Shock having his own comic. Just recently I was writing about what comics are okay for younger readers, and Blue Beetle when it was last being written was, and I’m assuming Static Shock will be too. Does anyone remember the Static Shock cartoon? That was one of the better superhero shows for kids. I think Dwayne McDuffie, who sadly passed away not that long ago, would be proud to see a black character enter the limelight in the DCU.
Zatanna and Booster Gold are the two big losses. Booster Gold was fun because writers could allow him to make jokes all the time, and Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis did just that.
Zatanna was a fun character because no story was too far out for her. That owed something to Gardner Fox, the writer who created her character. He was all about far-out, wacky, unconventional stories. For years she kind of drifted in and out of the DCU, appearing now and then but without much regularity. Grant Morrison briefly gave her a shot at her in story during his Seven Soldiers of Victory days. He was the perfect writer for the series, considering how his work just about always contains different dimensions, occult happenings, and weird new-age beliefs. For instance, he has one of the characters say “The extra superstring dimensions must be folded up in consciousness itself. My God.” Who but Morrison could come up with a line like that? In a perfect world, Morrison, Alan Moore, and Neil Gaiman would write Zatanna (Alan Moore even calls himself a magician these days). Unfortunately, Moore hates DC, Gaiman rarely returns to comics, and Morrison’s going to be busy writing Superman (althoug I’m sure that’ll be awesome).
My main concern is, if she isn’t given her own title, I’m hoping she’ll at least be integrated into different stories. If she is, I’m hoping they actually use her as a good character. She was almost ruined as a character after Brad Meltzer’s JLA: Identity Crisis, where she not only erased Dr. Light’s memory, but also Batman’s if I remember correctly. Since Batman is supposedly the world’s greatest detective, wouldn’t she have prepared for the eventuality that he’d find out? Later, when Paul Dini was writing Detective Comics, he wrote a short story arc where Batman and Zatanna team up, and not only does Batman come to consider his mind-wipe water under the bridge, but it hints that he and Zatanna have romantic feelings for each other (that are never acted upon). That set the stage for Dini’s Zatanna series, which, by August, when the DCU as we know it shuts down, will have run 14 issues.
For some reason, Catwoman is getting her own series again, even though I heard her books in the past sold poorly. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Catwoman comic that was good. I hate the thought that Zatanna was cancelled for Catwoman.
Postscript: Zatanna was reincorporated into a series: Justice League Dark. Unfortunately, the series doesn’t do Zatanna justice.