DC Spinner Rack: Teen Titans #93, Zatanna #11

Zatanna #11

Zatanna #11 cover

written by Paul Dini
art by Jamal Igle and Jon Sibal

As an older reader of superhero comics, I don’t care much about page after page of fight scenes. I still like the imagination inherent in a clever use of abilities or the satisfaction of seeing justice win out against deserving villains, but the actual mechanics, unless there’s something unusual or visually astounding about it (which is rare), I don’t need to see taking up space. That’s one reason I’m really liking this book.

Zatanna’s powers are immense, undefined, and end conflicts quickly — when she’s allowed to use them. So most of the time, conflicts involve trapping or manipulating her so she can’t speak. That requires creativity, which puts the focus on the part of the showdown I like best. When the actual face-off comes, it’s usually over quickly, fitting the pattern I enjoy.

Here, for example, the puppeteer storyline concludes. Oscar Hampel has turned Zatanna into a marionnette as both revenge for her father’s punishment of him and as a mascot for his attempted return to popularity as a performer. Dini’s awareness of show business really informs Zatanna’s background well. Even though Oscar is deeply evil, his desire to recapture the fame he aged out of, chasing a craft that’s no longer successful at entertaining the masses, is still sympathetic.

Jamal Igle also does an excellent job with the art. I was worried, when this title started, that it was going to be all cleavage and fishnets. While Zatanna is certainly attractive, she’s drawn reasonably, and character poses are based more on storytelling than showing off body parts.

My favorite part of this issue, though, demonstrated how it’s not all about the title character. She is rescued, in fact, by a friend who’s smart and loyal enough to come after her — and I found the method quite funny, playing on Oscar’s egotism in a disarming way. (Most comics that use a man’s expectation that pretty girls must be dumb against him amuse me.)

Teen Titans #93

Teen Titans #93

written by J.T. Krul
art by Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood

I wasn’t impressed the last time I tried Krul’s Teen Titans, but after reading Tim O’Shea’s interview with Nicola Scott, I thought I’d give it another try. The interview hit key points I found positive, including the goal of a more upbeat tone for the comic.

That’s what I found here. In addition to the classic young hero characters — Wonder Girl, Superboy, Red Robin (Tim), Raven, Beast Boy, Kid Flash (although I miss Impulse) — there’s a new young lady, Kiran, aka Solstice. She’s got light-based powers, obviously, but also a sense of optimism, even though her parents are missing. That’s what brings the team to Pakistan, summoned by Wonder Girl’s mother, who was working with them on an archeological dig.

While I like the character, I was disappointed by the mediocre plotting and pacing. The second half of the issue consists of the team going up against a generic witch-woman villain, one by one. That pads page count while demonstrating that calling this gang a “team” may be overly optimistic, since they clearly don’t know how to work together. A cliffhanger means that this issue accomplishes little in storytelling, beyond introducing Solstice to the title. (She previously appeared in Wonder Girl #1.)

2 Responses to “DC Spinner Rack: Teen Titans #93, Zatanna #11”

  1. DC Spinner Rack: Batman: Brave and Bold #7, Superman #711, The Spirit #14, Superman/Batman #84, Zatanna #13 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] number 13 is a bit of a disappointment in this usually charming series. The opening, with a magical cat that reveals the future, is a bit too much authorial whim to get a […]

  2. July 2011 Previews: If It’s Summer, Why Am I Thinking Halloween? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] in reading, if I hadn’t read the comics already, would be the end of Paul Dini’s run on Zatanna, collected as Zatanna: Shades of the Past (JUL11 0261, $19.99, Oct 5). It reprints #7-12. Dini also […]




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