Zatanna: Everyday Magic
by Paul Dini, Rick Mays
(DC/Vertigo, 2003)

She has a gift for magic, which is evoked by speaking backwards, and a penchant for fishnets. That's about all the world knows about Zatanna, an occasional hero in the DC Universe.

Paul Dini changes that with Zatanna: Everyday Magic, a new book in the Vertigo imprint (which means characters can swear, have sex and appear slightly naked). In this story she's not making one of her occasional, brief appearances with superhero teams like the Justice League; instead, she's earning bucks and ovations on tour in Vegas and other hotspots for glittery stage showmanship.

But along comes John Constantine, rumpled ex-lover and mage with a problem. A casual dalliance has landed him with a handful of demon, and Zatanna is his best bet for assistance. She, of course, is on the job, and soon has a few mix-ups with goth sorceress Nimue (a.k.a. "Mary Ann") Ravensong.

Everyday Magic is a lighthearted romp that puts Zatanna right where she should be in the DC canon. Standing next to Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, she's a bit silly, it's true. But here, on her own and living her "normal" life under Dini's capable direction, she's perfect.

Art by Rick Mays is cartoony but appropriate for the tale. My only beef is the handling, by both Dini and Mays, of Constantine, who comes off as a bit more inept than he appears in his own Hellblazer series. Still, the focus is on Zatanna, and she looks shiny and new.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 10 May 2003

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