h1

Guide to the Injustice Roster: DLC Appendix 6

August 7th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Zatanna was announced as the next Injustice: Gods Among Us DLC character, so you know what that means.

ZATANNA ZATARA

Alias: No, that’s her actual name!
First Appearance: Hawkman #4 (1964)
Powers: Skilled in all sorts of magic
Other Media: Appeared on all sorts of cartoons, Smallville

Zatanna is one of the earliest legacy characters in comic books. Her father Giovanni Zatara was a crime-fighting magician who appeared all the way back in Action Comics #1 (the comic that debuted Superman). Zatanna lived as a stage magician and illusionist for years, leaving it to search the world for her lost father. Over the course of her journey, she discovered that she was a special kind of human called “homo magi” that made her able to control magic. No longer would she rely on sleight of hand. She was the real deal. Like her father before her, she is able to project spells by speaking backwards. When her ability to speak is removed, she’s still able to project her spells by writing them out in her own blood.

Her search for her father took place over the course of various comic titles, culminating in the Justice League helping her. She worked with the League a handful of times before becoming a full-fledged member. During the 80′s, she got rid of her more memorable fishnets and top hat look for something incredibly generic and had some romantic tension with Barry Allen Flash (he was a widower at the time). She left in the middle of the ill-fated Justice League Detroit era.

For a while, Zatanna would usually team up with fellow magic user John Constantine, who she had an on-again-off-again relationship. She also had something going with Doctor Thirteen, a detective known for being the last skeptic in the DC Universe. What I mean is that he believes that everything from magic to Superman sightings is smoke and mirrors and ravings of lunatics. His daughter Traci doesn’t have the nerve to tell him that she too has magical powers.

The retcon introduced in Identity Crisis brought Zatanna back into the forefront. Years ago in the Justice League, the team found supervillain Dr. Light raping Elongated Man’s wife Sue. As voted by the League, Zatanna mindwiped Dr. Light and made it so that not only could he not remember the act, but she rewired his head so that he wouldn’t do it again, forcing him into the role of an inept comedy villain. Then she mindwiped Batman because he saw what she did. Then she mindwiped Catwoman to be nicer as a way to make Batman feel better. Then she mindwiped Flash villain the Top into being good, who in turn also mindwiped other Flash villains into doing the same. All of that exploded in her face over time.

This led to a sweet-ass story by Grant Morrison called Seven Soldiers of Victory. It was 30 issues where the first and last were bookends and the other issues were split into 4-issue miniseries about seven different characters. The characters included the C-listers (Zatanna and Mr. Miracle) as well as the reimagined (Frankenstein, Guardian, Klarion the Witch Boy, Bulleteer and Shining Knight). The seven different miniseries would show the different characters fighting different aspects of the same major threat while never crossing paths until the end. All of them intertwined in really cool ways.

In Zatanna’s story, she dealt with her problems with using magic too much for her own ends, including the mindwipe episodes. She ended up fighting against Zor, an evil magician who was meant to represent both writer Alan Moore and the idea of a comic book writer (or “Time Tailor”) going out of his way to shit up a superhero’s life because darker = better. This made thematic sense as years earlier in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing series, he proceeded to kill off Zatanna’s father and end the Zatanna/Constantine relationship in one fell swoop.

Against Zor, Zatanna was able to break through reality and reach out through the panels and towards the reader, wishing for forgiveness for all the bad things she’s done. In a nice touch, she said she could feel thousands of pairs of eyes looking at her all at different times. The other Time Tailors (the other DC writers) saved her by removing Zor from the equation and allowed her a brief reunion with her late father. During the story’s big finale, Zatanna magically set all the players into the correct positions by shouting, “!EKIRTS SREIDLOS NEVES”

What I mean to say is that Grant Morrison’s writing is fucking weird, but also fucking awesome.

Seven Soldiers also gave us the Frankenstein Monster as a grim, sword-swinging slayer of all that is wicked who works for a secret government organization and OH MY GOD WHY AM I THE ONLY PERSON ON THIS EARTH WHO IS RALLYING FOR FRANKENSTEIN AS A DOWNLOADABLE CHARACTER FOR INJUSTICE WHAT THE FUCK?!

Anyway. Zatanna has remained a bit of a supporting character in the DC Universe since then, briefly being a member of the Justice League again and having a bit of a fling with Batman at one point. She had her own ongoing series that didn’t last long, mainly because it’s really, really hard to get behind a magic-based superhero. I mean, Superman has to actually punch a villain, easy as it is. It’s hard to write a story where a magic-user doesn’t just snap his or her fingers and wish the bad guy away.

That series was written by one Paul Dini and I suppose I should talk about him. Paul Dini is known for being one of the big wheels in the creation of Batman: The Animated Series and all of its spinoffs. Dini is also known for being a little TOO into Zatanna. Just off the top of my head:

- Did a Zatanna-centered episode of Batman despite her not really having much to do with him in the comics. Not that that’s really a problem in itself, but he later went on to force a romantic relationship between the two when he was writing Detective Comics, going so far as to retcon in a childhood friendship. This was kind of weird because the main Batman book was playing up Bruce Wayne’s relationship with then-girlfriend Jezebel Jet as being seriously serious.

- Before Zatanna had made a single appearance anywhere outside of comics, Paul Dini wrote an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures where recurring character Batduck was invited to join the Just Us League. This included an appearance of Fifi the Skunk as Scentanna, whose sole screen time was dedicated to having Hampton bust a pig nut over how hot she is.

- Dini married a Zatanna lookalike who is also a stage magician. Artist Alex Ross began using her as a model for whenever he’d include Zatanna in his realistic-looking comics.

Since New 52, Zatanna has appeared as a member of Justice League Dark, an offshoot team of magic users who take on mystical threats that the regular Justice League are ill-equipped to face themselves. The team includes the likes of John Constantine, Dead Man, Shade the Changing Man and FRANKENSTEIN WHO SHOULD BE IN INJUSTICE I SWEAR TO GOD GOD DAMN IT!

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

This Week in Panels: Week 165

November 18th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Hey now! I’m joined by my full crew. We have Gaijin Dan, Was Taters, Jody and Space Jawa, supplying the panels that best sum up each comic that came out this week. And once again, if there’s a series you like that doesn’t get used here normally, or you want to contribute anyway, feel free to email me sometime before each Sunday night.

The panel for Invincible is the exact moment the comic goes from enjoyable to, “Jesus fuck, Kirkman. Why are you doing this?” And then he actually posts a page to explain why he’s doing this. Not that it makes it better.

Avengers Assemble is a major surprise this week and I can’t recommend it enough. While it’s too early to measure it based on one issue, it appears this run may very well be the Avengers counterpart to the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire days of Justice League International. Funny how DC absolutely refuses to honor that era in their history, leading to Marvel reminding how fun major team comics can be.

All-New X-Men #1
Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen

Avengers Assemble #9
Kelly Sue DeConnick and Stefano Caselli

Batman #14 (Taters’ pick)
Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, James Tynion IV and Jock

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 7

October 18th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

For any new readers, here’s the deal. I used to read a lot of DC comics. Then over the years, they lost me to the point that I was only reading about six a month. Over the first six months of their big reboot, I want to see how strongly they can hold onto my interest. Week-by-week, I’m looking at what I want to keep, what I don’t and what I’m on the edge about. As it is right now, I’m still reading 37 of their new titles, but it likely won’t last.

More DC books hit their #2 issue this week. Of the stuff that came out, I’ve already done away with Batgirl, Legion Lost and Mr. Terrific. That leaves ten books.

First is Batman & Robin by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. The main story of the issue is Bruce’s attempt to be a supportive dad to Damian and Alfred noticing that he absolutely sucks at it. While Damian is able to hold back his bloodlust in Bruce’s company, he emotionlessly takes it out on a bat. I think this is awesome. This is how it should be. It isn’t regressing for the sake of regressing. Why did Damian chill out in the first time? Because of who was mentoring him. Dick Grayson was such a loving, supportive and emotionally genuine partner that Damian was able to let him into his heart and change him. Bruce doesn’t stack up and Damian is starting to have a hard time figuring out why Bruce is worth following more than his mother.

It’s great because after having to put up with years of Dick trying to live up to Bruce’s example, Bruce is now in a spot where he has to live up to Dick’s example. Batman needs a Robin, but Damian is just another Batman. Batman doesn’t need another Batman. Neither has the crutch of a cheery partner to keep them stable, so dysfunction is in their future.

Gleason’s art is fantastic when it comes to action. Really enjoying his stuff, especially this page from after a criminal announces, “What the hell?”

I’m going to stick on this one.

Also in Gotham is Batwoman by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman. Despite what I said about Gleason, it’s Williams who is the true king of art these days. Good God! The opening scene especially, where not only is he doing the cool x-ray box to show bones being shattered upon punching impact, but Batwoman is colored differently from Flamebird. Flamebird is flatter and more simplified, while Batwoman has a more realistic sheen that makes her step out of the page like a 3D image.

The story is more coherent than last month’s intro, though the threat appears to be just as much a mystery as it ever was. The Cameron Chase part does include something I really wish we’d see more often in comics. I like when people try to figure out a superhero’s secret identity and get it wrong in a way that makes sense. Like how Jameson used to think that his son was Spider-Man or how Gordon once believed Harvey Dent to be Batman. It always makes it easier to accept that the public hasn’t figured out what appears so simple to readers such as us. While the story isn’t setting my world on fire, the art is and the narrative is worthy enough. I’m going to stick.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 3

September 20th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

We’re halfway into the New 52′s debuting month… sort of. Pretending the first week didn’t happen. You know what I mean.

Last week I dropped three books and put a handful on probation. How does this week stack up? Going in alphabetical order again, it’s pretty top-heavy. Bear with me because it’s not as entirely positive as the first half is going to make it look.

To start, it’s Batman and Robin by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. I already hate the villain in this story (in the good way I’m supposed to hate a villain) for taking out the totally kickass design for Russian Batman. The whole idea of Batman trying to finally get past the death of his parents so he can look back at them fondly instead of “MY PARENTS ARE DEAAAAD!” is not only a good selling point for me, but follows up on my favorite moment from Grant Morrison’s final issue of Batman and Robin where Batman looks at a destroyed portrait of his parents, then immediately tells Damian that he’s proud of him for making the right decisions.

Personally, I loved Dick Grayson as Batman and part of it was his relationship with Damian. They had a great dynamic of Damian being a jackass and Dick being cool about it because it’s like working with a younger Bruce. That adds to the story here as there seems to be an underlying feeling that Damian is a child whose real father just got custody when he was really starting to love his step-dad even more. I’m interested in the concept of the one Robin who doesn’t roll with the punches on a regular basis and instead will outright talk back without a smirk. Bruce goes from having sidekicks who become like his strained sons to having a son who has become a strained sidekick. Insubordination is neat on its own, but having it come from a younger version of the guy giving the orders moves it up a notch. I’m sticking.

Even better is Batwoman by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman. This one is all over the place, but all of those places hold my attention. The art is absolutely beautiful and despite never getting around to finishing Elegy (I’ll get to it!), I was able to follow it easily. Everything except the weird possibility that Montoya might be dead. The real talent in JHW3′s work is how different each scene looks. It’s almost hard to understand how Kate and Batwoman are one in the same based on how they’re portrayed. Sure, their basic physical descriptions match up, but Kate is drawn in scenes that show her almost down to earth while Batwoman is this sleek apparition of a figure that can’t exist in that same reality.

It’s like watching Jim Carrey transform into a CGI being. I’m going to stick with this one too.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Frank Castle and the Marvel Universe

November 25th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Solo #7 was originally supposed to have a cover by Mike Allred that depicted the 1960’s Adam West incarnation of Batman dancing the Batusi. It was replaced with Wonder Girl doing the same pose. One of the rumors as to why it was scrapped was that Dan Didio wants to put the kibosh on emphasizing the West-style Batman due to beliefs that West’s portrayal ruined the character for many decades up until Dark Knight Returns returned him to form. You get the idea: you can’t take a man dressed as a bat with underwear over his pants seriously if you’re reminded of that show where Cesar Romero painted over his mustache.

Is it true? Probably not. Batman: The Brave and the Bold is very Dick Sprang Batman and Sprang’s take on the Caped Crusader is practically brothers with Adam West Batman. Then again, I’m not sure if Didio had any real say in that.

But the precedent is there. There are fans out there who seem so stuck in their ways that to even portray their beloved character in a different tone offends them. That’s the case with the current Rick Remender Punisher storyline, Franken-Castle.

People HATE this image and all it represents. If you’re seeing this for the first time, chances are you might be thinking, “What the hell is this shit?!”

It’s awesome, that’s what it is.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Dude, You’re Getting a Dell Frankenstein!

October 26th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Covering Frankenstein is probably the best way for me to end the Dell Monster Trilogy, just because it is easily the best of the three comics. I realize that doesn’t mean much, and believe me, it doesn’t. It’s still pretty bad. It’s just that it’s the only one that feels like it could be a comic book worth reading.

Dracula was very loosely based on the source material and wasn’t quite as fun a concept as it could have been. Werewolf had literally nothing to do with its source material and despite the utter insanity of the story, was really boring for the most part. Frankenstein is the closest to the source and comes across as genuinely amusing for an old 60’s comic at points. It isn’t much, but it’s still the cream of the crop.

Like the other two, the creative team is believed to be Dan Segall and Tony Tallarico. Much like Dracula, Dell refers to the comic book adaptation of the Frankenstein movie that they released years earlier to be Frankenstein #1. The start of the superhero stuff is considered the second issue.

I can’t be the only one who sees Dell Frankenstein and thinks of Captain Murphy from Sealab 2021, can I? I kept hearing his voice for every one of Frankenstein’s word bubbles.

It begins promising enough with the shot of an abandoned castle that hasn’t been touched in about a century. We soon after find out that this is in America and that it’s only miles away from a major city (Metropole City), but at least the atmosphere is there. A huge bolt of lightning crashes through the roof and hits a slab below. On the slab is a body lying and dressed in red spandex with boots. For no reasons explained, his head is green-skinned and the rest of his body appears Caucasian. The bolt awakens him and he sits up, confused.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Final Edit Week 5: Day Six

April 1st, 2009 Posted by Gavok

We’re almost done with yet another week of this awful Morrison mind-scramble crap. God, what a hack. Between this and his Seven Soldiers run, I don’t even get why the man gets any work. Did you even read his New X-Men run a few years back? The guy who followed him was SOOOO much better.

But enough about that. Yesterday’s update saw some incomprehensible garbage involving Rubik’s Cubes and Metron as a tard. I don’t know, Final Crisis sucks. Let’s move forward!

As always, thanks to david “hermanos” brothers for helping me with this. He wanted me to remind you that a new Seaguy miniseries comes out today. Make sure to stay far away from that tripe. The last one was bad enough. Fucking Morrison.

We’re almost done with this week. Tomorrow, we get Darkseid at a rave and a guy with a bunch of bubble monitor things wrapped around his head. You can see a preview here.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Professor Marc’s Homework Assignment: Part One

September 5th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Where I work, I have a friend there who I will simply refer to as Professor Marc. I won’t post a picture of him since he may not dig that. Plus, he is really, really weird looking and if you’re reading this while in an early morning stupor, it will really fuck up your day and possibly take you out of the article. So to hell with that.

Marc’s level of comic knowledge makes me look like a guy who asks, “What’s a Bucky?” He’s about eight years older than me and has tons more experience than I do as a comic geek. It’s the kind of thing where I mention my “Deadshot’s Tophat” articles and he immediately gets the joke of the title. He’s the kind of guy that can name every single member of the Superfriends, including the guys that showed up for one episode like Plastic Man, Green Arrow and the ones I still can’t recall. In a sad kind of way, I sort of look up to him.

How do you become a comic know-it-all, anyway? I can read a bunch of comics, but it’s hard for me to branch out. Picking up something completely random and giving it a read is easier said than done. I could be spending that time reading a really good Justice League run or catching up on Daredevil. Still, I’m a man who loves his obscurity. A lot of the stuff I review on this site is stuff I make sure hasn’t been overly reviewed elsewhere on the net. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t touched the Ultimate Warrior comic. It’s old hat.

Professor Marc decided to lend me a hand. From his bottomless comic collection, he handed me nineteen random backissues to help build character. Stuff I would never think of reading on my own. Some issues are from comics I know of. Some issues are from comics I had no idea even existed. Only one of them is an issue that I’ve even heard of prior. Professor Marc’s list has more of a Marvel slant, but there’s still a good amount of representation all around.

I’ve read through six of these issues so far, so it’s time for part one of my book report.


The Toxic Avenger #5

Year: 1991
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Rod Ramos
Synopsis: This had to be the first one I read. I really don’t have much experience with the Toxic Avenger, honestly. I used to watch the Toxic Crusaders cartoon and years ago I watched Toxic Avenger 3 during one of those weekends when we got free Cinemax. But he is the Steve Rogers of New Jersey, so it’s my Jersian duty to read up on him.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Bl to Bu

January 12th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

BLADE

Tomb of Dracula #10 (1973)

“They call me… Blade! Blade the Black Agent X!”

Times change, don’t they? The story that introduces Blade doesn’t so much go into his background, other than his hobby of offing vampires. He takes care of some of Dracula’s henchmen early on and then fights the big bad on a cruise ship. When Dracula has things won, one of his mind-controlled lady victims comes to jump his bones. This distracts Dracula enough that Blade can get back up. Dracula makes the decision to leave, though the boat will explode in moments. Blade tosses everyone off the boat and makes it to safety himself, knowing that he and Dracula will fight again one day.

BLINK

Uncanny X-Men #317 (1994)

Before Blink was well-known for her role in Age of Apocalypse and Exiles, she showed up in regular 616 continuity as part of the Phalanx Covenant. Along with members of Generation X, she finds herself captured by the Phalanx.

When attacked by a being named Harvest, Blink uses her power to teleport him away while tearing him apart. Other than that, she follows the others as they attempt to escape, knowing that the Phalanx was unable to find a way to dampen their powers.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon