Friday, February 24, 2006

Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #4 When: December 2005
Writer: Grant Morrison Artist: Ryan Sook

The story so far...
In this Seven Soldiers mini-series, Zatanna has been adventuring within herself, and the world of magic, as she comes to terms with all that she is, and all she can be.

With her powers failing her, Zatanna travels with a mysterious new apprentice called Misty, who exhibits great magical potential, and has a little magic die that seems to serve her every whim.

Encountering the legendary Ali-Ka-Zoom, Zatanna learns more about her own past, and the history of her young friend, on her way to find council with seven unknown men. What she finds, is Zor.

Tale of the tape...
Like previous entries, Zatanna is a character that has been proclaimed as potentially one of the most powerful heroes in comics. Unlike a Mr. Fantastic, whose abilities rely on his special skills, and execution -- Zatanna's formula is very simple. Say it, and it happens.

Granted, it's not that simple. She has to say it backward, but over the years I can't say I've ever seen her struggle with this. As a novelty act, there are actually people in the world who do phonetically speak backward. So, with a lengthy history behind her, Zatanna really is bound by her own will and imagination.

Intelligence: 2 (Normal human)
Stamina: 3 (Strong willed)
Energy powers: 4 (Arsenal)

For a character with such unlimited potential, it's tough to nail down any kind of rating on each individual stat. Based on her tame interpretations, I have hopefully adequately represented her strengths.
Again, her magic isn't terribly well represented by the typical stats, and therefore her potential is quite a bit higher.

On the flip side, my sources tell me Zor has never appeared prior to this issue, so he enters as an unknown equation. It is quite obvious that he is of greatly significant power, and with Zatanna a little less than certain of herself, he could potentially defeat her.

As we saw in the Justice League's fight with Deathstroke, Zatanna can be swiftly eliminated by an able foe through a silencing maneuver. That said, against the unknown quantity, you'd still surely have to put your money on Zee.

What went down...
Initially Zatanna is surprised. The silhouette emerging through the fog resembles that of her deceased father, the great magician Zatara. It is, of course, not Zatara.

You'd probably never guess it, but FYI, his name is Zor!

Apparently amused by Zatanna's hopeful mistake, Zor shoots her with a couple of eye-bullets (as you do), and remarks that in her world he can make her his daughter, or do anything else he can imagine.

Zor reimagines Zatanna as though she was raised by his own hand. Perverse and spiteful. Dark and venomous. He creates Zorina, dark (and sexy) daughter of Zor.
Of course, the gag is, being a Bizarro-Zatanna of sorts, Zorina rebels against her father, "Erotser annataz ot yonna yddad!"

The formerly captured Shapeless Being serving "the new architect of the universe" is Zatanna's instrument of counter measure, using him to ensure she becomes whatsoever Zor becomes.

The two magical beings exit the physical realm, doing battle in another place. A place where reality is meaningless, and will becomes absolute.
Zor plucks a satellite from orbit and hurls it at Zatanna, only to see it caught and spat out by the heckling Justice Leaguer. She makes fun of his beard.

"Liar! It's a magnificent beard and I know you want one! Hahahaha!"

Zor hurls comets at Zatanna, and she breaks the jar that contains the Shapeless One. Reality slips farther from Zatanna's grasp, and the fight leaves the page, taking a trademark Morrison trip through the fourth wall.

Zatanna and Zor begin to battle with the very reality we're reading.
Zor tears through the panel on the page, as Zatanna struggles and falls.
The two magicians race through the very fabric of reality, and somehow Zatanna manages to get one step ahead of Zor. For a moment they wrestle as two people, in the oily scum of Slaughter Swamp.

Then Zatanna reaches out. She extends her arm toward us, and she realises she couldn't find the seven unknown men because they were there, on the outside, all along. She stands before "the time tailors".

Zor lies on a table, disected by the Time Tailors for manipulating reality beyond boundaries deemed acceptable. Zatanna is granted access to their information, and victorious, this soldier is granted one last moment with her father. The real one.

The Hammer...
I have to admit, this looked like a much better idea after Christmas when I read the mini-series and got very excited about it. My interests have waned a little with time, but it's still a fantastic book, with a fantastic character.

I think it's pretty safe to say Zatanna is unanimously victorious, being that she's the character who managed to continue her existence. Call me old fashioned, but I think existing is always a pretty good indicator of someone's status.

While my interests may have waned over time, I have to absolutely sing the praises of this mini-series. Grant Morrison needs no further introduction, but Ryan Sook is proving to be a name I'm slowly coming to recognise. His pencil work on Seven Soldiers: Zatanna is truly phenomenal, and further complimented by the inks of Mick Gray and Nathan Eyring on colours.

Of the Seven Soldiers collection of series it was only this, and Mister Miracle, so far, that caught my attentions. Without a doubt I imagine Zatanna was the most interesting of the lot. Great read!

The Fight: 3 The Issue: 6.5

NEXT WEEK: The monthly punch-up, with all the information you'll need for the upcoming DC versus Marvel/Marvel versus DC super event! Plus, the newly popular top five! Be here!


Ragnell said...

I heard Zor was an old Spectre villain -- He was in the Archives

Mike Haseloff said...

Yo! Many thanks for the heads up!