Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell (DC Comics)

BC+Zatanna
CREDIT: DC Comics

Rating: 3.5/5 – A Nice Taste of Nostalgia From a DC Without the New 52.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow.

It was refreshing to see an original hardcover book that didn’t seem at all fettered to the chains of the New 52 chronology, featuring the popular fishnet-clad duo of Black Canary and Zatanna.  Over the past few years, DC has made it very difficult for me to be a fan of their work. With the onslaught (wait, that’s Marvel) of the New 52, DC has polarized fans, alienating some, and made the job of defending their actions to fandom-at-large increasingly difficult for those of us who want to believe the best is coming.

Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell, written by Paul Dini and with solid artwork from Joe Quinones, in a – dare I say it? – stand-alone one-shot self-contained tale was just what DC needs. No confusing continuity to be found here. No crossovers to other titles or confusing plotlines that won’t make sense unless you buy lots of other books. Heck, in this book Dinah’s still shacking up with Ollie (Green Arrow) and he’s still got his Van Dyke beard! For a moment you might almost believe everything is well in the DC Universe again. Almost…

Let’s heap on the praise first. This is a beautiful book. Take the dustjacket off and marvel at how they etched a fishnet pattern into the hardcover. Smile at Joe Quinones’ work. I always thought Kevin Maguire was the master of facial expressions, but I think Joe may give him a run for his money. If you’re a behind-the-scenes lover, eat up the fact that the story’s only half the book’s overall page count. Dini includes his complete script paired with sketches from Quinones (enough to rival most artists’ actual sketchbooks), showcasing the back-and-forth process from pitch to final product. Throw all this together and you have a book worthy of your bookshelf, and one that’ll have you wishing (perhaps demanding?) DC give you more. You hear me, DC? You need to be doing more of this stuff.

The drawback is the generic storyline itself. Stop me if you’ve heard this before – a villain dies, but her ghost lives on to possess the bodies of those who crossed her. There’s very little new ground being tilled by Dini here, but his writing manages to keep the garden growing, if not fertile. Flashbacks to a younger Zatanna first meeting Dinah and later on joining the Justice League as a newcomer are nice touches, but the story leads to a fairly predictable resolution and leaves you wondering what might have been instead of what you actually got.

Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell is a nice taste of nostalgia, and it’ll scratch the itch for readers who yearn for the days before the New 52. At the same time, it may backfire, as those same fans are reminded just what they lost to get the New 52.  In the end this is a great looking package that could have been much more.

Reviewed by: Al Sparrow
(al@comicspectrum.com
)
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