“Black Canary & Zatanna: Bloodspell” REVIEW

Ever since DC Comics made the announcement that an original graphic novel featuring a team-up between Black Canary and Zatanna written by Paul Dini, they got me hook, line and sinker. First off, I’m already a big fan of Black Canary and Zatanna individually. Black Canary was the first superhero I ever read and not long after, I became a huge fan of fellow fishnet-wearing Zatanna after I read her series. Add in the legend that is Paul Dini and this was essentially a dream come true. I wasn’t really familiar with the artist Joe Quinones but from the cover, I could tell I was going to like his style.
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Having said all that, I had no idea what the story was about. I just knew I had to have it…and after reading it, so should you. If you weren’t a fan of these two characters before, you definitely will be after. The writing is classic Dini. He balances the main plot with snippets of their relationship from their first memorable meeting to their adventures as fellow Justice Leaguers. The main plot is pretty exciting as well: a vengeful ghost is driving her former fellow gang members to suicide so Black Canary enlists Zatanna’s expertise. What ensues is a hilariously fun yet still dangerous adventure full of fishnets, flashbacks and fistfights.
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The art is perfectly tailored to the story. It matches the pace of the story in its animation and it definitely conveys every expression made by the two leading ladies. I loved seeing the progression of their looks throughout the flashbacks, from tweens to Zee’s short haircut as she first joins the League to their Justice League International costumes, all the way to their iconic looks of present time.
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What I really enjoyed about this book is that you don’t need to know about what the heck’s happening in the new 52. It’s self-contained and pretty self-explanatory. There are some fun cameos by other members of the Justice League but for the most part, it’s pretty much just a fantastic story featuring two of the best DC characters ever. They both do what they do best, Dinah uses her Canary Cry but mostly her fists and Zatanna summons her dad for advice and then kicks supernatural butt.
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As a bonus, the graphic novel also includes additional pages showing the concept art as well as Dini’s initial story proposal and the script that followed. It’s super interesting to see the behind the scenes material and process that goes into bringing the story from words to panels.
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I took a break from comics due to some things happening in the new 52 DC universe so it was a breath of fresh air to be enjoying something that’s smart, funny and that rings true to the essence of the characters we all know and love. Go forth and add this to your collection. Happy Wednesday and Happy New Comic Book Day!

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