Posts tagged ‘Zatanna’

Action 546 – Superman, the Justice League and the New Teen Titans vs Brainiac

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Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane pull out the stops for Action 546 (Aug. 83), the conclusion of the new Brainiac saga.

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Superman gathers the Justice League and , unusually, the New Teen Titans.  They were the hottest selling property DC had at the time, and Wolfman wrote their comic.  But it’s still not like Superman called on the Teen Titans from time to time.

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Anyway, both teams see a lot of action in this story.  The Atom Firestorm, Flash, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Red Tornado, Wonder Woman and Zatanna work with Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Changeling, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Terra against the invading alien armies under Brainiac’s domination.

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Lois Lane gets one scene in the story, back on the farm of her rarely appearing parents, Sam and Ella Lane.  Superman talked her out of staying on assignment in the Middle East, and she is furious to see that Lana Lang is doing the interview she worked so long at.

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While the others deal with the armies, Superman confronts Brainiac himself.  He manages to draw out solar flares, which disrupt Brainiac’s headship, and render him vulnerable.  He retreats, to fight another day.  And once Brainiac leaves, his armies, no longer mind controlled, back down.

Yup, Brainiac is definitely more of a threat than he was before.

 

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Action 434 – Superman’s toothache, and Zatanna kisses Green Arrow

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Cary Bates and Curt Swan are joined by Vince Colletta as they bring back a villain not seen in over a decade.

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Candy is left as a present for Clark Kent, but he is amazed to experience pain when he bites into a piece. Lois Lane thinks he is being weak and whiny, not realizing how impossible the toothache is.

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Lois drags Clark to a new dentist’s office next door to the Planet, but is shocked to see that the receptionist is the same woman who dropped off the candy.  That earns her a memory wipe.

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The dentist is really Dr. Xadu, one of the first Phantom Zone villains, who fought Clark as Superboy many years earlier.

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Clark remains unaware of the dentist’s true identity, or that the filling process was actually a brainwashing, programming Superman to go on a destructive rampage.

The story concludes next issue.

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Zatanna causes a lot of problems for Green Arrow in this story by Maggin, Dillin and Frank McLaughlin, as she bursts in, calls him by name and plants a big kiss on him, right in front of Dinah.

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Black Canary is furious, and storms out.  Green Arrow is left with Zatanna, who doesn’t seem to notice anything amiss.  But the more time they spend together, the more Oliver realizes that Zatanna believes that she is Black Canary.  When they run into hoods, she uses martial arts, until the situation gets dire, and she instinctively spouts dome backwards magic.  This breaks the “spell”

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Zatanna explains that she had used her magic to give herself Canary’s fighting skills earlier in the day, and it must have also given her Dinah’s personality.  All is cleared up between the two, although Zatanna plants another kiss before she leaves.

Oliver is left having to try to explain this.

Detective 850 – Batman ends

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Heart of Hush comes to an end in Detective 850 (Jan. 09), as does Batman RIP, and the runs of Paul Dini, Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs, and even Batman.

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Having left Batman at the hospital, Hush heads to Wayne Manor, pretending to be Bruce Wayne.  It doesn’t work, though Alfred cannot take credit for observation and deduction.  Bruce phoned him and told him Tommy had a new face, and that he was on the way there.  I kind of wish Alfred had figured it out on his own, picked up on some detail that proved it was not Bruce.

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But Hush bests the butler, and makes it down into the Batcave.  They have a lot of fun with this scene, showing old Batmobiles, including the one from the tv show, and the Whirly-Bats, not seen since the 60s.

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As Hush waits for the heroes to show up and fight him, he has another flashback.  This shows the murder of his mother, and Peyton Riley’s aid in covering it up.  Although Peyton believed that, with his mother dead, they would be free to marry, in reality Tommy flew off to Europe, threatening to kill her if she ever revealed the truth.  Poor Peyton, things were crappy long even before her arranged marriage.

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Batman does finally get to the cave, as do Nightwing and Robin.  And Hush gets chased by the giant dinosaur.  It’s always a great story when the dinosaur gets used.

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Even better is the way Batman defeats Hush, using the Whirly-Bat.  It catches his bandages, and carries him away.  It crashes and explodes near the underground river, and Batman knows Tommy will have survived somehow.

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Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr Terrific perform the surgery on Catwoman, and successfully replace her heart.

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Selina gets a scene with Zatanna.  Near-death, or dream, or magic, it’s never clear.  Nor should it be.

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Bruce comes to see Selina in recovery, and openly admits his love for her, and how much she means to him.

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But Batman and Catwoman are only together for a couple of panels, and then the story jumps ahead, to after Batman’s apparent death.  Catwoman is living on a beach, and sends a tape out to Hush.  We learn that she has used all her influence, and her friends, to loot Tommy Elliot’s finances, ruin his hideouts, and make him poison to be associated with.  Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Slam Bradley are shown helping with this.

The story does have a sequel, a couple months down the road, as Catwoman confronts Hush, but that is detailed in the pages of Batman.

And even though it would be a couple of years before Bruce Wayne returned to these pages, and Batman was once again the star of the book, Detective Comics remained firmly in the Batman family of books.

Detective 847 – Catwoman questions Zatanna

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Dini, Nguyen and Fridolfs continue Heart of Hush in Detective 847 (Oct. 08), as part of Batman RIP.

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We discover that, as a teen, Tommy Elliot was sent to a psychiatrist, a young intern named Jonathan Crane, who helped him come to grips with fear.

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Knowing the Hush is back, and uncertain of his plans, Batman seeks out Robin and Nightwing to warn them, and finds them taking down a smaller version of the Wonderland Gang.  Tweedledee and Tweedledum have only the Walrus and the Carpenter working for them this time.

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Zatanna is hanging out in front of the theatre she is performing in, running a three card monte game.  Which strikes me as kind of odd, but ok.  Selina confronts her there, but Zatanna tells her that she was rebuffed by Bruce, and that if Catwoman wants him, she should make her play.

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Hush sends his drugged slaves to kidnap a young boy, hospitalized due to his intense fears, and turns him over to the Scarecrow.  Tutor and pupil, as Hush terms his relationship with Crane.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

Detective 844 – the secret origin of the new Ventriloquist

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How do Dini, Nguyen, and Fridolfs handle Bruce Wayne getting shot at point blank range as the continue the story, in Detective 844 (July 2008)?  Lamely.  He knocks out the light, apparently not having been shot at such close range. Scarface doesn’t know where to shoot without the light.  (umm, right in front of you?)

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But Bruce does not manage to escape, and winds up getting to hear Peyton Riley’s story.  She fell in love with wealthy Matthew Akins, who wanted to marry her despite his family’s objections, due to her background.  Her father also did not approve, wanting her to marry Sabatino, to unite their families.  So her dad had his goons beat Matthew until he agreed not to see her.  She married Sabatino, and Matthew became a drunk.

As Johnny’s wife, she came into contact with Scarface and Arnold Wesker, who respected her, but not Johnny.

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Sabatino was not content to be the heir apparent, and killed Peyton’s father, and then shot her.  She lay on the floor, barely alive, in the room next to the one in which Wesker was killed, and was there even when Batman and Gordon were examining the corpse.

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Crawling into the room after they left, she found Scarface, and picked him up, and he began to talk to her.  A bit of surgery on both of them, and now she is back to kill the husband who left her for dead.

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She heads out to do so, leaving Bruce behind.  Zatanna tagged along as a bird, and both are grateful to know what is going on.

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Batman and Zatanna get onto the ship with Peyton and Sabatino.  It’s a deadly fight all around, and ends with Johnny and the Ventriloquist both going overboard, leaving Scarface behind.

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Zatanna, who had made a play for Bruce in the first half, tries again. Cause nothin says lovin like seeing two people apparently die.  Bruce turns her down, and hopes to remain friends.  She is cool with that, but you can tell she’s still hoping. Maybe she’ll try again after a good massacre.

The Ventriloquist does survive, returning later in the year.

Detective 843 – The Ventriloquist’s night out

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Dini, Nguyen and Fridolfs begin a 2-part story that explains all you need to know about the new Ventriloquist in Detective 843 (June 2008).

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Mobster Johnny Sabatino is opening a club, and when sabotage hits it, Batman suspects the Penguin. But visiting him, it becomes clear the Penguin sees Sabatino as no competition.

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Sabatino enlists Zatanna as the headliner as the Volcano Club opens.  Zatanna has her own reasons for wanting to return to Gotham.  Bruce plays audience stooge for her act, but both are keeping one eye on Sabatino.

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The Ventriloquist impersonates Zatanna’s voice, calling Johnny to the backroom, where she and Scarface confront him.  Scarface tries to shoot Sabatino, but he flees, and the sound brings Zatanna running.

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Johnny Sabatino gets away, and the Ventriloquist lights the club on fire, and takes Bruce Wayne hostage, leaving Zatanna to put out the blaze.

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Bruce realizes that he knows the Ventriloquist.  She is Peyton Riley, the daughter of a crime boss, and one-time girlfriend of Matthew Atkins, Bruce’s friend who got murdered a few issues back.  She seems to be almost a different person when she lets go of Scarface, a possessed victim, but she grabs the doll and Scarface re-exerts control over her.  Or appears to.

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Jealous of her interest, Scarface shoots at Bruce point blank!  How will they get out of this without cheating?

The story concludes next issue.

Detective 834 – Batman and Zatanna vs the Joker

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Dini, Kramer and Faucher conclude their 2-part Batman/Zatanna team-up in Detective 834 (Sept. 07).

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Batman breaks free of his electrified chair, and finds Zatanna not as wounded as he thought.  Though her throat was cut, she used her blood to write a healing spell.  This goes against much established lore, that Zatanna must speak her spells.  But it’s also not the first time she has been shown to write them, and Dini explains that writing them in her own blood makes the spell even stronger.

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Either way, it worked, and she survived.  Dini adds another nice touch, that the Joker is a compulsive planner.  Batman turns on the Joker’s shower, to read what he had scrawled on the shower wall, and finds his plans.

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With the Joker exposed, Loxias’ death had been announced.  But the Joker takes to social media, still pretending to be the magician, and claiming that his death was faked, part of an act, and invited them to his big “return from the dead” that night.  It’s one of the Joker’s more successful mass slaughters, as hundreds of Loxias’ fans show up, getting either gassed with Joker toxin, or fried against the electric fence.

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But of course Zatanna can out-magic the fake Loxias, and the Joker is never a physical challenge for Batman, so they take him down.  And Batman also reaches a point of being able to forgive Zatanna for her error in judgement so many years earlier, as the current situation was made much worse by his own error in not trusting her.

Zatanna returns a few months down the road.

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