Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend

DC Comics. Jul. 2022. 208p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781401296384.
Gr 7 Up–In this newest young adult graphic novel, Arden revisits the origins of everyone’s favorite backward-talking magician, Zatanna. The book begins with its lead desperately resisting a life of stage magic and completely unaware of her abilities. As the story unfolds, though, Zatanna discovers her hidden powers while being hit with plot twist after plot twist. While this has the potential to grow completely overwhelming, Arden does an admirable job of keeping things friendly for new readers while also modernizing decades of backstory. Unfortunately, the ambitions of the story don’t always live up to the execution. Characterization, in particular, is lacking. Zatanna’s friends feel like paint-by-numbers characters, and their motivations in the latter part of the story are only in service to the plot. The art, by contrast, is consistently engaging, with gorgeous color work. There’s a solid flow from panel to panel with some clever layouts along the way.
VERDICT An interesting story with a killer boardwalk setting and strong artwork that’s tailor-made for newcomers. While the characterizations get muddled, it’s still worth a look for collections where graphic novels about magic are popular.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing