Monday, July 11, 2022

Book Review: Zatanna - The Jewel of Gravesend

Zatanna's not your typical New Yorker. She walks her giant rabbit on a leather leash down the boardwalk, lives in a colossal architectural wonder known as the Golden Elephant, had her first kiss in the Haunted Hell Gate ride--and wouldn't have it any other way. But the time for having fun in Luna Park comes to an end when a mystic's quest for a powerful jewel unravels everything Zatanna thought she knew about herself and her beloved neighborhood. Mysteries and magic surround her as she reveals the truth about her family's legacy, and confronts the illusion that has been cast over her entire life.

From the bewitching mind behind The Casquette Girls, Alys Arden and with enchanting artwork by Jacquelin de Leon comes the story of a girl stuck in the middle of a magical rivalry and forced to choose between love, family, and magic without hurting anyone...or worse.

Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend is scheduled for release on July 26 of 2022. DC Entertainment allowed me an early look at the galley in exchange for an honest review.

I grew up with this character in the Silver Age and Bronze Age comics (the 60's and the 70's). That version was a confident and outgoing stage magician, dressed in top hat, tails and fishnets. Like her father Zatara, she performed her magic using mirror-speak or backwards incantations. She was a bright star from the get-go, even as she searched for her missing father.

This latest version is very much targeted for a young adult/teen audience of today. Her hair is purple (like the author Arden), she dresses in a school uniform (which is a reminiscent nod to her original look in the comics), but she spends her summers on the boardwalk. In this version, her last name is Starr (though the story will reveal more about her true past as we go along). She has a varied set of friends, all who live in that same boardwalk community. I think today's audience, especially young girls, will easily relate to her.

For long-time comic fans like myself, there are some nice Easter eggs or references to the Zatanna story from decades before. However, new fans will easily be able to get into this reinterpretation and find it very enjoyable. The story builds well and sets itself up for a potential sequel.

One thing that stuck with me is the artwork, which is gorgeous. The colors are vibrant oranges and purples, giving the whole thing a warm summertime feel. It works very well to set the mood for the piece and to reflect the summer-on-the-boardwalk setting of the piece.

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