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'Knight Terrors: Zatanna' #1 review: The past won't stay buried

Comic Books

‘Knight Terrors: Zatanna’ #1 review: The past won’t stay buried

Science and magic collide in another strong ‘Knight Terrors’ tie-in!

When the solicits first came out for this issue, I was immediately sold on the idea of teaming up with Zatanna and Robotman for a Knight Terrors adventure. The mismatch of personalities and methodology sounded way too good to pass up. Thanks to the excellent work of Dennis Culver, David Baldeón, and Rain Beredo, I was not disappointed in the slightest. Not only is Knight Terrors: Zatanna #1 extremely entertaining, but it spoke to me as a longtime fan of both characters.

Neither of these heroes fell asleep when Insomnia attacked in Knight Terrors: First Blood, so they have to not only contend with some horrific illusions and waking nightmares but also find themselves responsible for the well-being of everyone that did fall asleep. Their friends and other civilians cannot defend themselves while stuck in this magical coma, so it falls to Robotman and Zatanna to distract the baddies long enough to find a way to cure everyone. It’s a great hook that immediately sets this one apart from the other books in the Knight Terrors line.

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'Knight Terrors: Zatanna' #1 review: The past won't stay buried

Here, Culver takes the “everything happened” approach to continuity, embracing bits of both characters’ histories to tell a compelling story about what makes them afraid. This is a storytelling approach that I’ve found to be greatly enjoyable in Unstoppable Doom Patrol, and it serves both characters exceptionally well here. Robotman is haunted by the friends he’s outlived over the years, while Zatanna is finding it hard to move past her distaste for the Doom Patrol as an institution. After all, the last time she “teamed up” with a member of the Doom Patrol was during John Constantine’s deadly seance during Crisis on Infinite Earths — the night her father died.

To Culver’s credit, Zatanna and Robotman don’t let their grievances cloud their judgment, and we immediately see the unlikely duo work together to do the right thing. The enemies they face are many, and though we don’t get to know them all that well, they present an exciting and visually interesting threat. The artwork in this book is fantastic, neatly combining the high-flying sci-fi vibes of Doom Patrol with the grotesque magic of the best Justice League Dark stories. The issue also has some fun playing with page layouts, giving readers an idea of how topsy-turvy the world is really getting. One highlight of the issue sees Zatanna and Cliff navigating a massive maze, with the twisting walls of the labyrinth forming neatly divided panels of their own.

This book doesn’t contain too many revelations regarding Knight Terrors as a whole, but it does a great job of picking up the threads from First Blood and Knight Terrors #1, as well as the ongoing narrative goals of Unstoppable Doom Patrol. It’s simply one of the best stories to come out of Knight Terrors so far.

'Knight Terrors: Zatanna' #1 review: The past won't stay buried
‘Knight Terrors: Zatanna’ #1 review: The past won’t stay buried
Knight Terrors: Zatanna #1
Fans of 'Justice League Dark' or 'Unstoppable Doom Patrol' will find that this is an indispensable tie-in, providing a fun break from the norm and important character development in equal measure.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Fantastic callbacks to DC history that's close to both main characters
Inventive nightmare imagery that bleeds into the structure of the book itself
Fun bits that play Robotman and Zatanna's personal styles of heroics against each other
The threat still feels a bit undefined, but the final twist makes it even more exciting and personal. I expect the second part will address my minor issues
8.5
Great
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