Power of Fishnets 11: Zatanna’s Search Conclusion

Ryan Daly reviews the concluding chapter of Zatanna’s search to find her missing father as told in Justice League of America #51, starring Batman, Hawkman, the Atom, Green Lantern, and Elongated Man!

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Music: “Magic” by the Cars.

Thanks for listening! Evah a ecin yad!

9 responses to “Power of Fishnets 11: Zatanna’s Search Conclusion

  1. You hit the nail on the head in regards to Batman. Just take a look at ANY JLA cover during this era. The book has essentially become “Batman and the Justice League of America”. Batman dominates every cover,and many stories. Robin even stops by for a couple, including the first appearance of my man, the adult Earth-Two Robin, in his Bat-crap crazy Batman-inspired costume. Robin also took over Teen Titans covers at this time for the same reason.

    I think the gimmick of Zatanna telling her tale to the Leaguers, and not showing the actual heroes helping her can probably be laid at the feet of Julius Schwartz. Everything I’ve ever read about the man mentions him constantly challenging his writers to come up with some hook to make each story unique. Fox may have presented the story in a straight forward fashion, and Julie suggested the addition of a little mystery to liven things up. Unfortunately, it did take some of the “oomph” out of the story. This is all just speculation on my part, but I can definitely see it happening.

    Great coverage, and that upcoming Zatanna origin was in the first DC digest I ever bought, so I’m looking forward to hearing you talk it up!


  2. “Hey Minotaur, we’re gonna attack some magic chick. You in?”

    “Absolutely, I’ll be there with bells on!”

    Good wrap up Ryan, but I suspect you’ve been listening to too much Teen Titans Wasteland with your summation of Green Lantern’s difficulty.

  3. Glad to finally hear the conclusion of this story.

    I completely agree that the story would work better if Zatanna had simply teamed up with the super-heroes. But I wonder if one panel of extra magical exposition would have made this seem better.

    I think this is really Zatanna’s story. She has to be the one to defeat this villain and rescue her father. To have someone else do the heavy lifting would be wrong. I also think that Zatanna is still a big time rookie here. Maybe she isn’t confident enough to just throw down in a magical brawl.

    So instead, she summons these avatars to act as her heroes and she picks the ones she knows best. As a result, this isn’t the JLA who has defeated the villain and saved her father. It is still Zatanna and her magic. They might look like the JLA but really they are extensions of her.

    I also think that ‘extension of her’ logic could be used to explain why they disagree with her as if they have free will. Maybe that dialogue is supposed to be her inner voice, warning her to not do the obvious thing, telling her that the Bell, Book, and Candle represent something that her conscious mind can’t think of.

    If at the end, Gardner Fox said something like ‘while I patterned those constructs after you Leaguers, it was my own strength, my own knowledge that they wielded. Now I know I am ready to act on my own, knowing that I can count on you as role models for me as a hero.’

    But since that didn’t happen in any way (accept as Anj head canon) we are left with all the questions you have. And they are legit questions.

    Anyways, still think I need to seek out this trade. Fascinating story for its time.

  4. Another lovely episode, Zee would be proud. And yes, what a wasted opportunity, this should have been a nice linear tale featuring the real heroes, with Hawkgirl and Robin, and ended with Zee and Shayera joining the League.

    Allura (no relation to Supergirl’s mother, Alura) came back later in Zee’s solo strip, she was so slinky as drawn by Gray Morrow.

    Sorry to confuse you Ryan, Come Together was the subtitle of the 1993 Zatanna mini-series by Lee Marrs and Esteban Marato. I wasn’t keen.

    1. Oooohhhh… Okay. I’ve still never read that miniseries, nor do I have any pressing desire to track it down.

  5. After the highs and lows of this trade, to finally reach the end and find that it is truly the ultimate tale in the collection leaves an impression. I think this may be the greatest and most important story ever to feature Zatanna, and in fact one of the most significant comic books in the history of the medium itself. It should be taught at the university level as an enormously essential lesson on technique in a most excellent example of every choice made by the writer being objectively wrong. It isn’t even in the top 500 worst comic book reading experiences I’ve had, but in purely technical terms, I think it may be the most incorrect. I mean, I’ve read Gardner Fox before, so I know better than to expect characterization or convincing logic or a plot not driven by a collection of dumb gimmicks. If I had the energy or desire, I could probably pick it to pieces not just page by page, but panel by panel. There’s at least an essay here, if not a full journal of cataloging each misstep. The podcast covered the broad strokes though, and man, life is just too short. Hard pass from me.

    Like everyone else, I mourn Zatanna not joining the JLA as part of the big finale to her protracted arc, but if they wouldn’t accept Hawkgirl, a complete outsider was probably too much to expect. Even if Zee had come in here, odds are good Denny O’Neil would have shipped her off with other inessential powerhouses like Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter to keep the team more manageable for his less grandiose plots. If only there had been more than one League type team before the late ’80s…

  6. A great wrap-up to this story Ryan. Good insights all along. The retcon to bring in Batman irritated me just as much as it did you and the “twenty years” reference really fell flat. It is so wrong that it diminishes the impact of the comment.

    However, that said, I really liked this run overall. I haven’t read it myself, but your coverage was spot on all the way and I’m looking forward to what comes next.

    And being a fan of Abe Vigoda and the Barney Miller TV series, I really appreciated the reference in the episode!

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