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Comic Book / Zatanna

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Zatanna Zatara, Mistress of Magic, is a Stage Magician with actual magical powers who also works as a superhero in the DC Universe. She first appeared in Hawkman vol. 1 #4 (October-November, 1964), created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson. She is the daughter of Giovanni "John" Zatara, a Golden Age hero who first appeared in Action Comics #1 in 1938. Yes, that Action Comics #1, though needless to say Zatara never made it quite as big as his anthology co-star. Zatanna eventually joined the prestigious Justice League of America. During the 1990s and 2000s, she was notable for being exempt from the usual kiddy-innocence-preserving barrier between characters appearing in standard DC comics and in the more "adult" Vertigo, making appearances in titles published under both imprints.

Zatanna finally got an ongoing solo series, Zatanna, in May, 2010, written by Paul Dini and drawn by Stephane Roux. Though still an active hero, Zatanna is also performing traditional magic on stages across America, earning her considerable status as a celebrity beyond her fame as a hero. Because she does not possess a Secret Identity or Code Name she has to deal with the intrusion of the evil and supernatural into her day to day life, but her excellence at the mystic arts (She was regarded as the single most powerful member of the 2005 incarnation of the Justice League) means that she is not overly concerned about such events. The series begins when officer Dale Colton, an ordinary human in the San Francisco Police Department, asks for her help in investigating the brutal murders of the ranking members of the city's organized crime families. These murders lead Zatanna to discover that the local mystical criminal organizations have decided it is time to muscle in on more mundane villainy. After she solves this initial crime, and deals with the repercussions, the series follows her as she combats other supernatural threats to herself and others as she tours across the country.


The series was cancelled prior to the relaunch of the DC Universe as the "New 52" in September, 2011, leaving the plot unresolved. After the relaunch Zatanna was brought back in the angsty team comic Justice League Dark, reuniting her with John Constantine.

Paul Dini had previously written the character during her numerous appearances in the DC Animated Universe, with an appearance in Batman: The Animated Series and two appearances in Justice League Unlimited. It was something of a joke amongst the production staff, and also a little bit more true than the average joke, that he has a crush on the character. He eventually married real life stage magician Misty Lee, who is regarded by many as the closest he could possibly come to marrying the actual character. In both that show and Batman: The Brave and the Bold she's voiced by Jennifer Hale. The character also appeared in seasons eight and nine of Smallville, played by Serinda Swan. She had a 2003 Cartoon Monsoon pilot written by Dini with Tara Strong voicing her. She appears in Young Justice as a teenager whose father is still an active hero and Justice League member. Zatanna joins the team of young heroes in the first season, but eventually joins the Justice League in the second season. She also makes a DLC appearance as a playable fighter in Injustice: Gods Among Us, with both of these later appearances being voiced by Lacey Chabert. She would later reprise the role in Justice League Action to voice Zatanna as an adult, while Dayci Brookshire voices young Zatanna. In DC Super Hero Girls, she's once again a teenager, and is voiced by Kari Wahlgren, who she previously voiced in Justice League Heroes.


A Zatanna feature film was confirmed to be in development by WarnerMedia in March 2021. Later that month, Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) was attached to write a screenplay to be produced by DC Films and J. J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions.

Notable Appearances in Comics

Alternate Continuity

Live-Action TV

Video Games

Web Animation

Western Animation


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     Character Tropes 
  • Action Girl: She is a proactive hero who seeks out and combats metaphysical criminals, demons, and the normal supervillains of the DCU, using her mystical abilities to combat foes at every turn, and she has the hand-to-hand capability to protect herself when the need arises.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Zatanna, in the New 52, briefly ditched her trademark fishnets for a pair of leather pants. This new design was quickly ditched for one closer to her classic look, fishnets and all.
  • Adaptational Mundanity: In her first DC Animated Universe appearance (the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Zatanna"), she is depicted (with the possible exception of her final Stealth Hi/Bye) as a mundane Stage Magician. Later, in Justice League Unlimited, she shows her usual range of magical abilities.
  • Addictive Magic: As seen in her personal story, Zatanna has a great degree of addiction towards using and abusing her magic to try to solve her personal problems or petty issues with disastrous results, even admitting to being a self-proclaimed "spellaholic" after going to a support group for magic abusers. In the Secret Files storyline, it's shown Zatanna can't go one night without using her powers to selfishly inconvenience other people who happen to annoy her.
  • Alliterative Name: Zatanna Zatara.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: She's not attracted to bad men and malcontents per say, but it's been shown and lampshaded that Zatanna's favorite type of lover/love interest is the troubled loners. Notable since her past interests include the most troubled of loner figures like John Constantine and Batman of all people.
  • The Archmage: Depending on the portrayal, but Zatanna's magical prowess often makes her one of the most powerful members of the Justice League, being able to flip the laws of physics and reality on their head and back with a few backwards phrases. As a result, she's the League's go-to-gal for magical mayhem next to Wonder Woman and Shazam!, who specialize in the mythological aspect.
  • Author Appeal: Paul Dini has a penchant for using Zatanna. When Dini's writing her, she tends to take a lot of bubble baths and boast an Impossibly-Low Neckline. Also, in Real Life he's married to a dark-haired stage magician with a tendency to wear top hats and fishnets, and first hooked up with his (heretofore non-comics fan) wife because she was given a copy of a Zatanna comic he'd written and she contacted him about her resemblance to the character. He even wrote the character's solo series for a time.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Her stage outfit is essentially a modified tuxedo with top hat, that is also her default uniform when engaging in hero work. The biggest changes that have been made are the replacement of pants with black panties and fishnet stockings and the presence of an Impossibly-Low Neckline (sometimes).
  • Baleful Polymorph: One of Zatanna's favorite ways of dealing with her opponents. Her enemies usually tend to employ that often too.
  • Bathing Beauty: Zatanna is shown to enjoy baths a lot.
  • Battle Couple: Zatanna and John Constantine. Though both are worlds (or versions) apart, both make up for a Badass Magical Couple. Then John Constantine is put back into the DC Universe and the two get back on their relationship.
  • Bifauxnen: No other superheroine can rock a tuxedo, bowtie, and tophat like her.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Shadowcrest, her family's mansion.
  • Blood Magic: Not a major example, but in one Detective Comics storyline, Zatanna had been shot in the throat and nearly drowned in a death trap courtesy of the Joker. She avoided bleeding to death by using her blood to write out a healing incantation, made extra-strong by its medium.
  • Bound and Gagged: Zatanna's reliance on her voice in a few times leads to her being bound and gagged by villains, a measure that renders her 'powerless'. To counter this Zatanna also mastering escape artistry while developing other ways to channel her magic like writing or finger spelling
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Zatanna and her father Zatara speak their spells backwards. (Remember: words backwards, sentences forwards!) However, Zatanna has sometimes explained away the need to do this as being merely a focus exercise.
  • Captain Ersatz: Her father is rather suspiciously similar to Mandrake.
  • Care-Bear Stare: Zatanna once used this in order to Mind Rape someone. She "reprogrammed" Doctor Light, a vicious rapist, trying to pull out a good side that wasn't really there. What she succeeded in doing was creating an inept villain, but the idea was there. (This is the Retcon to try to make Doctor Light a threat: he used to actually be one, and the Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain we know and love is the result of attempted Heel–Face Brainwashing.)
    • Depending on your interpretation she either had slightly more success or much greater failure when she attempted the same thing in the pages of The Flash. Barry Allen asked her to try to make The Top, a recurring villain of his, an actual hero. It worked, at first. But Top now had a conscience and couldn't deal with the horrible things he had done. He went nuts and started trying to do the same to other Flash villains. It didn't end well.
  • Childhood Friends: As of 2007, with Batman. They've known each other since they were kids.
  • Code Name: She does not have one, she is addressed publicly and privately only as "Zatanna," her legal proper name.
  • Commuting on a Bus: The month after her solo series was cancelled, Zatanna was made into one of the lead characters in the high profile Justice League Dark book.
  • The Dreaded: To the magical community who think of her as an all-powerful magical icon and sorceress supreme. As one of the most powerful magic users around, she often polices the malevolent elements of the magical world and earned herself as a form of dangerous sheriff reputation because of it.
  • Escape Artist: One of the DCU's greatest, which is no surprise considering her profession as a stage magician and her lineage as daughter of the great wizard Zatara. She can use her magical powers to escape, but can also easily do so without them. Zatanna training hard under her father, having learned how to get out of a straightjacket underwater in Kindergarten and between her magic show acts. Her dad even taught another superhero the trade: Batman.
    • Zatanna also had a relationship with John Constantine the Hellblazer. And John is an escape artist second to none. Apparently John has taught Zatanna some spells from time to time.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Since the DC Rebirth, it's become a Running Gag for at least one woman to be in love with Zantanna in each comic she appears in. Both Kate Kane and Cassandra Cain entertain the idea of marrying her in Detective Comics (Rebirth), and Stephanie Brown proclaims out loud how hot she is upon seeing her in Young Justice (2019).
  • Friend to All Children: It's more implied, but Zatanna definitely has a soft spot for children (barring evil ones like Teddy). She agreed to perform on Sesame Street despite not liking film or television in general, and only stopped due to her crippling phobia of puppets. She was also led into a near-assassination attempt by agreeing to do shows supporting children's charities.
  • Funny Animal: Two instances here:
  • Heroic Build: She's typically drawn about as muscular as more physically-oriented superheroines, despite not usually being associated with physical strength.
  • Hot Witch: Zatanna is a very beautiful and powerful female magician.
  • Hypocrite
    • This is the result of a Retcon twenty years after the fact, but still. She turned the Titans against Raven moments before Trigon's first arrival, based on the grounds that Raven through her powers, manipulated Kid Flash's emotions to make him join the team. That would have been a fair assessment had Zatanna not only used her powers to wipe Doctor Light's mind, but also Batman's for trying to intervene as stated in Identity Crisis.
    • She chided her cousin Zachary for using magic to show off and said it should only be used defensively and for restoring cosmic balance, but he mentioned he and nearly the whole city they were in witnessed Zatanna actively attacking criminals the night before on live TV. She justifies this by saying crooks causing innocents undue grief are fair game, but she also turned a group of annoying girls into doves for pissing her off right before telling Zachary he shouldn't use his powers for personal gain. Zach calls her out on it and says she just makes up her rules as she goes along.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Zatanna wears a tight fitting tuxedo jacket with tails and a white bustier that highlights her impressive hourglass figure as well as her very voluptuous yet toned body and buxom breasts.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: Not always, but often her costume (Which is a variance on her standard outfit when performing on stage) is cut low to reveal a large amount of her cleavage.
  • Improvised Weapon: Zatanna is a logomancer. That is, despite having been shown in the past using simple spell without employing her trademark Backwards speech she needs to have a clear voice to focus her powers with. As previously stated, this forces her rogues to gag her a lot. Also, even when she has still her charmcasting abilities intact, some villains may exploit some loopholes to protect themselves from her magic. Zatanna in both cases mostly improvises.
    • In a story taken from her childhood a temporarily muted Zatanna (due to really uncomfortable dental braces) choose to use a Speak'n Spell toy as an artificial voice box of some sort. She also turned her braces into a cage, trapping her foe.
    • Unable to harm directly an iteration of Amazo based on her own magic, she mystically recalled Red Tornado's soul, rich in mystical might, to use it as a weapon.
    • In few instances where her opponent decided for something more permanent and less fetishistic than a gag (as landing a crippling injury to Zatanna's throat) Zee has been shown to use Blood Magic. Incantations written in blood are somewhat stronger, more dangerous and more powerful even than her average logomancy.
    • One opponent had the ability to cause Zatanna to move backwards through time for a few seconds, causing her 'backwards' spells to come out of her mouth as non-backwards words, and thus useless. She got around that by casting palindromes, such as "Nurses run!" or "Ogre flog a golfer, go!"
  • Instant Costume Change: She's able to do this easily thanks to her powers, to herself and to others.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Zatanna is skilled in hand-to-hand combat as well as magic.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Zatanna has the magical power to defy the laws of physics and reality with a few backwards incantations, and is sometimes depicted as mature and graceful.
  • Language of Magic
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In the miniseries Identity Crisis, it is revealed that one of the reasons the JLA has been able to keep their identities secret over the years is by having Zatanna strategically erase the knowledge from the minds of any villains who find out. The story was set into motion years before when they attempted to forcibly reform Dr. Light via this method, and it went horribly wrong.
    • It is revealed in her series that, when she was a child and saw her father transform a man into a puppet when he tried to kill her, John Zatara wiped Zatanna's memories of the incident to calm her down. Zatanna herself is shocked when she discovers this as an adult, but Fuseli remarks that such actions must run in her family.
  • Lover Tug-of-War: Zatanna and Supergirl do this in the cover of Supergirl vol. 1 #7, although that scene never happens in the book.
  • Magic Feather: Some writers have stated that Zatanna's speaking spells backwards routine is just a focusing technique and that she can cast spells without using it (she uses this justification when she takes down the supervillain Magenta while gagged in an issue of Wonder Woman, for instance). However, current canon says the backwards words are necessary, but they need not be spoken (writing them will work, for instance).
  • Magic Wand: Carries a traditional black-with-white-ends wand as part of her superhero arsenal.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: Her powers are often at the forefront of cosmic conflicts for the fate of the universe.
  • Magician Detective: She uses her magical skills and master of normal sleight-of-hand to deal with demons, goblins, ghosts and also traditional human riff-raff.
  • Magicians Are Wizards: She is a famous and wealthy stage magician with a successful show in Las Vegas, but she is also a powerful master of the mystic arts that often serves as our worlds best defense against intrusions from beyond.
  • Missing Mom: Sindella, Zatanna's mother, was presumed dead for years so Zatara raised her. Turns out she was enslaved by her own people, the Hidden Ones, a race of natural magic-users. She dies shortly after Zatanna meets her.
  • Most Common Superpower: She is a very powerful woman with a very impressive bust.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Zatanna is a very beautiful, long dark-haired woman who has a very voluptuous yet toned body with buxom breasts, an impressive hourglass figure, and long toned legs and wears an outfit comprised of a tight fitting tuxedo jacket that has tails, a white busier, black panties, fishnet stockings, and a top hat. Due to her powers' reliance on her voice, she is also frequently Bound and Gagged by her enemies, particularly when Paul Dini is writing. Nobody has ever found reason to complain over Paul Dini's appreciation of the character.
  • Mundane Utility: Uses her magic constantly for mundade day to day tasks, like carrying objects.
  • Nice Girl: Zatannna is often depicted as being approachable, friendly, and considerate.
  • Nice Hat: The top hat in her stage magician-inspired "work clothes".
  • Occult Detective: As a person with legitimate supernatural powers and no Secret Identity, she is one of the few characters in the DCU that can be casually approached to deal with issues beyond the ken of mortal authorities. The series starts in San Francisco with a local detective hopping backstage after a show to ask for her input on a batch of grisly other-worldly murders.
  • Power at a Price: Zatanna acknowledged that using magic in selfish or careless ways has a nasty habit of striking back at the user eventually and as such decides to use magic defensively and for stage tricks for her shows. Unfortunately she still tends to use magic selfishly at times and suffers for it in various ways, even attributing her doomed-to-failure love life to this.
  • Quirky Girl, Quirky Tux: She wears the variant that calls for fishnets and heels as a take on the stage magician dressed in evening wear. Since she's a magician, she naturally needs a top hat to pull a rabbit out of as well.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: The ivory skin varies Depending on the Artist, but her raven hair is one of her most distinguishable features (and boy there are many).
  • Really Gets Around: Admitted in her solo series, Zatanna has quite a history of sexual encounters, one-night stands, and unsuccessful couplings with "totally incompatible guys" while on the road as a stage magician.
  • Sdrawkcab Speech: Zatanna and her cousin Zachary cast magical spells by speaking the words backwards.
  • Secret Identity: She does not have one, and is publicly recognized as a practicing magician and former member of the Justice League.
  • She's Got Legs: She wears fishnet stockings that accentuate her long toned yet shapely legs.
  • Squishy Wizard: Depending on the Writer her magic can be extremely powerful but she's normally just as vulnerable to attacks as a normal human being, and she generally has to be able to speak her incantations to cast them.
  • Stage Magician: Zatanna and her deceased father, Zatara. Both are real sorcerers pretending to be stage magicians. Zatanna in particular has considerable skill in standard sleight of hand in addition to her authentic mystical abilities, and she has quite a bit of fame and fortune stemming from her traditional performances in theaters and stadiums around the world.
  • Star-Spangled Spandex: Well, star-spangled gala dress, but still counts.
  • Stocking Filler: Her costume includes fishnet stockings.
  • Straw Vegetarian: Averted. Zatanna mentions once that she is a vegetarian. While she spoils the bunny she works with on stage, it's more because she's nice. It doesn't really fuel her character beyond that.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Not unlimited, but certainly VERY large. Uriah stumbles into a massive room filled with nothing but clothes, and it shows.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Her mind wiping Batman for protesting against mind wiping Doctor Light.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Why she became a stage magician and chooses to help protect people with the Justice League and other superheroes. In her own words, she views the world as a scary place and because of that she wants to show people a friendlier aspect of magic to benefit everyone, mystic and mortal alike.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: Zatanna can do just about anything by reciting words and sentences backwards. Her cousin Zachary can also do this although he can't directly affect living things.

     Zatanna: Everyday Magic 

  • Amicable Exes: Constantine and Zatanna to a degree.
  • Bathtub Scene: Zatanna enjoys a relaxing bubble bath after seemingly dealing with Nimue. But while thinking about Nimue's true name she has a "Eureka!" Moment, realizing she has been tricked and suddenly jumps out of the bath with Censor Suds preserving her modesty.
  • Better as Friends: Zatanna and Constantine decide on this at the end of the story.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Nimue pretends to be helpful to Zatanna at first, in order to catch her off guard.
  • Censor Suds: During Zatanna's Bathtub Scene the bubbles cover all of her important bits.
  • Energy Absorption: Her deal with the Trade was getting a needle capable of absorbing magical power. She uses it to stab Zatanna after catching her off guard.
  • Evil Redhead: The villain of the story, Nimue Ravensong has short red hair.
  • Fanservice: A lot, Zatanna, Nimue and Constantine all show a lot of skin through the story.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Heavily implied with Zatanna and Hal, judging by Zatanna's satisfied expression and how she completely loses track of time while in bed with him. In contrast, Constantine's encounter with Nimue basically gave him a magical STD.
  • Honey Trap: Nimue pulls this off on Constantine, luring him into her bed in order to put a curse on him.
  • Humiliation Conga: How Nimue is defeated, first she's turned into a sloth which humiliates her and made to dispell the curse on Constantine. Then she's turned back human, naked surrounded by her previous victims who quickly chase her out of her own apartment.
  • Implacable Man: The Trader, the demon after Constantine.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Played With, Hal is the one put off when Constantine tells him about all the dangers Zatanna faces daily, and ultimately turns her down for this reason.
  • Marked By The Supernatural: Nimue marks Constantine by biting his palm, making a mouth grow in its place. It marks him as a sacrifice for The Trader.
  • Modesty Bedsheet:
    • Zatanna and Hal after they sleep together.
    • Arnie and his boyfriend are seen like this when he's talking to Zatanna on the phone.
  • Naked Freak-Out: Nimue is humiliated by Zatanna by leaving her naked with all the men she turned into frogs, who is chased out of her home by them with only her hands to cover herself.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Zatanna's reaction when she finds Constantine naked and passed out on her bed.
  • Really Gets Around: Nimue, who keeps a collection of her conquests in her house, transformed as frogs.
  • Romantic False Lead: Hal, Zatanna's Love Interest for this story, who has a hard time dealing with her superhero life.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing:
    • All the men Nimue turned into frogs come back naked when Zatanna changes them back.
    • Nimue herself falls out of her clothes when she's turned into a sloth, and is naked when she's turned back human.
  • Sexy Silhouette: Used to conceal the nudity of Nimue and her lovers after they are reverted back to humans.
  • Straight Gay: Arnie, Zatanna's manager.
  • Too Many Mouths: Constantine grows one in his palm, thanks to Nimue's curse.
  • Working with the Ex: Constantine has to ask for Zatanna's help to dispell Nimue's curse.

     2010 Solo Series 
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: When Zatanna is in therapy, trying to find some way to deal with her crippling unease and dislike of puppets, the focus is on finding the key incident in her childhood which spawned her lifelong distaste. This is played even more straight as Zatanna outright says she hadn't been afraid of them as a child before one specific night, which most likely meant that something traumatic had happened. It was her dad who had turned Oscar Hampel into one of his puppets when he took a child Zatanna hostage after she witnessed him standing over a dead body with a knife.
  • Aloof Older Cousin: Zatanna and her cousin Zachary were always close as children, but Zachary now is struggling to make it big as a performer and Zatanna has yet to see even one of his shows. This leads to resentment when it appears that Zatanna has skipped one appearance, what might have been his big break, not because of any sort of of global catastrophe or emergency with the JLA, but because she had a date. Of course, not everything is as it seems...
    • Zatanna finally gets to his show in the end, of course.
    • Annoying Younger Cousin: On the other hand, Zach can be an irresponsible showboat off-stage, which aggravates Zatanna to no end - especially when such behavior leads him to fall for Honey Trap demons.
  • Always Second Best: Zachary Zatara, Zatanna's cousin and fellow magician, is always in her shadow both as a stage performer and as a hero. However, Zatanna does point out that Zack's unprofessional manner such as missing cues in front of a live audience makes double-billing with him unpleasant—especially since he brushes her off to go to a club rather than take her criticism seriously.
    • Zatanna herself is disappointed when it takes her a full twenty-eight seconds to escape from a straitjacket, because Scott Free could do it in twelve.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Mikey used to look like a stereotypical burly teamster, but now is a beautiful young woman who even looks good in Zatanna's stage costume.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Fuseli tries to trap Zatanna in his nightmare dimension, preventing her real body from ever waking up, even if she's still councious.
    • Hampel when he's turned into a puppet by Zatanna's father. Zatanna suffers the same fate for months when he reverses the spell and turns her into a puppet.
  • Bad Boss: Mammon, as a demon, is prone to disciplining his minions when they disappoint him, but will also punish them even when he never expected them to succeed in the first place.
  • Body Horror: Brother Night opens his war on the mundane mobs by murdering the upper echelons in horrific and twisted fashion, mutating them into bizarre shapes and animals before they die.
  • Bondage Is Bad: A S&M club is shown to be frequented by demons, supernatural serial killers, and a psychotic mob boss who trades in human souls. However Paul Dini, the writer, included a bondage club in an issue of Detective Comics that was portrayed in a much more positive and tolerant light and Batman was even shown to be a friend (as much as Batman is ANYONE'S friend) of the owner, having helped her out during a riot at the club weeks before. So the club in Zatanna is probably more Author Appeal and possibly a homage to the kinky Cenobites of Hellraiser.
  • Brainwashed: The second arc of her series features Zatanna herself brainwashed into marrying a man so that he can substitute her soul for his when the demon Mammon comes to claim him. This is not the first time he has done this, either, as the previous women he plunged into hell serve as the bridesmaids at the wedding.
  • Breather Episode: The backup story of issue #9 shows Zatanna getting braces and trying to deal with a thief in a mall when she can't even speak properly.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Detective Colton becomes one for Zatanna in San Francisco.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Ralph and Sue Dibny appear in the audience at Zatanna's "wedding," and she remarks how wonderful it is that they are not dead anymore.
    • When it is revelated that John Zatara wiped Zatanna's memories of a tragic incident to calm her down, Fuseli remarks that such actions must run in her family.
    • At the end of Captain Carrot and the Final Ark, the Zoo Crew had ended up in the main DC Universe, where they were normal animals. The Justice League found them and Zatanna said she could use another bunny in her act. The peculiar behavior of one of Zatanna's rabbits, the offspring of a brown stray she took in, is briefly mentioned in one issue.
    • A lot of the characters introduced in the Zatanna: Everyday Magic one-shot story return for this series, like Zatanna's crew member Arnie and Andre and Nimue who shows up at Brother Night's bar.
  • Cut Short: When the series was cancelled in the lead up to the Post-Flashpoint DC Universe, Paul Dini left the series and was replaced by other writers for the final issues. These issues did not follow the ongoing plot of the series, leaving several threads dangling, such as the entire Brother Night arc and Zatanna's predicted conflict with The Spectre.
  • Deader Than Dead: After finally being caught by his Deal with the Devil that he had managed to avoid for decades, Benjamin Raymond is only a few minutes away from being dragged down to Hell for eternity. He pleads for Zatanna's help but, as she rightly points out, this is a situation of his own making, and he had earlier tried to substitute her soul in his place, why should she fight a demon on his behalf? He becomes so desperate that, if she will not rescue him, then at least kill him; not just kill him, but rend his soul asunder and remove it forever from existence, since even not existing would be better than what will happen to him if Mammon should be able to claim him. Taking pity on him, Zatanna consents, and transforms him into a soulless, inanimate lump of gold. Luckily, Mammon appreciates the irony of a greedy man being turned into a symbol of greed.
  • Deal with the Devil: The second arc of the series revolves around a decades-old deal with the demon Mammon, who lays claim to the soul of Benjamin Ramond, the man who built Las Vegas. Raymond has kept himself out of hell by feeding Mammon the souls of innocent women in his stead.
  • Demonic Dummy: Complete with a requisite kitchen knife and homicidal tendencies. Indeed it turned out to be a murderer magically transformed into a puppet by Zatanna father decades earlier.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Zatanna turns some party girls that mistook her for a waitress into birds. Granted she's cranky that they're partying in her apartment without permission and she turns them back pretty quick.
  • The Don: Brother Night is already this in the Mystic Underworld of San Francisco mystical realm, but he wants to expand to the mortal half. His first move towards doing this is by killing The Don of the mortal San Francisco.
  • El Cid Ploy: After Zatanna has freed her assistants and crew from Brother Night she has to remain and deal with him for good. However, she explains that somebody needs to perform at their scheduled show and she dresses Mikey in her outfit and and sends them all back to the stage.
  • Enfant Terrible:
    Zatanna: "Teddy. Don't get me started on Teddy."
  • Entitled Bastard: After Benjamin Raymond tries and fails to sacrifice Zatanna to Mammon, and gets his own soul claimed instead, he has the gall to ask Zatanna to help him. She takes pity on him and transforms him into an inanimate lump of gold so he won't suffer.
  • Erotic Dream: In #16 (the final issue of the 2011 series), a seriously sleep-deprived Zee is woken from a dream involving two hunky men and a tub of cocoa butter when Uriah breaks into her library. She spends the rest of the issue trying to deal with the pest as quickly as possible so she can get back to the dream.
  • Evil Brit: Backslash, albeit a scrubby example.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Both arcs of the 2011 series took place in less than twenty-four hours.
  • Eye of Horus Means Egypt: When the Mummy Hassan speaks his Speech Bubbles are filled with Egyptian Hieroglyphs which include the "Eye" and even Ra's sun disk, with neither one actually being words in the Egyptian language just religious symbols.
  • For the Evulz:
    • Fuseli, the Lord of Nightmares, enjoys twisting people's psyches just for the hell of it.
    • This is also Backslash's explicit motivation:
      Backslash: "What we doin' is I'm about to hack you up into tiny bits and listen to you scream. And why, always with why. Why is the same reason I nick beers from the shop, same reason I gutted them fish, same reason I do anything— 'cos I want to. 'Cos I can. No other reason necessary."
  • Fun with Palindromes: Issue #12 has Zatanna (who, recall, pronounces the words in her spells backwards) going up against a villain with time-reversal powers that allow him to negate her spells by having them sound like normal words. She gets around his powers by casting spells in palindromes (such as "Nurses Run" causing him to be stampeded by an army of running nurse mannequins).
  • Gender Bender: Mikey is the result of an as-yet-unspecified application of the trope. We see her in a "three years ago" dream sequence as a burly male.note  Word of God from Paul Dini says "Zatanna didn't do it & can't reverse it; Mikey brought it on him/herself. Now Mikey's in an interesting place where she has to sort out her feelings about this." While there's a lot more to Mikey's story, with the book's cancellation, it doesn't seem likely that her story will be told any time soon, if ever.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: When Oscar Hampel claims that he was turned into a puppet because of a tragic series of events almost out of his control, and that his actions were an isolated event, Zatanna accepts that her father, for all his wisdom and power, was only human. She gives Oscar the benefit of the doubt and agrees to help him become human again... After she runs him through a magic Lie Detector, that is. After all, just because her father was not perfect does not mean he was wrong this time, and she is going to make sure before she takes any actions.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Almost every villain of her series is defeated when Zatanna outdoes them in magic and trickery, often inflicting on them the very punishment they meant to do to her.
  • Homage Shot: In Brother Night's nightclub, Morn is seated at the bar.
  • Humans Are Flawed: When Zatanna is faced with the results of her father's temper, the victim claims it was all a tragic misunderstanding that sprang out of desperation. Zatanna, despite the love and respect she has for her father, recognizes that he was only human. Just because he meant well did not mean he was infallible, and she is willing to investigate further. Okay, the guy did deserve it, but the point still stands.
  • Human Sacrifice: Brother Night acquired his powers by filling graves with the bodies of children and offering them to the Lords of Hell.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Zatanna is lecturing Zach about using magic responsibly to restore the karmic balance he asks where was the karmic balance in turning the party girls into doves and dropping them into the pool. She just says that they pissed her off.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Mammon is willing to grant Benjamin Raymond eternal life, youth and freedom from hell in exchange for Zatanna's soul. It would be the prize of his entire soul collection.
  • Lighter and Softer: Zatanna's solo series is basically the fantasy-comedy series of DC.
    • Zatanna's crippling phobia of puppets, while treated as a serious problem which requires therapy to resolve, was discovered in the most hilarious way possible: performing on Sesame Street. She threw up in Oscar's trash can.
  • Love Potion: The Roses Benjamin gives to Zatanna function as one when she smells them. The effect is even more potent when he slashes her with one of its thorns.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Upon interrogating his estranged birth mother, Colton discovers he is Brother Night's son.
  • The Mafia: The first arc revolved around a supernatural Mob War, with the mystical criminal underworld attempting to wrest control of San Francisco from the traditional Mafia.
  • Magic Feather: Averted in the ongoing series where speaking her spells backwards is an essential component of her magic. Some previous writers had claimed that the speaking spells backwards routine was just a focusing technique and that Zee could cast spells without it.
  • Mind Screw: In the second arc, when Zatanna is being brainwashed into an eternal torment in Hell, her perspective is of a joyous wedding ceremony attended by all her friends. Including Ralph and Sue Dibny.
  • Modesty Towel:
    • Played With near the end of the first issue. When Zatanna's naked climbing into her bath, a magically floating towel blocks the view of her lower body, preserving her modesty even if she's not actually wearing it.
    • Zachary's assistant Bunny is caught wearing one in Zatanna's apartment. Zatanna is quick to use her magic to clothe her and kick her and Zachary out.
  • Muggle: Detective Dale Colton had no prior experience with the supernatural before he came to Zatanna, and was not even sure if he really believed it existed. The only reason he came to her at all is that the mystical criminal underworld has decided it was time to move in on the Muggle underworld, which has no way of dealing with such otherworldly events.
  • My Grandson, Myself: Benjamin Raymond, the villain of the Vegas arc, knew Zatanna's father several decades ago, and is now posing as his own son to strike up a "friendship" with Zatanna herself.
  • Noodle Incident: The exact circumstances that led to Mikey now being a beautiful woman.
  • Painful Transformation: Brother Night killed his targets with their transformations into horrific inhuman things.
  • Paparazzi: Zatanna is not a fan of the media, and one of the reasons she hates traveling to Los Angeles is because there are paparazzi everywhere. When she stops a high-speed chase that happened to pass her by she is already dreading the countless pictures that will surface of the event, followed by articles, media theories (Primarily focused on if she has gained or lost weight), and videos uploaded to "Youface" that have been edited to make her look like the villain.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: When Zatanna arrives at her hotel room after an exhausting show she finds that her cousin, Zach, has thrown a wild party filled with people she does not know. When several women mistake her for a waitress and ask for their drinks Zatanna, already extremely frustrated, turns them into birds and has them fly away. Nothing bad happens to the women while they were birds, and Zatanna returns them to human form soon afterwards, but nobody sees any real problem with her mutating innocent bystanders just because she was incredibly annoyed.
  • Puppet Permutation: Zee's father once transformed the Serial Killer Hampel into a marionette. Decades later, Hampel took vengeance by turning Zatanna into a marionette: a form in which she was trapped for several months.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Benjamin Raymond sold his soul to Mammon years ago in exchange for wealth and youth, and every few years he marries an innocent woman and gives Mammon her soul in order to extend his life. By the time he moves on to Zatanna he has been doing this for quite a while, and knew her father back when he was his own father.
  • Rogues Gallery: Zatanna refers to Brother Night's mooks as "a veritable rogues' gallery of the mystic underworld."
  • Scenery Censor: When Zatanna uses her magic to strip off her clothes to take a bath, her strategically placed arms a the floating objects block any naughty bits from being seen.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: A more literal example than usual, as Oscar Hampel — in the form of his puppet, Stringleshanks — is sealed into a magician's milk can.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: Zatanna tried to star in an episode of Sesame Street within the series, but her crippling phobia of puppets meant that she did not even get through her act before she wound up throwing up in Oscar's garbage can. This actually leads her to seek therapy to try and deal with her fear of puppets and instigates the third arc of the series.
  • Series Continuity Error: In issue #14, by guest writer Adam Beechen, the resolution to the story hinges on Zatanna's power not being able to affect living things. Not only has she used her powers on living beings many times in her history, but in this series alone she has turned a guy into a rat, turned three women into birds, turned a guy into a lump of gold (destroying his soul in the process) and her father used the same magic she does to turn a man into a puppet. Zatanna did once have a limitation on her powers of only being able to manipulate elemental matter for several years, but facet of her character was re-written several years before this series came out.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Zatanna is drugged and brainwashed into walking down the aisle with a man she barely knows (though he did know her father pretty well). However, he only wants her soul so he can give it to the demon Mammon in lieu of his own.
  • The Show Must Go On: After she frees them from Brother Night, Zatanna explains to her cast and crew that they still have a scheduled appearance, dresses Mikey in her costume, and sends them back to the stage to perform.
  • Show Within a Show: Apart from Zatanna and Zatara's own magical performances, the beginning of the third arc of the series recounts when Zatanna tried to guest-star in an episode of Sesame Street, but could not perform because of her fear of puppets.
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • Fuseli likes to think of himself as the lord of all nightmares but to Brother Night he's just a goon, and as soon as Zatanna gets the upper hand in their fight he starts begging for his life.
    • Brother Night himself seems to think he's an elite among the forces of hell, but Zatanna says his powers are nothing more than palor tricks on a cosmic level.
    • Zatanna herself gets a taste of this during her discussion with The Spectre:
      The Spectre: I don't tell you how to use a thumb tip, don't tell me how to administer God's wrath.
      Zatanna: Wow, that makes me feel like I'm completely nonexistent on a cosmic scale.
      The Spectre: Mission accomplished, then.
  • Slasher Smile: Brother Night, the villain of the first arc, bears a sickeningly wide grin that is inhuman (Literally) and highly disturbing.
  • Slave to PR: Mammon will punish his assassins for failing in a mission, even though he never expected them to succeed, because to let them slide would set a bad precedent.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. It turns out Zatanna has a crippling phobia of puppets, which has gotten so bad that she could not even guest-star on an episode of Sesame Street without vomiting on-set before her scene was through. However, she is currently undergoing therapy to help deal with this issue and has discovered the source of her unease in an unpleasant incident from her childhood. Sure, with a mystical therapist, but still.
  • Toplessness from the Back / Sideboob: Near the end of the first issue, when Zatanna is climbing into her bath.
  • True Companions: Zatanna's cast and crew are closer to friends than employees, and after she frees them from Brother Night they refuse to run away and leave her to face him alone. It is only by explaining that they have a show to do and assuring them of her safety that she gets them to leave.
  • Undignified Death: Brother Night does this to the local mafia in San Francisco in order to impose his rule there.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: The Vegas arc takes place in Las Vegas. Zatanna is there performing her world-famous stage act, and her cousin Zachary is trying to break into the big time himself with his own show. Ultimately, Zatanna comes into conflict with the demon Mammon, the personification of greed and wealth, who bought the soul of the man who helped build Las Vegas decades ago as a monument to greed.
  • Weirdness Censor: Dale Colton explains that most normal people have a lot of trouble accepting the truth about magic and such, even when they hear about it on TV and have to deal with the aftereffects, which is why magic is still a "secret" in the DCU, despite Zatanna's own fame.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Zatanna, it turns out, has a serious and crippling phobia with regards to puppets. Not voodoo dolls or wax effigies, those she can handle with no problems, but with actual puppets with their hanging strings and painted-on eyes. Her fears extend back to her childhood and a traumatic incident she experienced with her father. When she tried to guest-star on an episode of Sesame Street, reasoning that helping educate and entertain children was worth any sort of personal discomfort, she did not even make it through her scene before she vomited into an on-set trash can. She is currently in therapy to help her deal with this issue, averting There Are No Therapists.
  • Wreathed in Flames: The fire demons Mammon sends after Zatanna.
  • You Don't Want To Know:
    Zatanna: (Observing the results of Brother Night's massacre ) "It's like The Spectre went on a bender."
    Detective Dale Colton: "The Spectre?"
    Zatanna: "Better you don't know."
  • You Have Failed Me: Mammon plunges his elemental assassins into the fires of perdition for failing to kill Zatanna, even though he never really expected them to succeed in the first place. Letting them slide would set a bad precedent.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Zatanna 2010


Zatanna's Eyes

Zatanna eyes glow blue whenever she uses her magic.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / GlowingEyes

Media sources: