Zatanna #11

Oscar Hempel, evil puppeteer turned evil puppet has managed to turn himself back into a human while turning Zatanna into a puppet. Hempel has been using her in his show for several weeks, but plans to have her put into a museum so he’ll be rid of her forever. But her stage manager, Mikey, suspects Zatanna has been kidnapped, recognizes “Miss Zee-Zee” from one of Hempel’s shows, and disguises herself as a floozie so she can knock out Hempel and try to help Zatanna regain her human form. The plan mostly works, but Hempel regains consciousness and tries to zap Mikey with his magic trinkets. But Mikey is under the protection of a spell (What? She is? Since when?), and the backlash turns Hempel back into a puppet, and Zatanna back into her fully human form. Also, Brother Night is back and planning more evil stuff.

Verdict: Ehh, a little from Column A, a little from Column B. The art by Jamal Igle is outstanding. The story is pretty much a mess. Zatanna doesn’t really do much of anything. The entire story runs on Mikey’s ingenuity, a lucky magic spell, and Hempel’s general rottenness. Zatanna’s a side player in her own book.

Detective Comics #875

A Batman comic that barely features Batman at all? Well, it actually turns out pretty good. Our focus is on Commissioner James Gordon, who is tracking a recently paroled prisoner who he suspects of being a long vanished child killer — and at the same time, remembering the childhood of his estranged son, James Jr. His son was always a weird, disturbed kid — drastically unemotional, smart, but with a tendency toward cruelty. Gordon has always suspected that his son killed one of Barbara Gordon’s childhood friends — but is there actually a connection between the two cases?

Verdict: A big thumbs up. Outstanding storytelling, outstanding art. The title of the comic is “Detective Comics,” and this one is all about detective work, even if the Dark Knight isn’t the star.

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