Lucky 13

Zatanna #13

Zatanna gets a visit from a magic cat with a crystal eye painted in the fur on its back. It is apparently a regular visitor to her home, as she knows it’s only there to deliver messages about the future to her. And the messages this time indicate that she’s about to have to deal with Brother Night and the Spectre. While Zee pays a visit to the Spectre to see whether he has some sort of grudge against her, Brother Night is making his magic-aided escape from prison, despite Detective Colton’s attempts to stop him. After mind-controlling prisoners, police dogs, and random commuters, Brother Night takes over his old headquarters, making plans for the future.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Brother Night is wonderfully creepy, Zatanna’s back-and-forth with the Spectre is better than I expected, and the revelation about Detective Colton’s past is pretty good, too.

How to improve this series: Believe it or not, less magic. What, less magic in a Zatanna comic? Listen, I really love Brother Night as a villain, but he’s been in almost every issue, and the ones he hasn’t been in have also focused entirely on magic-users. But Zatanna guest-stars in other comics, too — why not start bringing the rest of the DCU, magical, mundane, and superheroic, into this book, too? This book needs a connection to the rest of DC’s heroes.

Herc #3

A supervillain jailbreak sends Man-Bull, the Griffin, and Basilisk to New York, along with a mysterious amnesiac woman. As Hercules meets (and gradually gets frustrated by) his newest neighbors, the villains go rob a bank. Herc shows up to kick their tails — but he switches sides when Kyknos, Son of Ares, and the Ares-worshiping Warhawks show up. It’s not that he’s really on the supervillains’ sides — but Kyknos is willing to kill all of them. And what’s the amnesiac’s secret, and how does it tie in with Marvel’s “Fear Itself” crossover?

Verdict: I think I’ll thumbs this one up. Good dialogue and several wonderful jokes getting tossed off here — the last couple of issues have been much too serious for a couple of writers as wonderfully funny as Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente.

How to improve this series: More humor, for one thing. And fer cryin’ out loud, give Herc all of his powers back. There are more than enough street-level heroes in the Marvel Universe — why add another when Herc makes such a great world-beater?

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