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Detective Comics #844
writer: Paul Dini
artists: Dustin Nguyen
and Derek Fridolfs

Anybody who knows anything about writer Paul Dini knows he has a thing for Zatanna. Actually, thanks to Dini, anybody reading comics and possessing a pulse should have a thing for Zatanna. So it makes a lot of sense that eventually, Bruce Wayne should have a thing for Zatanna.

Two things stand in the way, of course. As long as Bruce Wayne is driven by the demons that make him Batman, he can never know true love. Gee, it sounds like a gypsy curse. The other thing that keeps this book from ending the way we would want it to is that heck, Grant Morrison is about to either kill Bruce or get rid of those demons.

Actually, Morrison already did, way back in 52. Yet conveniently enough, Dini either doesn't remember that or chose to ignore it. Either way, it makes for greater dramatic tension, and a sense of loss. You might also remember that Zatanna once mind-wiped Batman, and Dini doesn't so much ignore it as make it a lightly inconvenient fact of continuity.

The book he writes, however, is not Driven Vigilantes In Love, but Detective Comics. So at the heart of the story has to be some sort of mystery getting resolved. This time around, it's the mystery of the new lap on which the dummy Scarface sits. Dini brings things back around to the very beginning of his run on this title, and makes Scarface even creepier, if you could believe that's possible.

Ultimately, the book takes a sort of cop-out on whether or not the wooden gangster could be real, but as usual for Dini, the characterizations and the dialogue are just so strong that if you're left feeling slightly unsatisfied, you don't notice until the next day.

Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs deliver a solid though slightly cartoony take on the Gotham City fun, but somehow that makes Zatanna all the more alluring. She's literally an impossible girl, so why not just crank it up and acknowledge her as a cartoon character we love?

After all, she herself gives a lot of credit to the power of suggestion.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think!

Derek McCaw


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