Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Best Reads of 2015: Comic Books - Paul Dini's Black Canary and Zatanna

Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell 
Paul Dini and Joe Quinones
DC Comics, June 2015

Cover image artwork by Joe Quinones.
Dini, a master storyteller of various animated DC Comics and Marvel Comics flagship characters including Batman Beyond, Superman and Ultimate Spider-Man, once again spins a fine yarn. This time, he explores the longstanding friendship between Dinah Drake and Zatanna Zatara, the titular characters. The result is sexy, silly and almost too much fun.

Dini's writing feels punchy and inventive, for which readers should be thankful. For example, take the scene where Zatanna magically plays with Green Arrow and Black Canary action figures and makes them get hot and bothered. This blogger cannot describe this scene and do it justice. Read it for yourselves, true believers. Joe Quinones’ art is simplistic yet expressive, reminiscent of animated DC Comics shows. Still, he allows the characters to breathe and develop and their interactions to grow, from the flashback scenes when they were 16-year-old kids to Zatanna’s early days with the Justice League.

Animation superstar Dini originally announced this project in 2006 but it never saw the light of day until June 2015. So rejoice, readers of fine comics. These heroines have legs in fishnets and, in the immortal words of ZZ Top, they know how to use ’em. But the book’s about more than a great set of gams, although admittedly that is part of the appeal of both strong female characters for this author. It’s about a great writing-and-illustration combination and about great characterization. This a great ride for Zatanna fans and Black Canary fans who want to see Dinah do something else besides hang with the Birds of Prey team. Bloodspell is, simply, a great standalone story.
Gorgeous artwork from Joe Quinones
featured on the back cover.

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