Very little is known about John Zatara's life save that he was considered by most to be the world's greatest magician. At some point in his life, he married and had a daughter, Zatanna, who he would train in both stage magic as well as the real thing. For reasons unexplained, both John and his daughter were blessed with immense magical abilities that on their own allowed for them to grant people their deepest wishes. However, this ability could not be used on themselves. With a certain book that John owned however, their abilities could be fully unlocked to where anything they said backwards, would become a magic spell. Prior to his death, he owned a family estate called Shadowcrest, which supposedly has been passed down throughout the Zatara family line. At some point, John gave his life to save Zatanna from an unknown danger. The result of his death left Zatanna so distraught that she began to go to desperate means to bring him back.

After his death, John left Zatanna a book that has been passed from generation to generation with their heritage inside, but at some point after his death, his book of spells was sold at an auction and acquired by Lex Luthor.

Racked by guilt over John's Death, his daughter Zatanna went to extreme lengths in order to regain his old magic book, which within it, contained a spell that could undo death. Zatanna had intended to sacrifice her own life, so as to bring back her deceased father. Zatanna had started the spell on the Daily Planet rooftop, but was stopped by Clark Kent and Chloe Sullivan. Before the spell was ended, Zatanna could see the faint outline of her father.


  • The actor of John Zatara was only shown on a promotion picture and not in the episode, save for a vague shadow during Zatanna's resurrection spell.



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