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Quote1 Hey, pay attention to me! I'm fascinating. Quote2
-- Zatanna Zatara src

Origin

Zatanna Zatara is the daughter of magician Giovanni “John” Zatara and Sindella, a member of the mystical Homo Magi race. Zatanna was raised by her father in a small house in New York, near the infamous Arkham Asylum.[2] Zatanna's mother seemingly died after her birth, but she eventually learned that Sindella faked her death to return to her people.

Zatanna is a direct descendant of the artist and magician Leonardo da Vinci, and is related to Nostradamus, Alessandro Cagliostro, the noted alchemists Nicholas Flamel and Evan Fulcanelli, and Lord Arion of Atlantis.[citation needed] Her cousin, Zachary Zatara, is also a magician.

Finding Zatara and Stage Career

Zatanna became a successful stage illusionist before she discovered her true magical powers while investigating the disappearance of her father.[3] On her quest, she asked help of various heroes including Hawkman and Hawkgirl,[4] Atom,[5]Green Lantern,[6] and Elongated Man.[7] Eventually, Zatanna located her father in the world of Kharma, where she traveled to alongside magical duplicates of the heroes she met in her journey and was finally reunited with her father, who was forced to stay away from her due to a spell from the evil sorceress, Allura.[8]

Zatanna then continued her career as a stage magician and not much later, he met other notable heroes such as The Flash,[9] Supergirl[10] and Green Arrow.[11] As she pursued her stage career, she hired Jeff Sloane, an agent who would soon become a very close friend, going on various adventures with her.[12][13][14] Shortly after finding Jeff, Allura attacked them by possessing Zatara. Zatanna and Jeff had to overcome several obstacles on other dimensions until they returned to Earth and defeated Allura for good.[15][16]

For a while, Zatanna continued her career as stage magician and also assisted people in need with her powers.[17][18][19][20][21] Zatanna assisted the Justice League of America on a number of cases[22] before being elected to full membership. As she was recruited into the Justice League, Zatanna changed her regular stage outfit to combat costume, also changing her alias from "Zatanna, the Magician" to "Zatanna the Sorceress".[23]

Justice League of America

Zatanna switches costumes

Zatanna switches costumes

As a member of the Justice League, Zatanna’s first case was the mystery behind her new costume and her mother’s true identity.[2] After learning that her amnesia and the new costume were the result of her mother attempting to establish a connection with her,[24] Zatanna and her father tracked Sindella to the ancient city of the Hidden Ones, with assistance from the Justice League.[25] There, Zatanna learned that her mother didn’t die in a car accident, but was abducted by her own people and taken back to the secret city, as they needed her powers for their civilization to thrive. Unfortunately, their reunion was short-lived as Sindella sacrificed herself to save Zatanna from the same fate as hers.[26]

After a proper funeral for her mother,[27] Zatanna proved vital in the defeat of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, when she uncovered their plan of switching identities with members of the Justice League, by disguising herself as Star Sapphire.[28][29] Afterwards, Zatanna teamed-up with Superman in order to understand his vulnerability to magic[30] and later, Zatanna teamed-up with Batman to clear a faith-healer’s name.[31] Finally and in order to move out of her parents’ shadows, Zatanna decided to switch to a new costume one more time, making this version closer to her own personality and identity.[32]

Elemental Magic

Unfortunately, her work as part of the League pushed Zatanna over the limits of her abilities and after taking part on some of the League’s most notable cases, her magic powers started to wane until her mystical abilities were reduced in half; meaning she could only manipulate elemental magic, which allowed her only to control natural forces.[33] This reduced Zatanna’s activities as part of the League and she partially resumed her stage career under the guidance of her agent. During this time, Zatanna confronted The Shrieker,[34][35] who was given powers by Dark Zatanna, a twister version of the Mistress of Magic who lived in a dark dimension and attempted to kill Jeff to weaken Zatanna.[36] Zatanna managed to stop her dark mirror image and continued her stage career.[37][38]

When most of the members of the League were busy, Zatanna was the only member available to assist Wonder Woman against the Adjudicator.[39][40] In another mission to assist Batman and Superman, Zatanna was affected by powerful black magic[41] and she only recovered after Wonder Woman took her to Paradise Island and used the Purple Healing Ray on her.[42] In yet another close encounter with the supernatural, Zatanna was possessed by Hellrazer, a powerful demon that attempted to use Zatanna to defeat the Justice League, but failed.[43][44][45] One of her last assignments as a member of the League, was to help Blue Devil against the demon/entity called Nebiros.[46][47] After the destruction of the Justice League Satellite, the original members of the League decided to disband the team. However, Aquaman, who was a founding member, decided to create the Justice League Detroit and Zatanna joined the new team formed of old and new heroes.[48]

Zatara's Death and Return to Magic

Zatanna found a balance between her stage career and her life as a member of the Justice League and after helping Blue Devil against Nebiros once again,[49] she survived the Crisis that obliterated multiple universes and combined them into a single universe. Unfortunately, these events unleashed supernatural forces that surpassed every being and entity on Earth.

The looming threat of the Great Darkness was first perceived by John Constantine, a former boyfriend of Zatanna. Constantine started gathering powerful sorcerers from over the world to start a séance in order to fight the Great Darkness and he soon reached Shadowcrest, asking Zatara and Zatanna’s assistance, who agreed to help.[50] Zatanna and her father soon joined Constantine and Sargon the Sorcerer, among others, who had come together to battle the Great Darkness. During the battle, the Darkness attacked the sorcerers, killing Sargon first and then attempted to eliminate Zatanna. Zatara casted a spell to release his daughter from the impending doom, but sacrificed his own life in the process. Although, The Darkness was neutralized by other forces, Zatanna had lost her father and this loss would haunt her on many occasions.[51]

Zatanna returns to the stage!

Zatanna returns to the stage!

After Zatara’s sacrifice, Zatanna returned to her career as a stage magician and her old costume, in honor of her late father. During her triumphant return, Zatanna assisted her old friends Hawkman and Hawkwoman against the small-time crook known as Kite Man.[52] However, during other performances, Zatanna noticed her mother’s presence nearby and guided by her powers, Zatanna started a quest to save the Homo Magi and find the secret source of her magic. This adventure was disrupted by the evil Allura, who had escaped her prison and managed to overcome Zatanna, trapping her using dark magic. Zatanna eventually learned the secret of her own magic and escaped Allura’s trap before returning home, leaving her conflict with Allura unresolved.[53]

No More Justice League

Eventually, Zatanna got herself a roommate called Sheri, unaware that she was follower of a cultist known as Adam, who used Sheri to lure Zatanna into a trap. Adam’s ultimate goal was to obtain Zatanna’s Homo Magi DNA and imbue the substance into his body, acquiring greater powers. Zatanna was trapped and Adam succeeded in becoming more powerful,[54] but these powers were too much for his human mind and he fell into a deep catatonic state. Gypsy and Martian Manhunter were drawn to Zatanna’s location and they decided to help Adam, despite his past aggressions.[55] Zatanna used her magic to enter Adam’s mind and saved him, bringing the two of them closer together on a spiritual level.[56]

Mistress of Magic

Mistress of Magic

Zatanna decided to leave the Justice League and continued her stage career with Adam at her side. Unfortunately, on her first show they were attacked by the evil demon Wotan, who killed Adam and used Zatanna’s limbs to create a new body for himself and return to Earth.[57] Zatanna sought Madame Xanadu’s help and Spectre joined the efforts against Wotan. The Spectre released Zatara’s soul from Wotan’s grip and he returned Zatanna her body, but failed to capture Wotan himself. Despite this, Zatanna got one last chance to see her father before his soul could pass away in peace.[58]

Later, Zatanna attended a gathering summoned by Spectre, where all mystical beings of Earth decided to continue protecting mankind for the foreseeable future.[59]

Identity Crisis and Beyond

"Tegrof!"

"Tegrof!"

While Zatanna was a member of the Justice League, the villain Dr. Light broke into their headquarters and violently raped the Elongated Man's wife Sue Dibny. When Zatanna and several others Leaguers returned, they saw what Dr. Light had done. A fight broke out and when they finally managed to subdue him, he began to threaten them and their families. Zatanna was prepared to erase Light's memories of the incident, but his terrible brutality and his promises to do it again sparked a debate among the present League members on whether or not to tamper with his personality and prevent him from repeating his crime. Zatanna, Hawkman, and The Atom voted for such action, while Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Green Lantern voted against. The Flash broke the tie and voted to allow Zatanna to tamper with Light's mind. Zatanna used her magic to do so, but the difficulty of the process resulted in her accidentally lowering his intellect. In the midst of her spell, Batman appeared and tried to stop them. Zatanna froze him, and they voted to have her erase his memories of the incident as well.

Zatanna's mind-wipe of Dr. Light was not an isolated occurrence. Catwoman discovered that her journey from villain to hero and her resulting efforts to lead a moral life were caused by Zatanna's mental intervention. Selina came to distrust her memories, motives, and the choices she had made since that incident. In a fit of rage, Catwoman tied Zatanna up and pushed her through a window. Despite this, Zatanna helped Catwoman and, at Selina's behest, mind-wiped petty villains Film Freak and Angle Man, because they had deduced Catwoman's secret identity.

Zatanna and Batman

Zatanna and Batman

Zatanna and Batman's friendship degraded once Batman discovered that she had tampered with his mind. He began to distrust her and his other friends in the super hero community. When Zatanna helped Batman with reconnaissance at a Lazarus Pit, she asked him why he came to her. "I needed someone I can trust," Batman said, "but I had to settle for you." Over time, however, their relationship appeared to warm; sometime later he called her for information on a card-counter involved in scamming the Penguin. He made no mention of their conflict, and casually called her by her nickname, "Zee".

Zatanna and Batman also investigated the murder of one of Zatanna's former employees, who died while performing in one of Loxias's shows. When they found Loxias, he revealed that he was not who they thought he was—he was in fact the Joker. The Joker shot Zatanna and locked her in a tank of water. He managed to get the upper hand on Zatanna and Bruce at first, but Bruce broke the stage chair he was tied to in order to free Zatanna from the tank. Afterwards, Bruce stayed alongside Zatanna while she rested through the night, suggesting he still had feelings for her. When Zatanna asked why they did not start a deeper relationship, Batman stated while he did want to open everything to her, he didn't want to bring her into his dark world. They both departed in a friendly state.

Heart of Hush and Seven Soldiers

Shortly after, Zatanna met Catwoman while performing in Gotham City. After a quick talk and a tarot card reading session, Zatanna learned that Catwoman was having troubles with Bruce and she prompted Selina to talk to him before it was too late.[60] Later that night, Selina was attacked by Hush, who removed her heart from her body. After Batman retrieved her heart and Selina was recovering in a hospital room, Zatanna talked to Catwoman's subconscious mind and apologized for not telling her about the incoming danger while reading the cards. Before leaving, Zatanna gave Selina a bottle of a magical ointment that would heal Selina's scar faster.[61]

After departing from the Justice League, Zatanna continued her stage career and her vocation as a defender against mystical threats, becoming a member of the Sentinels of Magic. She also became the author of the hugely successful book Hex Appeal: The Modern Girl's Guide to Magic.

Zatanna during her time with the Seven Soldiers

Zatanna during her time with the Seven Soldiers

At a superhero support group run by Etta Candy, Zatanna recounted how during a failed magical ritual to search for her father's tomes, one of her past ill-cast spells summoned a shapeshifter named Gwydion, who killed her companions. The trauma of this, combined with her guilt from her mind-wipes, caused her to lose confidence in herself and she lost her powers. With the help of her new apprentice Misty Kilgore, she was able to capture Gwydion to use as her own. She eventually regained her confidence and powers, and used them to defeat Zor, a rogue Time Tailor who released the Sheeda as a plague to infect and degrade the entire universe. As a reward, the other Time Tailors allowed her one last meeting with her father, who revealed that his books were written in her, his greatest spell and gift to the world. In the final battle against the Sheeda, Zatanna cast a spell to move time and space, retroactively positioning the Seven Soldiers of Victory to overthrow the Sheeda.

Zatanna acted as a reserve member of the Justice League, aiding them from time to time when her magical expertise was needed. She declined an offer for full membership, stating her need to take a break from heroics. She remained a regular guardian against mystical threats.

Convergence

Convergence Vol 1 0 Textless
New DC logo

This section of the history takes place during Convergence, a massive crossover event revisiting characters from past eras and realities. The villains Brainiac and Telos plucked them from their own timeline and stored them together, causing them to cross over into each others' reality. Its precise chronological placement and canonicity may be unclear.

Main article: Convergence (Event)

Zatanna, Supergirl, Jade, and Vixen were all in Gotham attending a baby shower for Jesse Quick when the city was captured and placed in the dome, and everyone lost their powers. A year later, the heroines had all become somewhat accustomed to their new lives as socialites. This came to an end when the dome fell and the League had to fight the Flashpoint Aquaman.[62]

Zatanna and the other heroes fought off the main forces while Kara and Vixen saved Mera.[63]

Powers

  • Magic: Zatanna is a Homo Magi, a human born with the affinity to manipulate magic. Her unique genetic structure allows her to use the magic she was born with as well as learned magic. As a tribute to her father, and as a focus for her spells, she casts spells by speaking backwards or "Logomancy". For example, saying "pots" would cause the target of the spell to stop in their tracks. She's feared and famed as one of most powerful magic users on the planet and mortal plane.[64]
    • Elemental Control: Zatanna can manipulate magical elements such as:
    • Telekinesis: Zatanna can move/obtain objects at a distance with her spells.[65][66][67]
    • Telepathy: Zatanna can also read minds, view and erase memories of others with or without the person's consent.[66][68]
    • Teleportation: She can send herself and/or anyone to anyplace she/they wish to visit without any space/time restrictions.[66][69][70][67][71][72]
    • Dimensional Travel: Zatanna can travels through dimensions through portals she opened with magic.
    • Reality Alteration: She can manipulate reality at will to inflicts confusions and mental trauma on her target.
    • Antipathy: Zatanna can reverse physical trauma so all damage that comes to her will hit her target instead.
    • Deflection: Zatanna can return energy projections sent to her back to their source without loss of momentum or power.[69]
    • Chronokinesis: Zatanna can move time forwards or backwards or even stops time in demand.
    • Weather Manipulation: Zatanna can control and affects the weather in a certain area.
    • Eldritch Blast: Zatanna can blast enemies with mystical energy.[69][70][67][71]
    • Energy Construct Creation: Zatanna can use her magical energies to create inanimate objects such as traps or devices to suit her needs.[69][73][70][74]
    • Energy Transference: Zatanna once forced a "nightmare" demon into the dreams of hundreds of people to split him apart then locked him away in her hat.[75][69][76]
    • Flight: Zatanna can fly or levitate however she says that this requires a lot of energy and concentration and therefore she chooses not to fly if possible.[73][71]
    • Force Field: Zatanna can create magical shields to withstand bullets, blasts, blows and explosions. The greater the size or density of the shield the more effort it takes Zatanna to hold.[69][70]
    • Healing: Zatanna can heal herself or whoever she choses from most injuries.[69]
    • Phasing: Zatanna can make herself into her "phantom form" and become intangible.
    • Size Alteration: Zatanna can increase or decrease her size or the size of others to any conceivable size.[69]
    • Transformation: Zatanna can turn anything into anything else, essentially. For instance, she has turned bullets into paper airplanes[74] as well changing her clothes instantly.[66][68] Most often she changes violent objects into harmless things.[69][73][70][67][77]

Abilities

  • Prestidigitation: Zatanna is a greatly skilled magician and an expert illusionist, therefore performing extraordinary (real)tricks and incredible illusions on stage is super simple to her.
  • Hypnosis: Zatanna can hypnotize anyone and command them to do anything she pleases.
  • Meditation: Through meditation, Zatanna can astral project.[68]
  • Astral Projection: Zatanna's consciousness can leave her physical body and travel to other planes of existence.[68]
  • Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Zatanna has received extensive training from her time with the Justice League and from her father who always told her to rely on her wits as well as her fists should her magic fail.[66][73][67][74]
  • Occultism: As a chronicler of magic she possesses an extensive understanding of occult lore due to her mystic background.[78]
  • Multilingualism: Able to speak English and many other languages and her signature "Backwards Speech".[71] She also speaks some Spanish.[66]

Weaknesses

  • Mnemonic Incantation: Zatanna casts her spells by saying the words of her incantations backwards. Mnemonic incantation is the most complicated of the mystic arts. On one occasion, the assassin Deathstroke delivered a direct blow to her liver, initiating a regurgitation reaction. On a separate occasion, The Joker (disguised as the stage magician Loxias) shot Zatanna in the neck, rendering her magic useless. She must be able to speak or read backwards in order for her to focus her spells.
  • Vulnerability to Magic: Powerful enchantments against beings of magic, like gods, are able to restrict her as well, preventing her from accessing enchanted places or dispel the adverse charm.[78] Harmful magical realms such as Hell can also hinder how often she can speak her spells and can cause her great physical damage.[79]

Equipment

  • Magic Wand: Usually, she is often seen with a magic wand, although whether it is a stage prop or an actual focus for her power remains unknown. She does not need it though, considering her recent appearances without one and being able to cast spells effectively.
  • Magician's hat: She can project energies/things out from her hat or even take out any equipment she needs. The hat can also be used as a portal or a dungeon to capture and trap her target in it for as long as she wants. It is also unknown if its just a stage prop or a focus for her power. And just like her wand, she does not need it in order to use her magical powers.
  • Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
  • In 1964 the character of Zatanna is introduced. Her childhood is subject to several contradictions. The story of her introduction revolves around her search for her father, Giovanni “John” Zatara. The issues surrounding her search have an internal contradiction. In Hawkman #4, her first appearance, she states that her father disappeared “several years ago,” but in her sixth appearance Justice League of America #51, published in 1967, she states that she has not seen her father “in twenty long years.” Later, in Secret Origins 27 it is stated that her father disappeared soon after her eighteenth birthday. As of the publication of Justice League of America #51, the identity of her mother had yet to be revealed. Sindella first appeared in Justice League of America Vol 1 163, published in 1979. Sindella is said to have left immediately after Zatanna's birth, faking her death to return to her people. If the twenty year separation and the departure of her mother are both accepted as true, Zatanna would have been orphaned. Many other stories refer to her being raised by her father, so it is best to assume that Allura cursed her father around her eighteenth birthday, not soon after her birth. Her father left her sometime immediately thereafter, and they were separated for only “several years."
  • Zatanna's nicknames include the Mistress of Magic, Princess of Prestidigitation, Zee, Z, Zanna, Zanny, and Magic Maid.
  • Zatanna owns a mansion called Shadowcrest, in which she keeps a vast library of magical knowledge, as well as an arsenal of powerful relics, enough to do "just about anything you'd want to do." Shadowcrest seems to exist in a completely different dimension, although it is initially located outside of Gotham.
  • Zatanna is a vegetarian.[66]
  • Zatanna Zatara (New Earth) appears as Zatanna (Prime) a playable character in the Infinite Crisis video game.

Related


Footnotes

  1. Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #4
  2. 2.0 2.1 Justice League of America #162
  3. DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #5
  4. Hawkman #4
  5. Atom #19
  6. Green Lantern (Volume 2) #42
  7. Detective Comics #355
  8. Justice League of America #51
  9. The Flash #198
  10. Supergirl #7
  11. Action Comics #434
  12. Adventure Comics #413
  13. Supergirl #1
  14. Adventure Comics #419
  15. Adventure Comics #414
  16. Adventure Comics #415
  17. Adventure Comics #421
  18. Supergirl #2
  19. Supergirl #3
  20. Supergirl #4
  21. Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #132
  22. Justice League of America #114
  23. Justice League of America #161
  24. Justice League of America #163
  25. Justice League of America #164
  26. Justice League of America #165
  27. Justice League of America #166
  28. Justice League of America #167
  29. Justice League of America #168
  30. DC Comics Presents #18
  31. Brave and the Bold #169
  32. Justice League of America #187
  33. Justice League of America #191
  34. World's Finest #274
  35. World's Finest #275
  36. World's Finest #276
  37. World's Finest #277
  38. World's Finest #278
  39. Wonder Woman #291
  40. Wonder Woman #293
  41. World's Finest #285
  42. World's Finest #286
  43. Justice League of America #225
  44. Justice League of America #226
  45. Justice League of America #227
  46. Blue Devil #4
  47. Blue Devil #5
  48. Justice League of America Annual #2
  49. Blue Devil #13
  50. Swamp Thing (Volume 2) #49
  51. Swamp Thing (Volume 2) #50
  52. Hawkman (Volume 2) #4
  53. Zatanna Special #1
  54. Justice League of America #255
  55. Justice League of America #256
  56. Justice League of America #257
  57. Spectre (Volume 2) #7
  58. Spectre (Volume 2) #8
  59. Spectre (Volume 2) #11
  60. Detective Comics #847
  61. Detective Comics #850
  62. Convergence: Justice League #1
  63. Convergence: Justice League #2
  64. Zatanna (Volume 2) #4
  65. Identity Crisis #1
  66. 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4 66.5 66.6 Zatanna (Volume 2) #1
  67. 67.0 67.1 67.2 67.3 67.4 Zatanna (Volume 2) #9
  68. 68.0 68.1 68.2 68.3 Zatanna (Volume 2) #8
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 69.3 69.4 69.5 69.6 69.7 69.8 Zatanna (Volume 2) #3
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 70.3 70.4 Zatanna (Volume 2) #7
  71. 71.0 71.1 71.2 71.3 Zatanna (Volume 2) #12
  72. Reign in Hell #3
  73. 73.0 73.1 73.2 73.3 Zatanna (Volume 2) #4
  74. 74.0 74.1 74.2 Zatanna (Volume 2) #15
  75. Zatanna (Volume 2) #2
  76. Zatanna (Volume 2) #14
  77. Zatanna (Volume 2) #11
  78. 78.0 78.1 Zatanna (Volume 2) #10
  79. Reign in Hell #3


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