Review: Black Canary and Zatanna – Bloodspell / Author: Paul Dini / Artist: Joseph A. Quinones, Jr. / Publisher: DC / Release Date: May 21st
Sometimes, DC gets it right. The recent DC52 range of comic books have been mostly disappointing, but the exceptions to the rule have been a lot of fun. Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell is one of those special cases, ditching the grime and dirt of the current reboot and embracing hokey mysticism and two-fisted crime-fighting action.
The tale begins with younger versions of the two titular characters meeting up for the first time somewhere in Tibet, and then effortlessly switches to the modern day. As the Black Canary attempts to foil a casino heist, she gets embroiled in a mystical ritual quickly followed by a daring rocket-pack escape. As a result, Canary finds herself with a problem that requires the assistance of her top hat-wearing, Vegas-headlining, magic-slinging friend, Zatanna.
Given that the author of Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell is none other than Paul Dini, it’s safe to say that both characters are treated very well here. Dini is famously a massive fan of Zatanna especially, and coincidentally happens to be married to top hat-wearing Las Vegas stage magician Misty Lee, so it’s not hard to work out where he draws inspiration for Zatanna from. Dini may not have such a strong muse for Canary, but he treats the character with respect, portraying her as the kind, intelligent and kickass heroine we’ve come to love. The chemistry between the two works well and it’s light-hearted when it needs to be, picking up the pace when it comes to the many action scenes.
Joe Quinone’s art fits the story very well; it’s light and cartoony for the most part, but Quinone effortlessly shifts gears and makes subtle changes to his style when the story demands more serious and more focused art. There’s plenty of little details smuggled into the background and some obvious shout outs to various DC creators. Like Dini, the artist gets that this should be a fun adventure tale and has packed as much joy as possible onto the page, refusing to follow the growing trend of muted colours and murky line art.
It would be very nice indeed if DC started producing more funny, quirky, action-packed and clever adventures like these and a lot less angst-ridden and moody nonsense. More of this and less moping please.