Seven Critics of Victory: Andrea Ayres on Zatanna #1

Shelfdust

Zatanna Zatara sits in a metal folding chair anxiously holding onto her keys, a lucky rabbit’s foot dangles between her legs. She’s hunched over with an invisible weight resting on her shoulders. The perspective of the panel places the audience in a higher position than Zatanna, we look down on her. Artist Ryan Sook signals to the audience the power they possess. Vulnerable and dejected, Zatanna invites us in with a question: You want guilt?

It’s an awkward scene. Group therapy for superheroes with low self-esteem? The concept of superheroes reflecting on their past traumas seems so foreign we end up laughing. Joining the group mid-therapy session is somewhat disorienting. The reader doesn’t know how long they’ve been meeting for, how they found one another or what has already been shared. The reader relies on Zatanna to usher us into this new universe. As a well-known character she represents safety…

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