The Time is Now
With the recent events of DC’s Metal and the Witching Hour, now, more than ever, is the time to bring back Zatara. Zatara, for some odd reason, is the one superhero that has stayed dead. No more! DC, 2019 is the year of Zatara!
Giovanni “John” Zatara first appeared in Action Comics #1. Yeah, the Superman one, he was there. Created by Fred Gaurdineer, Zatara, as his first story’s title suggests, was a master magician. He was a successful stage magician who practiced actual magic. At the end of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing #50, Zatara sacrifices himself to keep his daughter, Zatanna, safe.
After death, Zatara was part of a general resistence in Hell, however, worried that he may become stooge for Hell, he requests Zatanna to destroy his essence. This would send him to the abyss, where Hell has no dominion.
In Blackest Night, Zatara was reanimated as a Black Lantern Corp member. Unfortunately, it comes down to Zatanna having to banish him. This leaves her psychologically destroyed as this is the third time she sees him die.
With the Witching Hour, there’s a need for him, and with Metal and Blackest Night, there’s a way to bring him back!
Since Zatara was possessed by the Black Lantern Corp, we can assume his essence is out of the abyss. Awesome, step one done!
Phase 1 – Zatara: Rebellion in Hell
With his soul being fair game, he could return to Hell, with a new passion after seeing his daughter. He takes his place as a leader in the continual rebellion in Hell.
To aid in the resistance, Zatara starts to dabble in dark magic. This greatly increases his powers, but is left struggling to contain the evil that now dwells within him. This will create an interesting dichotomy to explore. Though ultimately working for the good, evil urges meet him at every turn.
Taking note of the disturbance Zatara’s rebellion is causing, the devil strikes him a deal. Stop the riots, and he will give him life. Wishing to return to his daughter, he accepts, though knowing in the back of his head that there is surely tricks.
Phase 2 – Zatara & Swamp Thing
Weakened by his reanimation, Zatara takes shelter in a nearby forest. He swears off the use of dark magic… But dark magic doesn’t swear off him. Under constant attack from evil spirits and demons, Zatara decides to stay in the forest until this struggle is settled, fearing to endanger his daughter. Luckily, the forest he settles in is inhabited by a friend. Swamp Thing helps Zatara through his struggles. The fights escalate to a battle with Mudge. When defeated, Mudge vows revenge. Lord Satanus will be a reoccurring villain and nemesis to Zatara in a never-ending battle to claim his soul, but for now we are moving on.
Phase 3 – Zachary & Zatara
Worried about how Zatanna will react to seeing her father, Zatara instead looks for his nephew, Zachary. Swamp Thing helps him in his search. Zachary, ecstatic with meeting his idol, follows Zatara wherever he goes. Zatara decides to go to Batman to help reintroduce him to the Justice League and his daughter. Finding Wayne Manor in a state of disrepair, Zatara and Zachary learn that Batman has gone rogue.
Hoping to find some answers into Batman’s flip, they travel to Gotham to talk to the Gordons. Commissioner Gordon, fearing for his life says nothing about Batman, but is able to get them in contact with the Teen Titans. Sensing an evil aura surrounding and following Zatara, Raven refuses to let the travelers near the Titans. After he offers an explanation to this Raven agrees to help him rid of this.
Phase 4 – Raven and the Zataras
The trio goes to Faerie to get protection from King Auberon. In return for the protection of Faerie, Queen Titania gives them a quest. This quest puts them through many magical obstacles. Earning the respect of the King and Queen of Faerie, the trio returns and Raven introduces Zatara to the Justice League.
Phase 5 – The Zatara Family
The reunion of the Zatara family then splits into their own comic line, Zatara Family to accompany the solo series for Zatara.
Zatara does not tell Zatanna about his deal with the devil which poses problems later, but as a good dad, he does not want to worry her.
The Zatara Family book will look into family life and how they interact with each other and how they work together to beat Lord Satanus.
The solo Zatara book looks into his personal strife that he keeps from his family, such as the hauntings of the dark magic and the deal with Lucifer.
Comic books don’t write themselves. If I were DC, this is who I’d call for creative teams.
Zatara: Rebellion in Hell — Marv Wolfman and Mike Mignola
Zatara & Swamp Thing — Gail Simone and Bill Sienkiewicz
Zachary & Zatara — Lee Allred and Carlo Barberi
Raven and the Zataras — Tom King and Dylan Burnett
Zatara Family — Scott Snyder and Eduardo Risso