So, here we go, another Knight Terrors special. This one is about Zatanna. So, what are her worst nightmares?
I’m not sure. She managed to stay awake.
Issue: Knight Terrors: Zatanna #1, July 2023
Writer: Dennis Culver
Artist: David Baldeon
The Plot: Zatanna and Robotman frantically search the Hall of Justice for an artifact to fight Insomnia with.
Commentary: Part of the whole deal with the Knight Terrors event is that the world was put to sleep, but there are a few people who managed to stay awake. Mostly, it’s robotic beings and heroes. Damien Wayne apparently managed because he’s special or something. And there was a surprise reveal at the end of Superman’s first Knight Terrors special that I haven’t reviewed yet. But there’s also Zatanna. She and Justice League Dark came to help Diana look into things at the Hall of Justice, but Zatanna was quick enough to cast a spell to keep herself awake.
Of course, Insomnia apparently has some minions, including the Sleepless Queen, a being that is magical or something (I’m still not sure whether what Insomnia does counts as magic or not), so Zatanna calls for help with a spell to bring her an ally that happens to be awake. She gets the Doom Patrol’s Robotman.
By the by, writer Dennis Culver is also the writer on the Unstoppable Doom Patrol mini-series, so this one here actually does have the right voice for the current Robotman. I can dig that.
I can also dig that even though she isn’t awake, Zatanna is approaching her own worst nightmares, but most interesting is she doesn’t initially care much for Cliff Steele because, well, her father died in a seance that involved Mento, another Doom Patrol member, and she has some hard feelings for the rest of the team as a result.
That..is a very interesting interpretation of Zatanna as a character. I don’t know if she’s ever really had to deal with the Doom Patrol that much, but giving her a reason to dislike them is a nice way to explore an aspect of the character that I know I had never considered before. Plus, this issue does show a resolution to the whole thing because, let’s face it, Cliff Steele is generally a likable sort of guy who had nothing to do with Zatara’s death. It also means the cliffhanger ending has some real stakes, so that’s nice.
Anyway, I liked this one quite a bit.