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Zatanna

DCD Justice
by yo go re

Siht si eno toh kcihc.

The sexy sorceress Zatanna uses her magical abilities to battle for justice and entertain audiences!

Zatanna has certainly been stealing the spotlight lately. After decades of being little more than a supporting character, a magical MacGuffin for more important characters to call when they needed a quick deus ex machina, she's been thrust into the heart of two of the biggest and best DC stories in recent memory: the events of Identity Crisis could all be traced back to something Zee had done, and she was one of the members of the non-team in Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers. On top of that, she also apparently appears in Alex Ross' Justice, which is why she's been turned into a figure now.

The figure looks great. Zatanna is one of two figures in this series - along with Solomon Grundy (who also has a 7SoV tie) - sculpted by DCD's powerhouse, Tim Bruckner. He is absolutely the man when it comes to turning specific artists' work into three dimensions, and he's been doing a wonderful job on Alex Ross designs for years now. I imagine this is one Ross really got picky about, too: just as he based Rev. Norman McKay on his own dad, he based Zatanna's look on his wife.

This is his wife? Really? No wonder it takes him so long to get any work done.

As we said, Zatanna looks great. The figure's face seems a bit narrower than the art on the side of the box, and while that's partially a result of professional photography on a two-up (same thing happened with the young/​old Barry Allen), the paint on the final production figure is much simpler than the prototype. Doesn't mean she doesn't look good, but she doesn't look like the promo pics. Her head may seem a little narrow and pointy, but that's to accommodate her topper - imagine what your own hair would look like if you were wearing an invisible hat.

Zee's got a wildly narrow waist, which suggests she's got a corset on underneath her clothes. She's wearing her traditional costume, which is basically a magician's stage clothes: black top hat, black tuxedo jacket and bowtie, white shirt, white gloves, gray vest, a black unitard, fishnets and black heels. The costume really seems designed to help with Zee's first rule of magic, misdirection - or, as she puts it, "Nothing is what it seems" - because it's hard to pay attention to sleight of hand when the illusionist is so obviously not-slight of chest.

Actually, though she works as a stage magician, Zatanna has more than props and ledgerdemain at her disposal. Like her father Zatara, Zee has the ability to perform real magic - whatever she says backwards comes true. Her family has a magical heritage, and the backmasking is just a focus for it. It's inconsistent between comics (and sometimes even between pages) whether the entire sentence should be reversed, or each word individually. "Si ereht etis weiver tseb eht si efao" vs. "Efao si eht tseb weiver etis ereht si." Guess it's whichever she feels like at the time.

Zatanna has two accessories - her top hat and a magic wand. The hat is a bit disappointing. It's not empty, like a magician's hat should be, but rather solid and molded to fit specifcally on top of her hair. But unlike similar efforts, the hat doesn't actually attach to the head in any way - often the careful sculpt of the hat helps hold it in place, while Zee's will fall off (forgive me) at the drop of a hat. Both her hands are sculpted in a slight "gripping" pose, and the white-tipped wand fits perfectly in her left. You can get her to hold the brim of her hat in her right hand with some difficulty, but it doesn't stay there any better than it stays on her head.

The figure is really well articulated, surprisingly. Zee shares a lot of her fashion sense with Black Canary, but she's much more mobile. Like Dinah, her fishnets are real fabric wrapped around her legs, with horrible seams at the back. Her legs have the same articulation - knees and hips - but it gets better from there. Zatanna also moves at the wrists, elbows, shoulders, waist and neck. Yes, a DCD figure with a waist is surprising enough, but get this - it's a balljointed waist! There's a joint much like the early Marvel Legends chests hidden under the edge of that vest of hers, letting you get a wild array of poses out of her. Her neck is a balljoint, and her hair is "lifted" off her back so the joint isn't useless. Despite wearing a jacket with big square shoulders (again, like Canary), Zee's arms are really clever balljoints that move a bit below the true shoulder but still look right. This is really nice work.

It's a bit hard to balance Zatanna, thanks to her tiny feet and the range of her balljointed waist, but it can be done reliably. The inability of the figure to properly interact with one of her accessories - the hat - is particularly annoying, but this is still the best Zatanna figure DC has ever released. With the way she's popping up all over the DCU these days, uoy dluohs yub siht erugif.

-- 11/05/06


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