“Three Days of the Dead”
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Ryan Sook and Mick Gray
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Zatanna has ample opportunity to teach her die-powered protégée Misty many of the laws of magic, as they must contend with ghosts, unicorns, demons, faeries, and eternal huntsmen in rapid succession.
Comments: The first issue introduced a story, the last issue completed it, and this one deepens it in a different way. That’s a lot for one little mini-series (out of seven others) to offer, and it’s yet another star turn by Morrison as he offers up perhaps the best ever version of Zatanna. Morrison ties into ongoing DC continuity here, but in a way that actually provides motivation for the shattered and unconfident Zatanna we saw at the beginning of this tale. Misty comes into the spotlight this issue, revealing a past both more fantastic and more perilous than might have been supposed when she seemed just like a girl with a lucky die.
She also comes off very much like a child here, losing some of her calm composure of previous issues. Which is good timing, as Zatanna seems more mature and motherly than ever. It seems like this unlikely relationship might be good for both of them (though a self-conscious Thelma and Louise reference along the way always hints as much at doom as liberation).
Visual flair: Sook is equaling the best of J.H. Williams here with a plethora of powerful touches that add to the magic of the tale. Not least of which is a very sexualized version of Zatanna’s showy get-up, while Misty’s teen attire is appropriately tamer (but still clearly in the same witchy school).
The scenes of graphic violence are quite graphic, but Sook makes the violence hit home with the shocked expression on Misty’s face. And I love how, in the presence of Neh-bu-loh, as Zatanna comments about the charged air, that the women’s hair starts rising in a snaky dance of its own volition. As bad as Neh-bu-loh is, though, the Faerie Queen sounds worse. Poor Misty.
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