This week's "Zatanna" #1 by Paul Dini and Stephane Roux is a brand new start for for the magician and occasional Justice Leaguer. In fact, while she's had her share of specials and guest appearances, it's her first ongoing series ever
, and that means one thing: She's a character that's never developed a proper supporting cast.
That's a problem, because a solid supporting cast is the key to a good series. Where would Batman be without Alfred? Where would Superman be without Jimmy Olsen? And most importantly, where would all of us be without the sage wisdom of J. Jonah Jameson? I don't even want to imagine it. And where do good supporting casts start? With that time-honored role, the Love Interest.
Unfortunately for Zatanna, stage performances, Justice League missions and signing for a constant fishnet stocking shipments have left precious little time for her to find a nice guy in her life. It'd certainly have to be someone comfortable with magic (or at least familiar with it), but since she hasn't had the time to find someone herself, I've taken it upon myself to play Wink Martindale to the stars with a look at Seven Potential Love Interests for comics' favorite fetish model magician!
Who He Is: Created by Alan Moore in his legendary run on "Swamp Thing," Constantine (rhymes with "wine") is a troublemaker of the highest order, and that's putting it mildly. Over the years, he's faced off against everyone from mystical serial killers and death cults to the actual lords of Hell themselves, conning three of them at once in order to get a new body after his chainsmoking led to cancer. He also has an edge over every one of Zatanna's other potential suitors for actually having a relationship with her already: It's been long established that they dated thanks to Moore, Garth Ennis, and even "Zatanna" writer Paul Dini, who had him show up in his 2003 one-shot "Zatanna: Everyday Magic."
Their First Date... probably wouldn't lead to a second. And considering that most women Constantine dates (or flirts with, or shares a cab with, or passes on the street) end up being dragged off to Hell and tortured for eternity through a combination of bad luck and his often-horrible machinations, that's probably a good thing. Sadly, they're just from two different worlds. Or at least, two different publishing imprints, which for a DC Universe character is an even tougher divide to overcome.
Who He Is: Originally a thinly veiled version of Mandrake the Magician published by Fawcett (the company that brought you Captain Marvel and the Power of Shazam), Ibis was an Egyptian prince who spent a couple thousand years as a mummy before being revived and deciding to rock a sweet red Turban and whack evil with his mystical weapon, the Ibis-stick. Currently, Ibis is the secret identity of Danny Khalifa, although he might've gotten killed off a while back.
Their First Date... would probably involve a lot of references to the "Ibis-stick," followed by protracted silences involving suggestive eyebrow raises until Zatanna finally faked an emergency with her JLA signal device and "deliah a ixat." But to be fair, that line got him so much play in the Middle Kingdom.
Who He Is: Dr. Terence Thirteen (which is, in fact, his real name) is a parapsychologist and "ghostbreaker" who has devoted his life to exposing "supernatural" hoaxes and frauds, attempting to reveal charlatans who prey on the gullible, devoting hardcore skepticism to a life of proving that the supernatural doesn't actually exist. Not a bad gig in the real world, but unfortunately Dr. Thirteen lives in the DC Universe alongside Dr. Fate, the Spectre, Gentleman Ghost, the angel Zauriel, Neron, the Demons Three, and assorted vampires and werewolves, which makes him the dumbest person in the DC Universe.
Their First Date... could really go either way. Grant Morrison touched briefly on a possible Zatanna/Dr. Thirteen relationship in the pages of "Seven Soldiers" before he was killed (he got better), and as she's also a stage illusionist with a healthy knowledge of how "magic" is actually done, there's a lot they could build their relationship on. He's a solid catch -- single dad, good job, owns his own allegedly haunted manor house -- but when you get right down to it, it's hard to have a romance with someone who's actively trying to prove you don't exist.
Who He Is: Brother, if you thought John Constantine was a bastard, wait'll you get a load of Jeff Parker and Tom Fowler's Mysterius the Unfathomable. A magical trouble consultant with a penchant for giving his secretaries paychecks that magically turn into stick-up notes when they try to deposit them and who always relies on a sidekick who -- no matter what her name was before -- is always called "Delfi," Mysterius was last seen in a debut miniseries where he saved the world from a threat that was equal parts Lovecraft and Seuss.
Their First Date... would probably be fun, but not in the traditional dinner and a movie sense. At heart, Mysterius is essentially a magical con-man, and as a stage magician with actual magical powers, that's something Zatanna can relate to. I imagine their quiet dinner would eventually turn into a game of sorcerous one-upmanship that would only end when Mysterius's lascivious nature (see above) got the better of him. A good time, but unfortunately for him, Zatanna's nobody's Delfi.
Who He Is:
Moving away from DC-published properties expands Zatanna's dating options quite a bit, and an obvious choice would be Marvel's (former) Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Stephen Strange. Possessed of the Eye of Agamotto, the Cloak of Levitation and a sweet moustache, Strange is actually a pretty good match for Zatanna: They both have experience dealing with super-hero teams that don't quite know what to do with them, and considering that his current girlfriend
rocks a nurse's outfit and a cape, it's pretty safe to assume that he'd be down with Z's fetishtastic costume.
Their First Date...
"So, you live alone in Greenwich Village with your... what did you say he was?"
"Wong? I suppose you'd call him a 'manservant.'"
"Manservant. Right. Sigh
Who He Is:
Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is the only Wizard listed in the Chicago phone book, hiring out his magical talents as a private investigator in Jim Butcher's series of novels (and more recently, comics) that are basically what would happen if Harry Potter grew up to be Philip Marlowe.
Their First Date...
would probably go pretty well, actually. Not to get too slash-fictiony, but assuming that Dresden wasn't busy with his most common pastime (getting the absolute hell kicked out of him by various supernatural threats), I think we might have a love connection. They'd certainly have a lot to talk about, and as his father was a stage magician (hence his first three names), there could be a little shop talk on both sides of the pulling a rabbit out of a hat/saving the world from mystical armageddon equation. Sure, she's a bit out of his league (no pun intended) and he hasn't exactly been lucky in love, but at least we already know she's got a thing for dudes in trenchcoats.
Who He Is: Talented wizard, good with kids, devoted enemy of evil, impressive collection of silk robes. Quite a catch.
Their First Date... "Forgive me, madam, but you are most certainly barking up the wrong tree."