The Fan Fiction Fanzine

I Want More #5

By • Aug 8th, 2009 • Category: Reviews

Originally posted as Heroes message # 24761 Oct. 26, 2007

Welcome to the latest installment of I WANT MORE, a returning fanfic review feature! Don’t call it a comeback!
Today’s offering is ZATANNA #1 and 2 at DC Infinity, written by the one and only Neil Gow. Find it starting at http://www.dcinfinity.ca/zatanna/issue1.html.

We’re going to change things up a bit for this edition, beginning at the beginning with a couple of disclaimers. Disclaimer number one comes up because someone finally took me up on my offer to check out a series and feature it in I WANT MORE. So thanks to Dave Golightly for the suggestion, and sorry it took me five months to get around to it! The disclaimer, therefore, is that this is not a series I myself stumbled on and felt compelled to comment on – for whatever that’s worth.
Disclaimer number two: I know Neil. Not extremely well, but we’ve messed with each other on message boards, bounced ideas back and forth, and he was even decent enough to e-mail me a video file of a UK commercial featuring Kylie Minogue riding a mechanical bull in her knickers, once. Because … um … it made sense at the time? The point is I can’t claim to be completely objective here.
Having dispensed with all of THAT … man, Neil is awesome. And his awesomeness knows no bounds when it comes to writing female characters, as fans of the halcyon days of “Jesse and Jade” well remember. Zatanna is just the latest example. The fact that this is the post-Identity Crisis, post-Day of Vengeance Zatanna and I can’t get enough of her means that Neil has really taken the character, and all of her baggage, and started to make her his own.
Neil makes a couple of interesting choices which I believe ultimately pay off well. The first is a stylistic one: the issues alternate between first-person and third-person passages. First-person is great for literally getting inside the head of a character, but sometimes it can be lacking for conveying the grandeur and sweep of a comic book epic that should be viewed from eight miles high. Conversely it can slow down the plot when the writer is constantly providing the interior monologue full of asides and reflections and reactions that justifies using first-person in the first place. Third person has the inverse problems, obviously. So Neil neatly sidesteps this by going ahead and using both. Zatanna narrates her own life at times, bringing the reader up to speed on her current status quo in the DCI universe. And when the story requires more conventional telling, Neil puts in a section break and the omniscient narrator takes over.
Second thing Neil does is take Zee out of the American superhero scene and put her into more supernatural investigations on the other side of the pond. Not that Neil isn’t perfectly capable of writing a believable story set in the U.S., but he certainly is charming as all get-out when he writes about London. So I for one applaud the move.
I won’t give away too many plot particulars, since I’d rather just encourage people to go read Neil’s issues for themselves. I will say, however, (kinda semi-spoiler alert?) that Neil does manage to work in two of my absolute favorite things in fanfic (or real comics, for that matter): a monkey, and ending an issue with an explosion. Of course, the issue which ends with an explosion is #2, a cliffhanger most terrible, especially since it has been unresolved since … (shuffling through notes) … October 27, 2006??? Can it be, have I actually managed to put off this review for so long that we are on the eve of a one-year anniversary since the last issue? Sometimes I even amaze myself.
But this is not about me, this is about Neil, who has gotten his Zatanna series off to a great start, attracted at least a couple of die-hard fans in myself and Dave (and Brent Lambert, who did a Loon Review about eleven months ago), and written a killer “so what happens next?!?!?” moment that has left us all crying out … I WANT MORE!!!

is a 32 year old happily married man who loves comics and the characters associated with them so much he writers Fan Fiction based on them. Currently He is the Editor in Chief of Altered Visions, Marvel Reborn, and Ultimate DC.
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