This stellar DC Comics collection of Silver Age reprints by the legendary writer Gardner Fox focuses on the origin of the Justice League's sultry sorceress, Zatanna Zatara.
As the daughter of master magician, Zatara (one of the Golden Age Superman's contemporaries from Action Comics # 1, no less), the storyline features Zatanna setting off on a lengthy journey to track down her long missing father. Along the way, she encounters for the first time several of her future Justice League teammates: Hawkman, Batman & Robin, the Atom, Green Lantern, the Elongated Man, and finally, the League itself.
Following an insightful intro by writer Steven Utley, here are the stories (1964-1967) contained within:
1. "The Girl Who Split in Two" from Hawkman # 4 (Zatanna's first appearance)
2. "Batman's Bewitched Nightmare" from Detective Comics # 336
3. "World of the Magic Atom" from The Atom # 19
4. "The Other Side of the World" from Green Lantern # 42
5. "Tantalizing Trouble of the Tripod Thieves" from Detective Comics # 355
6. "Z - As in Zatanna - and Zero Hour!" from Justice League of America # 51
Bonuses: a two-page Cover Gallery and "The Secret Spell" short story revealing Zatara and his daughter's origins from DC Blue Ribbon Digest # 5 (1980).
While Fox's inventive storytelling (including dialogue) may seem very dated by today's standards, it doesn't mean that his Zatanna stories are by any means deficient. What a modern, young reader has to understand is that the Silver Age of comics focused on fun, guiltless entertainment for a broad spectrum of readers without referencing any serious implications about violence and other real world concepts. Essentially, this collection is geared for kids of all ages. My point is: enjoy it for what it is!
Rating: 10/10 (With Zatanna, courtesy of top notch writer Paul Dini, finally receiving her first ongoing series in May of 2010, this book is the perfect starting point for her newest fans.)
P.S. As a recommendation for older readers (13 and up), please consider checking out the following Batman collections (guest starring a contemporary Zatanna) by Paul Dini: "Detective;" "Death and the City;" and "Private Casebook." Another recent Paul Dini gem is the rare "Zatanna: Everyday Magic," that is quite possibly the best Zatanna solo story yet produced.