Knight Terrors: Zatanna #2 is published by DC Comics, written by Dennis Culver, art by David Baldeón, colors by Rain Beredo, and letters by Pat Brosseau. This is part of the Knight Terrors event. Zatanna is being hunted through the maze under the Hall of Justice by Insomnia’s army, including a transformed Robotman.
While this comic may take place in the waking world, it highlights that there is still a complete lack of safety in this realm as well. And because everyone else is asleep, and her main ally is now against her, Zatanna could not be more alone. The structure is linear, allowing for a very fast pace as the sorceress tries to escape the maze of her creation. In the previous issue, Zatanna had help, someone to back her up. Now she is on her own with the odds stacked against her even firmer. The action is near constant as Zatanna moves through the maze. Whenever the magician tries to lose those chasing her, something else occurs to help them catch up for her to slow down. The frantic nature of the book only stops to deliver some brutal emotional torture on the main character. Then the pace is activated again with a brutal move that ignites something. It leaves the comic with a satisfying and powerful ending.
Knight Terrors: Zatanna #2 ensures that the title character is the one that has to save the day—no backup or place of safety. The dialogue is sparse for Zatanna herself, instead focusing on the narration. Even that is largely informative, not emotive. It describes what has happened and how Zatanna finds herself in her situation. There is a sense of urgency and excitement within the captions. But the dialogue comes predominantly from the villains of the piece, which increases the pressure on Zatanna. Whether it be the Sleepless Queen and her knights or the specter of her deceased father, numerous voices in this issue seek to degrade and weaken Zatanna’s spirit. They lean on her guilt for being alive while others in her life have died. All of it makes Zatanna exhausted and gnaws at her determination, testing her resolve.
The art is fantastic, having to do most of the work for much of the book. So much of this comic is Zatanna running through lifeless hallways, which increases the feeling of isolation and futility. It’s an actual maze, sometimes seen from afar, leading to some geometric brilliance by Baldeón. Zatanna’s running looks excellent as she skids and stumbles to avoid the oncoming enemies. And there is a constant look of exasperation and fear on her face. The beings she faces are all phenomenal designs, especially when explicitly crafted for this tie-in alone. There is no history to base them on, just pure imagination. The book does have the potential to be gruesome, too, with the vision of Zatanna’s father being a haunting, hideous visage.
The colors are full of detail. There is a baseline, the silver, and grays of the Maze walls with the regular tones of Zatanna’s design. But those walls have a real, definitive texture, denoting light and helping with depth perception. Then when magic is cast, there are bright lights and whimsical colors. For the transformed Robotman, the level of detail on his bronze skin is jaw-dropping. The lettering is terrific. There are custom word balloons, but the text is large and easy to read.
Knight Terrors: Zatanna #2 is straightforward but superb. Straightforward isn’t a criticism, as it makes the story so effective. It means the plot moves quickly and seamlessly, not weighed down by pages and pages of exposition. It progresses determinedly, using amazing art and a lack of dialogue to unfold seamlessly. The comic can end naturally with a conclusion that feels earned, a feature many of the other tie-ins have struggled to achieve, and the streamlined nature of the book is pivotal to accomplishing that.
Knight Terrors: Zatanna #2
Knight Terrors: Zatanna #2 is straightforward but superb. Straightforward isn’t a criticism, as it makes the story so effective. It means the plot moves quickly and seamlessly, not weighed down by pages and pages of exposition.