July 18, 2014

"Great, a fake."
Paul Dini, Joe Quinones & Dave McCaig
DC Comics, 2014
144 pages, cmyk, digital

This is going to be a hard one for me. I hope I'm wrong about this book, since people seem to have enjoyed it, but it was a seriously disappointing read.
Paul Dini is one of the people responsible for the very cool "Batman: The Animated Series" and co-created (with Bruce Timm) impish crazy lady, Harley Quinn. He is also the writer of this book and apparently was off his game when he wrote it.
Well, "Bloodspell" is a story about a spirit that returns from the dead to take revenge on her partners in crime after, when she betrayed them during a casino robbery, the tables were turned and the super hero Black Cannary caught her on the act. Since the Cannary isn't used to this kind of supernatural stuff, she sought help from her friend, master magician, Zatanna.
It's a pretty straightfoward tale and that is precisely its greatest problem. The lack of subtlety (the villain is named Spettro), with very obvious hints to the reader (a full page where Zatanna explains the dangers of being turned into an animal) and a few inconsistencies in plot (I'm not even going to discuss how the bad girl was defeated or why she decided to die after she escaped. Zatanna turns jerks into fishes and says that the effect will last an hour but later in the book she has to dispel the same, well, spell. Oh, and jetpack!) made this a hard read.
Some of the dialogue seemed stunted and clichéd, the humor relied too much on cheap jokes about female physical attributes and other female stereotypes (Black Cannary and the Green Arrow's bed scene and Black Cannary and Zatanna's shopping spree).
There is something that always annoyed me about Zatanna, her deus ex machina powers (by the way nice use of sign language by Dini) are almost limitless and she is clearly playing that part in the book's resolution.
The best thing about the book is the duo protagonists' relationship, they interact naturaly and the recapitulation of their previous encounters, a review of the characters' shared history and a look at the DCU, was very well executed.
Joe Quinone's art is beautiful, although there are some storytelling issues that can be easily ignored and I always have this feeling that he's trying that his characters resemble someone (Cannary reminds me of Elisha Cuthbert and see if you can find him in there), which can be a little distracting. Dave McCaig's colors are vibrant and extremely appropriate for a super hero book. 
In conclusion, "Bloodspell" is an all around pretty book but that can only go so far.
If you like pretty books and can withstand a less than subtle narrative, this is your book.

P.s.: Joe Quinones, you should have gone with the levitation cover, it looked awesome.

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