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Hero Overview
What do you care about some leggy dame in nylons? Or did I just answer my own question?
~ Zatanna to Batman.
You want guilt? My name's Zatanna Zatara. I'm a spellaholic.
~ Zatanna.
I'm not saying you can't be anything you want to be but the whole superhero thing is much more than just wearing a cape and getting famous.
~ Zatanna.
Easy, no. But possible. Because this is my territory. Spells, Hocus Pocus, demons. It's meat and drink to me.
~ Prime Earth Zatanna.
Break for smoothies.
~ Zatanna during a clash in Injustice.

Zatanna Zatara is a fictional character and superheroine from DC Comics and its universe. Though she possesses superhuman-level training in magic she prefers to pass as a stage magician and even trained magi have had trouble separating her real spells from her stage illusions. 

She was created by writer Gardner Fox, artist Murphy Anderson, and Julius Schwartz, and first appeared in Hawkman # 4 in November of 1964.

Biography

Backstory

Zatanna was born the daughter of the renowned magician Giovanni Zatara, and his wife Sindella, a member of the magically gifted Homo Magi, race. Her father performed for years as a stage magician and showman but in truth knew more than a little about actual magic; Zatanna, possessing her mother's gift for magic and her father's keen mind for applying it followed and performed with her father across the U.S. learning both real and fake magic.

Zatanna not only practiced spells back-stage but, escape artistry, sleight-of-hand, and theatrics, allowing her to hide any real magic she wished to show behind illusions until no one would be able to call her on public displays of arcana. After her father's death, Zatanna continued his work and his tour. She was so sensational to audiences that she was easily able to be considered as an entertainer unto herself. She has performed at Paris, Hollywood, Metropolis, Gotham, and Bludhaven and helped various heroes in the DC world as her tours brought her to them.

Zatanna would eventually be recruited into the Justice League due to her powers, her expertise in advising members on real magical threats, and been a trusted ally of Batman, Hawkman, Nightwing, Raven, Superman, and Doctor Fate. Zatanna keeps her membership, though not associated with the Justice League a secret so no one will ever suspect she is using magic publicly. Zatanna keeps her magic a secret not only to give her an excuse to spice up her act but also because she worries about modern-day witch hunters (she considers the politicians and religious leaders to be even more in need of the public limelight than magicians).

The New 52

Following the events of Flashpoint, Zatanna was made a main character for the Justice League Dark series. Though Zatanna still wears her old-school stage magician's costume from time to time she mainly wears a new updated classic sorceress look. In the first issue, she hears about the Justice League's run-in with the Enchantress and volunteers her services to the League. Though Batman tries to join in the fight, Zatanna uses her powers to tie him up, saying that Batman was too valuable to the world to die in battle.

Powers and Abilities

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Zatanna displaying her magic.

Zatanna is a member of the Homo Magi race and is genetically gifted with great magical talent. She can cast an incredible number of spells, which she usually does by speaking backwards as a tribute to her father. However, the backward-speaking is not always necessary for her to cast spells. Speaking backwards is as easy for her as it is to speak forwards. Zatanna has shown great control of her magic ability, which extends to an ability to elemental sorcery. Zatanna's mastery of magic also grants her a wide range of other powers: Flight, weather control, healing, illusion casting, reality-warping, telekinesis, telepathy, teleportation, force field generation, dimensional travel, size alteration, spectral sight and mystical invulnerability. She is considered among the most powerful magic users in the DC Universe. She has been shown to dispel the magical spells of other strong magic users. Of all the magicians and sorcerers on the planet, the JLA always go to Zatanna when they need magical assistance. Zatanna is also a gifted stage magician and hypnotist who routinely enthralls audiences with her mystifying and entertaining performances. Though she usually has at least a couple hundred specific spells prepared at any given moment, she is adept at magical improvisation and can readily modify her spells to handle unpredictable situations. She often uses her magic to assist in performing everyday tasks, especially if she is too busy or fatigued to do them the mundane way. Zatanna is multi-lingual, being fluent in English, Spanish, and her trademark "backwards speech."

Weakenesses

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Zatanna gagged and incapacitated.

Zatanna casts her spells by saying the words of her incantations backwards. Zatanna must concentrate on her magic to make sure she is using the proper spell. It is at this point where she is most vulnerable. Mnemonic incantation is the most complicated of the mystic arts. It appears that this is well known to her enemies. Hence, Zatanna's reliance on her voice often leads to her being bound and gagged by villains as this measure renders her 'powerless'. On one occasion, Amazo used her own magical abilities to temporarily remove her mouth and later used a green latern power ring to create a gag for her mouth that she is unable to remove, rendering her useless for much of the fight. On a separate occasions, Deathstroke delivered a direct blow to her liver, initiating a regurgitation reaction and the Joker in the neck to render her unable to speak.

If the magic power-level of her opponent is higher than hers, then it would be extremely difficult for her to win a battle. In addition, it is difficult to impossible to affect a spell that was set in motion with higher-level magics. Powerful enchantments against beings of magic, like gods, are able to restrict her as well, preventing her from accessing enchanted places or dispel the adverse charm.

Affiliations

Portrayals

Films

  • In Justice League Dark and Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, she was voiced by Camilla Luddington, who also voiced Lara Croft.
  • In DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash, she was voiced by Kate Micucci.

Television

  • In the DC Animated Universe, she was voiced by Julie Brown, Stacie Randall and Jennifer Hale.
    • Hale also voiced the character in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
  • In Smallville, she was portrayed by Serinda Swan.
  • In Cartoon Moonson, she was voiced by Tara Strong.
    • Strong also voiced the character in Mad.
  • In Young Justice, she was voiced by Lacey Chabert.
    • Chabert also voiced the character in Justice League Action and Injustice: Gods Among Us.
  • In DC Super Hero Girls, she was voiced by Kari Walhgren.
    • Walhgren also voiced the character in Justice League Heroes and Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.

Trivia

  • Her cousin Zachary Zatara, is also a magician in the DCU.
  • Her signature power is being able to cast spells by speaking backwards.
  • Bruce Wayne trained as an escape artist along-side her during her father;s tours.
  • The heroine, Raven, originally tried to work as Zatanna's apprentice but was rejected when Zatanna became suspicious of it being a trick by Raven's father, the demon Trigon.
  • Zatanna has had an on off again crush on Bruce Wayne through-out her life.
  • Zatanna is trained in vocal activation of her powers. This means she can not use her powers if she is gagged, underwater or for any other reason unable to speak.
  • Zatanna frequently appears in stories written by Paul Dini, who also wrote for Batman: The Animated Series.
    • Paul Dini himself made an internet miniseries that focuses solely on Zatanna.
  • She has had a romantic relationship with John Constantine.

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