Zatanna Zatara is the bright new celebrity star pupil at her new school of wizarding, but being well-known isn’t quite the boon she had hoped it might be… Your Major Spoilers review of Mystik U #2 awaits!
Writer: Alisa Kwitney
Artist: Mike Norton
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Editor: Alex Antone
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
Previously in Mystik U: “With classes in full swing, Zatanna starts to realize that celebrity will only get you so far at MYSTIK U! Could the mysterious ladies of Thriae hold the key to success inside and out of the classroom? Now Zatanna must choose between rushing the sorority with all the answers and her rebellious relationship with Faust. Will she find a way to balance the two or is this bad romance over before it even began?”
AN IDEA I WAS UNSURE OF
I admit it: Whenever I hear about a new comic or story like this, my brain immediately goes to the torpedoed “Gotham High” animated series pitch that took all the Batman characters are placed them in high school together. But, I said that about ‘Gotham Academy’, and that book turned out to be a lovely creative effort full of heart and clever story, so I can easily give this book a chance. As we open, we find Rose Psychic dreaming about Mystik U’s newest student, while her other half Dr. Occult warns her that she’s going to easy on Zatanna. Not so much Mister E., who gives her a harsh dressing-down for her failings, implying that she is nothing more than a reputation trading on her father’s good name. There’s a strong Snape element to Mister E here, and Zatanna responds badly to the criticism, panicking that he might be correct, driving her into the arms of a strange little sorority that clearly has bad ideas on how to use her notoriety and power. While her friends (Sebastian Faust, brooding bad boy; Sargon The Sorcerer, nerdy possessor of the Ruby of Life; Pia Morales, bookish healer; June Moone aka The Enchantress and a living blob of tissue and blood called Plop) worry about her, she falls fully in with the bad crowd, enjoying a clear alcohol-substitute called Rakmelion…
STRONG, STEADY CREATIVE EXECUTION
It all goes very badly for Ms. Zatara, but the issue does give us some really great moments in the flirtation between Sebastian and Zee, the growing affection between Pia and Plop and even the conflict of Doctor Occult and Rose Psychic, all capped off with some impressive art. There are parallels to be made between this series and ‘Harry Potter’, but there’s nothing wrong with wearing an influence on your sleeve if you’re doing new things with it, and this book works for me. I was fondly reminded of my own college days during these pages, and the conflict of Zatanna’s ambition against her best interests works well. The art is wonderful throughout the issue, especially the shocking events of the final page, but the big magic battle that erupts in the middle of the issue is a lot of fun to read, though I imagine not to experience. There’s a sweetness to the events in these pages that makes it all feel like a well-done Young Adult novel, and it’s one of those comics that my eye-rolling tween daughter would gravitate towards. Best of all for me? The use of DC’s old-school horror hosts and magic back-up characters as the faculty of Mystik U, making every page a fun game of ‘Hey, it’s that guy!”
BOTTOM LINE: A WELL DONE Y.A. NOVEL IN COMIC FORM
Let me be clear about one other thing: Anyone who references “Plop!” is someone whose comics I’m gonna want to read, y’all. Mystik U #2 features really lovely art, a well-crafted setting and story full of cameos, references and strong dialogue, leading to a dead-solid 5 out of 5 stars overall. Now that DC has fully committed to out-of-continuity stories that don’t require adhering to the shared universe concept, books like Mystik U can really flourish, and this one absolutely hits the sweet spot…
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