Alias: Zachary Zatara
Joined: Teen Titans [third series] #34 
Zatara Quick Bio: As cousin to Zatanna and nephew to the late Zatara, Zachary Zatara had magic in his blood. The teen magician learned that to be true when his latent magic powers sparked as a new age of magic dawned. Now, the spoiled teen magician can get whatever he wants with a simple backwards-speaking incantation.
Recent File Photo:
Magic In The Blood
As cousin to Zatanna and nephew to the legendary stage magician John Zatara, Zachary Zatara had magic in his blood. The teen magician learned that to be true when a new age of magic began in the wake of the Infinite Crisis. At that time, Zachary’s latent magic powers sparked – and he manifested the same backwards-speaking incantation powers as his famed cousin. As a result, Zachary became the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest and most popular teenaged magician.”
The ever-modest Zatara as a Titan in 52: WEEK TWENTY ONE .
Teen Titans On Stage
These newfound abilities led Zatara to the Teen Titans. After the tragic events of the Infinite Crisis, the Teen Titans faced a year of turmoil. It was during this year that Zatara joined the team for a short time. With a few words, it appeared the spoiled teen mage could get whatever he wanted. But since his powers only affected objects, there was one thing Zatara failed to acquire: the affections of his fellow teammate, Raven.
Despite his abrasive ego, Zatara managed to forge a friendship with Titans-wannabe, Kid Devil. The teenaged magician unwittingly helped Kid Devil make contact with the demon-trickster Neron, who transformed Kid Devil into an honest-to-gosh demonic creature. Following that mishap, Zatara helped Kid Devil become a member of the team and agreed to keep secret the details of his deal with Neron.
Zatara regarded himself as an A-list performer on a team of D-listers. And after a disastrous mission in New Azarath with Kid Devil, Zach left the team to travel the world with his stage show. Months later, the reorganized Titans tracked him down in Tokyo as they searched for the missing Raven. Zatara was less than cordial, as he still secretly harbored feelings for the empathic mystic.
The Titans track down Zatara in Tokyo in TEEN TITANS (third series) #39 .
Making Magical Connections
Despite Zatara’s very vocal denouncement of his time as a Teen Titan, the lonely magician actually yearned to connect with his peers. He aided both Robin and Ravager in defeating the teleporting troublemaker known as Dodge. And later, Zatara helped the Titans take down the Clock King’s secret underground fight club.
Zatara’s emotional weaknesses were later exploited by a group of demons, who kidnapped Zachary and tortured him with memories of his long-dead girlfriend. With the mystical assistance of Black Alice and Traci 13, the trio of teen mages turned the tables on their demonic tormentors.
ABOVE: Zatara recalls some family history in ZATANNA #5 .
BELOW: Zach reconciles his differences with Zatanna in ZATANNA #6 .
Zachary played the card of a playboy gadabout when he reconnected with his cousin in Las Vegas. Zatanna was unimpressed by Zach’s immature partying, while he was hurt his cousin never made time to see his stage show. But when Zatanna was taken captive by a demon who intended to steal her soul, it was Zachary who came to her rescue. With family rivalries cast aside, Zatanna was free to attend Zach’s stage show at last.
Zatara later returned to assist the Teen Titans again when the team was besieged by Superboy-Prime and his army of Superboy clones. Together, Titans past and present defeated the clones and trapped Superboy-Prime within the impenetrable Source Wall at the edge of the universe.
Powers & Abilities
Zachary Zatara can create anything by speaking a backwards incantation. But his powers cannot affect people.
A 2009 Zatara commission by Andy MacDonald.
Teen Titans #34 : One Year Later, it’s “The New Teen Titans!” A new year of exciting adventures begins with the “new” Teen Titans. Hawk, Dove, Aquagirl II, Zatara III, Offspring and Miss Martian are revealed as Titans members during the one year gap in a brief flashback panel. First appearances of Zatara III, Offspring and Miss Martian.
Teen Titans #38 : The new story arc “Titans Around the World” begins as the Teen Titans journey into the heart of Russia to meet its greatest super-hero: Red Star! On a quest to locate a former member, the Titans head to Moscow to learn how Red Star has rebuilt his life following Superboy-Prime’s rampage and where they can find their lost friend and ally Raven! The “One Year Gap” Titans membership is revealed in a double page spread. First appearances of Talon, Power Boy, Little Barda, Molecule, Mas Y Menos, Young Frankenstein, Bombshell, Osiris and Riddler’s Daughter. First appearance of Joto as Hotspot. One Year Gap Titans include: Beast Boy, Raven, Speedy, Kid Devil, Ravager, Hawk, Dove, Aquagirl II, Zatara III, Offspring, Miss Martian, Talon, Power Boy, Little Barda, Molecule, Mas, Menos, Young Frankenstein, Bombshell, Osiris, Riddler’s Daughter, Joker’s Daughter, Captain Marvel Jr., Argent, Hotspot [a renamed Joto], Mirage, Flamebird and Red Star.
52: Week Twenty-One : Beast Boy’s rag-tag team of Titans – Raven, Power Boy, Little Barda, Zatara and Hotspot – meet Luthor’s new Infinity, Inc. team of “heroes.” After the death of Infinity member, Eliza Harmon, Little Barda and Power Boy quit the team. Unknown to the heroes, Eliza’s death was caused by Luthor himself.
Teen Titans #39 : The Titans’ search for Raven leads them to Zachary Zatara in Tokyo.
Teen Titans #42 : After being rejected as a Titan during open auditions, Eddie Bloomberg seeks aid from Zatara, who gives Eddie advice that leads them both to the wishweaver, Neron. Eddie makes a dangerous deal with the devilish trickster, who transforms him into a honest-to-gosh red-skinned Kid Devil.
Robin #166 : Guest-starring Zatara and Ravager! What’s up with Dodge’s team of misfit villains — and what’s Robin doing about them?
Superman #690 : Zatara is recruited by Mark Merlin to search for Prince Ra-Man.
Teen Titans #83-87 : “The Coven of Three” Co-Feature: Zatara, Black Alice and Traci-13 are taunted by a group of sinister demons.
Zatanna #4-6 : Zatanna and her cousin Zachary might have their differences – okay, they drive each other crazy – but if they don’t stick together, they’ll be taken to the cleaners by one of Hell’s most powerful demons! He’s betting it all on a chance to claim Zatanna’s soul, and in Vegas, the house always wins!
Teen Titans (third series) #99-100 : It’s all-out war as Titans old and new come together to face the greatest threat to their existence. Superboy-Prime gathers his own “Legion of Doom,” comprised of various Titans villains. He then creates an army of Superboy clones to besiege the Titans. Together, Titans past and present defeat the villains and trap Superboy-Prime within the impenetrable Source Wall at the edge of the universe.
A 2010 commission by Sean Murphy.
Set at the dawn of the 21st century in a world spinning inexorably out of control, Mark Waid and Alex Ross weave a tale of youth versus experience, tradition versus change, and what defines a hero. KINGDOM COME is a riveting story pitting the old guard – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and their peers — against a new, uncompromising generation of heroes that declare war against each other to determine the future of the planet.
The original mini-series rocked comicdom in 1996 and is still regarded as one of the most influencial stories from DC Comics. The series featured hundreds of characters, with new takes on old characters and new characters based on classic DC icons. Set in the future, the Kingdom Come universe also featured the sons and daughters of many current DC characters.
The teenaged Zatara made his comic book debut in the pages of KINGDOM COME.
The KINGDOM COME Revelations supplement says this about Zatara II: “The son of the late Zatanna and grandson of the original Zatara is a youthful Harry Houdini-like successor to the magician super-hero lineage.” The Revelations genealogy reveals that Zatara II’s father was John Constantine.
KINGDOM COME was so successful that DC Comics published a sequel: seven KINGDOM books (the two-issue KINGDOM miniseries and five one-shots, THE KINGDOM: KID FLASH #1, THE KINGDOM: NIGHTSTAR #1, THE KINGDOM: OFFSPRING #1, THE KINGDOM: PLANET KRYPTON #1, and THE KINGDOM: SON OF THE BAT #1). Zatara had a few brief appearances in that series as well.
Keith Giffen’s original Zatara sketches from 52: WEEK TWENTY ONE .
Fishnets & Corsets: Designing Zatara
Zachary Zatara: crossdressing super-hero? It almost happened. Zatara made his first, full in-continuity appearance in 52: WEEK TWENTY-ONE , where Beast Boy’s rag-tag team of Titans – Raven, Power Boy, Little Barda, Zatara and Hotspot – meet Luthor’s new Infinity, Inc. team of “heroes.”
At www.wizarduniverse.com, breakdown artist Keith Giffen offered up some observations about his 52 experience: “As a goof, in the breakdowns, I drew that new Zatara kid in Zatanna’s fishnets-and-corset getup. The penciler actually drew him that way. My pleas to let it go through like that went unheeded.” Stenhsif Raeppasid! (That’s “Fishnets Disappear!” backwards)
Tony Daniel’s Zatara
Teen Titans artist Tony Daniel admitted that KINGDOM COME served as a starting point for his Teen Titan Zatara, who debuted in Teen Titans (third series) #34 . From an interview at newsarama.com: “I derived Zatara from Alex Ross’s version from Kingdom Come. The only thing I did was give him a fun hairstyle.”
Geoff Johns on Zatara
by Vaneta Rogers – courtesy of http://www.newsarama.com – 02-01-2007
NRAMA: But not all of your new characters are sweet. Zatara’s a little bit of a jerk.
GJ: Yeah, but think about if you were a kid and you could have anything you want — anything you want at all. You want a pizza? Boom! You have a pizza for free. You want an X-Box? Bam! You have an X-Box, and every X-Box game for free. You just have to say it backwards. You’re going to be a complete spoiled brat! But at the same time, he can’t make people like him. He can’t have friends. He can’t conjure up a girlfriend or anything else, so when he has a crush on Raven and it’s not returned, when he’s on the Teen Titans and he doesn’t fit in, and people just look down on him as this spoiled kid — now, this kid has some problems to deal with that you can understand.
NRAMA: They end up being familiar problems to most of us.
GJ: Yeah, you can relate to this guy on some level. This guy who gets everything he wants except friends. I think there’s something sad yet interesting about that character. And that’s the kind of stuff I’m going to miss — all these new characters.
A 2009 Zatara commission by George Pérez, from the collection of Eric Sellers.
The One Year Gap Titans
“You call this the Titans? Since Superboy died, the Titans have gone through over twenty new members. But no one wanted to stay very long. No one got along.”
- Wonder Girl (Teen Titans (third series) #36 )
DC’s “One Year Later” event occurred March of 2006. In Teen Titans #33, Superboy and Nightwing are in the thick of the Infinite Crisis world-shattering event. With Teen Titans #34, a full year has passed since the Crisis. A comatose Cyborg awakens to discover the only active Titans were Robin, Ravager and Kid Devil. Cyborg is informed that the Titans had quite a few membership shake-ups during his “missing year.”
Readers shared in Cyborg’s confusion. Following the limited series, Infinite Crisis, every DC comic series jumped ahead by one year between February 2006 and March 2006. With DC’s March books, the characters’ histories resumed “one year later.” During the “missing year” between Teen Titans #33 and #34, over 20 new or returning members joined the group. They would come and go, most only serving on the team for a few weeks before quitting or getting kicked out or simply disappearing. One team was glimpsed at in Teen Titans #34. Then, Teen Titans #38 revealed all the “One Year Gap Titans” in a double page spread.
The “One Year Gap Titans” from TEEN TITANS #38 [click to enlarge].
Geoff Johns elaborated in an interview with Newsarama: “I wanted to shake the team up, and I was nervous doing it. I knew the reactions would be “Ravager?!” and “Who the #@$% is Kid Devil?” But because of Superboy’s death, it forced us to take chances, and I’m glad. For a long time our line-up seemed to look like the former Young Justice kids smashed together with the New Teen Titans. It was great for the first three years of the book but it was time for something new. And the OYL to me seemed like an opportunity, and a requirement, to seriously alter the status quo. Top on character development and mysteries and set the stage for the next year of adventures, with an emphasis on new characters and revamps like the Doom Patrol and Titans East.”
“In the comics themselves, the Teen Titans lost several of their members. Including a lot of main ones. Superboy. Kid Flash. Starfire is still missing. Cyborg was out of it. So since then, Beast Boy did his best to keep the team growing and stable, but it wasn’t working.”
“The Titans went through, I think at last count, 24 members during the missing year. They would come and go, most only being on the team a few weeks before quitting or getting kicked out or simply disappearing. Some members were previous Titans others were teens that Cyborg – and us – have never heard of before including Zatara, Miss Martian, Talon and Power Boy among others. Some of these we’ll be meeting in the next arc.”
The “One Year Gap” New Titans include:
1. Kid Devil: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #34.
2. Aquagirl II: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #34.
3. Dove II: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #34.
4. Hawk III: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #34.
5. Miss Martian: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #34.
6. Zatara: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #34.
7. Offspring: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #34.
8. Talon: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
9. Power Boy: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
10. Little Barda: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
11. Molecule: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
12. Mas: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
13. Menos: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
14. Bombshell: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
15. Young Frankenstein: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
16. Riddler’s Daughter: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
17. Osiris: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
The “One Year Gap” Returning Titans include:
18. Ravager: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #34.
19. Joker’s Daughter : Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
20. Argent [with new costume]: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
21. Mirage: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
22. Flamebird: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
23. Red Star: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
24. Hotspot [formerly Joto]: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
25. Captain Marvel Jr.: Revealed as member in Teen Titans #38.
Zatara Timeline: Closing the “One Year Later” Gap
Here’s a list of major events revealed during the “Missing Year:”
- The Titans aid the heroes during the Infinite Crisis. While saving the universe from Superboy-Prime and Alexander Luthor, Superboy is killed in battle. [IC #1-7] With Superboy, Wonder Girl, Robin, Kid Flash, Starfire and Cyborg gone, Raven and Beast Boy try to keep the Teen Titans together. [TT #34]
- As the new age of magic dawns, Zachary Zatara develops backwards-speaking magical powers. [TT #39]
- Speedy tries to keep the Titans together with a team consisting of Hawk, Dove, Aquagirl, Miss Martian, Offspring and Zatara. [TT #34]
- Beast Boy’s rag-tag team of Titans – Raven, Power Boy, Little Barda, Zatara and Hotspot – meet Luthor’s new Infinity, Inc. team of “heroes.” During the battle, Infinity member Eliza Harmon dies. At Eliza’s funeral, Hotspot, Little Barda and Power Boy quit the team. Unknown to the heroes, Eliza’s death was caused by Luthor himself. Sensing something is awry, Gar offers his help to Steel in investigating Lex Luthor. [52w21]
- Raven and Beast Boy hold a membership drive for the Teen Titans after their ranks have been depleted. Outside Titans Tower, many would-be Titans and current-Titans gather for the team, including Argent, Flamebird, Mirage, Red Star, Joker’s Daughter, Captain Marvel Jr., Aquagirl II, Kid Devil, Talon, Miss Martian, Bombshell, Offspring, Young Frankenstein, Mas Y Menos, and Molecule. Osiris arrives to join, only to have Captain Marvel Jr. doubt his intentions. After pleading his case, Osiris is granted probationary membership. [52w32]
- After being rejected as a Titan during open auditions, Eddie Bloomberg seeks aid from Zatara, who gives Eddie advice that leads them both to the wishweaver, Neron. Eddie makes a dangerous deal with the devilish trickster, who transforms him into a honest-to-gosh red-skinned Kid Devil. [52w32, TT #42]
- Zatara helps the now-super-powered Kid Devil join the Teen Titans. Zatara and Kid Devil both fight Kid Crusader. [TT #42]
- Kid Devil becomes lost in New Azarath for two weeks. He is rescued with the help of Zatara, although the two teens are almost eaten by the Phantasm. Following this adventure, Zatara quits the team. [TT #39]
- Black Adam ignites World War III. [52w49]
- Zachary Zatara aids the magic-wielding heroes at the Rock of Eternity. [52w50] The Titans gather with Donna Troy, Arsenal and all the heroes to battle Black Adam. [WWIIIp4: UNITED WE STAND, 52w50]
- Zatara quits the team. He begins a world tour of his stage show. [TT #39]
Note: It appears that Zatara was a member for most of the “missing year,” although he may not have been present for every mission. Either that, or he quit and returned later in the year. He quit the team shortly after Black Adam’s worldwide rampage in 52: WEEK FIFTY. For a complete timeline of the “one year gap,” click here.
A Zatara commission by Todd Nauck
Sources for this entry: titanstower.com
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Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author