Magic and Mystery – “Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend” Graphic Novel Review


Zatanna: Jewel of Gravesend

Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend is a DC Comics Young Adult graphic novel that features a teen Zatanna learning about who she truly is and where she comes from. This would probably be easier if her life wasn’t surrounded by magic and mystery. This is a story that young fans new and old to the character will not want to miss!

I received an eARC copy of Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend is a title that originally caught my eye as someone who has very limited knowledge of the character. I’m used to seeing Zatanna in cartoons but have not read about her much in comics. So, this was a graphic novel I was excited about reading. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy reading a mystery with a little magic thrown in? And like all other books in the DC Comics Young Adult graphic novel line, this book relates to issues that teens experience every day, other than the magic, of course!

Please note that there will be some spoilers below

Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend begins with Zatanna Starr getting ready to perform on stage. Unfortunately, being on stage is something that makes her nervous, which is why she plans on going to film school so she can be behind the camera. Zatanna’s parents Ezra and Lola Starr are a magician and magician’s assistant, so whether Zatanna really likes it or not, magic is in her blood… or is it? Zatanna lives in an area of Brooklyn, New York that features a carnival and various acts. Regardless of how Zatanna feels, she’s definitely surrounded by show business. To make things more complicated, her boyfriend Alexei is part of a family that is a long-time rival to her own.

As the story progresses, things begin to get weird for Zatanna. She starts seeing things that she’s pretty sure others can’t see. Also, magical things start happening around her that she can’t explain and she’s not quite sure how they’re happening or how she’s responsible. Some more unsavory type people are also starting to catch wind of her abilities and are looking to take control of them for their own gain.

Zatanna has quite a few questions, but the deeper she goes, she may find that she won’t like the answers. Are her parents really who they say they are? What is going on with Alexei’s family and how do they tie into what happened to a couple of people who are related to Zatanna? How did she get her newfound abilities and what do they mean? It’s certainly a lot for one young girl to figure out and the answers will change her life forever!

Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend was written by Alys Arden who is known for the Casquette Girls series. Alys writes a story that is relevant to teenagers today, but also is true to the magic and whimsy that is associated with Zatanna as a character. Her writing provides us with insight into a younger version of the Zatanna we are more familiar with, while also being a totally new and original story for the character.

The art is done by Jacquelin de Leon with Sam Lotfi. The art style consists mostly of smooth solid lines. The colors are dark, but also soft with a concentration on shades of purple. (Purple of course is a color commonly used and associated with Zatanna.) There is a lot of movement within the panels with none of the characters feeling stagnant on the page. Also, the use of panels on top of a full-page spread help to break up the uniformity of multiple panels per page. It is not boring to look at.

Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend is intended for ages 14 and up. Please note that there is a major character death within the story that happens on the page so that is something to keep in mind. This story does deal with some hard issues that real people face. But I do feel that it is appropriate for anyone aged 14 and older. It’s a story about growing up and learning about oneself, which is definitely pertinent to the mid to older teen range.

Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend overall is a very entertaining book with an interesting and fun story. Seeing Zatanna’s powers slowly come to her and Zatanna trying to learn about a past she had no idea about made this book an easy and fast read. I would highly recommend this graphic novel not only to teenagers but also to longtime fans and anyone interested in learning a bit about the titular character.

Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend is available today from DC, comic book shops, local and online indie bookstores, and your local library and their digital apps.

Author: Jessica Rae

Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.

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