Identity Crisis is steeped with delicious controvers and there’s few characters more steeped in it then Zatanna. Sure, everyone agreed to let her use her mumbo jumbo for unethical mind wipes, but seeing as she was the one with the ability and went along with it, I tend to place more of the weight of the decision on her slender shoulders. Zatanna has always been a favorite of mine, well ever since about the time I hit puberty (wink, wink), and I’ll concede that as much as I love this comic, it made me look at her uncomfortably for quite a while. But I’ll save the weighty ethical debates for the comic forums, because I’m here to look at toys goddammit.
The package is identical to what we saw with Dr. Light, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Once again, it’s a great presentation and if I didn’t want a loose Zatanna in this costume, I might be tempted to leave her packaged and hang her on my wall. The card is just so damn colorful and pretty, depicting our heroes displaying their collective shame and the huge bubble leaves little to the imagination.
Zatanna appears for much of the book in her more familiar (at least to me) coat tails and fishnets, but this particularly version comes from the flashbacks to when she mind-wiped Dr. Light. It’s definitely not my preferred look for the character, but as a fan of the character, I like to have as many versions of her as possible, so this particular figure was a nice pick up. i also can’t deny that the early 80’s vibe she’s got going on here has a certain charm. You get a blue, white and black one-piece with long sleeves, a white cape, and blue and white thigh high boots. A good piece of the costume relies mostly on paintwork for the details, which is fine, although there’s a little bit of slop here and there.
The sculpting on the sleeves is quite nice as they feature hanging cuffs, which give her a certain wizardly look. The cape, collar and neck broach are all sculpted in soft, rubbery plastic and hang off the back rather nicely without throwing off the balance of the figure. I imagine the cape would be removable via popping off the head, but it’s not something I’m willing to try. The boots have a nice glossy blue sheen to them and the high heels strike a nice balance between looking good and actually allowing the figure to stand. They certainly look a lot nicer than the chunky grandma clogs that Mattel’s DCUC version of the character is wearing.
The head sculpt is a little hit and miss with me. From a technical standpoint I suppose it’s pretty good. The paint is clean, the sculpted bangs have a ragged and uneven look, and there’s some nice use of red metallic paint for her hair clip. The problem here is that I don’t think it really matches the line art all that well. She looks extremely animated, which would work OK for me as an original take on the character, but not so much as she appeared in the pages of this particular comic book.
Zatanna’s articulation is similar to Dr. Light’s, with just a couple of changes. You get ball joints in the neck and shoulders, along with hinges in the elbows. Alas, the shoulder hinges are pretty tenuous and I can feel the left elbow already starting to wobble a bit. The legs feature a T-crotch at the hips and have hinged knees. Where Dr. Light had swivels in the boots, Zatanna has swivels in her wrists. Obviously, most of the posing on this piece is going to be from the waist up. I can do a little adjusting with her legs, but they’re always going to look rather stiff, and unless she’s more or less standing straight, I find a stand is needed to keep her up.
Speaking of stands, Zatanna comes with the same huge, oval “Identity Crisis” stand as Dr. Light. It works fine for holding the figure up, but it’s a real space hog, which is something that most action figure collectors will find as a big drawback.
Besides being based on a comic that I absolutely love, this Zatanna presents my collection with a distinctive look for the character, and for those reasons I’m happy to have her on my shelf. The portrait is certainly rather odd, but there’s enough here to like, particularly the nice coloring in the costume, that makes her worth while to me. After all, I don’t think it’s possible for me to have too many Zatanna figures. I haven’t decided whether or not to display her with my DCUC Collection or carve out a new shelf for this series, but either way, I’ll definitely find a place for her.
*This Feature was re-worked and re-shot on 8/18/15. It originally appeared in a series of articles on DC Direct’s Identity Crisis line.