bluefall: (sisterhood of silly costumes)
[personal profile] bluefall posting in [community profile] scans_daily
In case anyone was still under the impression that Adam Beechen bothers to understand the basic properties of the characters he chooses to write, here is another example that may help to disabuse you of that notion.


For context, Zee has just been fitted with braces... because for some reason Zatara would rather spend a significant chunk of money and commit his daughter to years of pain than magic her teeth straight... and the pain and unfamiliarity of them is making her speech all drooly and unintelligible. She's waiting for her father to come pick her up when she encounters a thief.



She crashes into an electronics or toy store or something and discovers a Speak'n'Spell.





... okay. To Beechen's credit, at least he did get that it's sdrow sdrawkcab, secnetnes drawrof, which not everyone does. However, the magic is not in the words themselves and hasn't been since before the first Crisis. The mere backwards speaking of a phrase does not cause magic to happen, and Zee doesn't need to speak at all to cast a spell. The magic comes directly from her, and the words are like turning up the volume control on a stereo. What Beechen has done here is basically put a volume control knob on a blender and put it next to the stereo. That will not make the music louder, Beechen. Zee does not work that way and neither does DC logomancy.

Date: 2011-01-28 11:59 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Zatanna's dependence on speaking aloud has varied widely over her career, and she DID require it when she was younger (during her JLA tenure for example when she was wearing her lobster-hat phase), it took her longer IIRC, to control magic without having to speak.

I don't actually have much of a problem with her using another object speaking aloud as a sort of a temporary crutch, as long as she is there to actually channel the magic itself.

Date: 2011-01-29 03:23 am (UTC)
jarodrussell: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jarodrussell
I lay the blame/praise1 for the wild variations at Dini's doorstep. I think he's the driving force behind her needing to speak to cast spells, given that the whole writing in blood thing was created by him and Zatanna's been gagged around three times to keep her from spell casting since her series started...four if you count this.

---

1. I can't really be angry at any writer who re-introduces a perfectly valid reason for Zatanna to be bound and gagged, can I?

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Date: 2011-01-29 12:11 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] keeva
As icon_uk points out, this has hardly been consistent over her career, and I seem to recall Zatanna writing her spell out in blood in a JLA issue recently too.

It's magic, just go with it, if it makes a neat story (and it kinda does here). I don't think that's any reason to make broad proclamations about how awful the writer is.

Date: 2011-01-29 12:27 am (UTC)
kamino_neko: Kamino Neko's default icon... (Default)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
It was a Detective Comics issue. Joker had replaced a magician, she and Batman were tracking him. Joker injured her throat, and left her to drown, so she couldn't speak.

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Date: 2011-01-29 12:11 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
I have to wonder why Zatara just couldn't magically straighten her teeth as well--but this doesn't look like a bad story, and I like how it shows Zee being creative and outside the box with her powers, even at a young age. This might be the most solid thing I've ever seen Beechen write, actually.

Date: 2011-01-29 12:38 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
I doubt he would, since it's not an injury or a wound he'd be healing, it'd be messing with her natural development with magic, and IIRC that's generally considered to be extraordinarily dangerous.

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Date: 2011-01-29 12:34 am (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
"because for some reason Zatara would rather spend a significant chunk of money and commit his daughter to years of pain than magic her teeth straight... "

The old "don't depend totally on your powers" training starts early.

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Date: 2011-01-29 02:39 am (UTC)
goblinthebamf: bamf (Default)
From: [personal profile] goblinthebamf
as someone who had braces for 3 years, I think that last page looks fricking painful.

Date: 2011-01-29 03:54 am (UTC)
okkult3000: (Default)
From: [personal profile] okkult3000
I remember when my brother got braces. I could end a fight real quick just by hitting him in the mouth. Good times.

Date: 2011-01-29 02:57 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] nemryn
Well, based solely on these pages, it seems possible that at this point, she didn't know the magic was coming from herself and not the words. And if she thinks she needs the words, then she really does need them, because that's how magic works.

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Date: 2011-01-29 03:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daningram.insanejournal.com
Ugh, I feel stpuidier having just seen that last scene with the braces.

Are the editors requiring gross out scenes by their writers now?

Date: 2011-01-29 09:53 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Is that a gross out scene? It's really mild.

Date: 2011-01-29 04:02 am (UTC)
okkult3000: (Default)
From: [personal profile] okkult3000
The problem with magic in superhero comics is that it is really selective omnipotence. Zatanna can do pretty much anything as long as she says it backwards... unless the writer says she can't. Dr. Strange is the most powerful sorcerer in the Marvel Universe... but in the Avengers, he can't stop a plane from crashing, nor can he fly/teleport himself and his teammates to safety. Editors need to set down rules for how magic works, like a RPG. The problem with that is that eventually someone will ignore them for the sake of a story (just ask the guys who write the Official Handbooks). The point is, I'm starting to see superhero magic the same way I see time travel: not worth the effort.

Date: 2011-01-29 04:31 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] nemryn
I'd say the real problem is that one you have rules,it's not really magic anymore.

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Date: 2011-01-29 05:00 am (UTC)
arbre_rieur: (Default)
From: [personal profile] arbre_rieur
The show DOCTOR WHO has the phrase "wibbley-wobbley timey-wimey" for every time its rules of time travel are inconsistent. It's basically code for, "It's more fun this way, so just go with it." Same deal here, just with magic in place of time travel. The speak 'n' spell actually speaking does a better job punctuating the moment than the sentence appearing on its screen would, so there you go.

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Date: 2011-01-29 05:12 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Just what is she trying to say in that panel where she tackles the guy? I've been over it and over it, and I can't make it out.

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Date: 2011-01-29 05:14 am (UTC)
thanekos: Kouhei " Principal Garren " Hayami, the Libra Zodiarts, is bugged. (Default)
From: [personal profile] thanekos
well, it worked for Ibac once.

in an alternate timeline, but still.

Date: 2011-01-29 06:03 am (UTC)
midnightvoyager: (FAIL)
From: [personal profile] midnightvoyager
Has... the writer ever had braces?

ever?

Date: 2011-01-29 06:26 am (UTC)
darklorelei: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darklorelei
Or the artist, for that matter.

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Date: 2011-01-29 06:04 am (UTC)
badficwriter: Hal Jordan "Without my power ring, I'm superpowerless--except from the waist down!" ("Without my power ring)
From: [personal profile] badficwriter
For a wondrous second, I thought the text said "martial arts glasses."

Seriously though, I've reached the point where if the text says this is the only the superpowers work, I'll accept it. Otherwise it gets too stupidgeek.

Date: 2011-01-29 06:48 pm (UTC)
schmevil: (Default)
From: [personal profile] schmevil
Now I want martial arts glasses. But wait--do they let you see the world as a martial arts movie, or do they instantly give you ~marvelous martial arts prowess? (Would be fine with either).

Date: 2011-01-29 06:33 am (UTC)
maijson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] maijson
I will never understand this weird obsession with continuity that people have, where just because it came in the past that means it needs to be closely adhered to. Yeah it was established in the past that Zatanna doesn't need to speak to cast spells, but let's face it, that's idiotic. Zatanna NEEDS some kind of crutch to keep her from being all powerful, or the only thing that's going to happen is that she's going to be knocked unconscious at the start of every big Justice League fight scene because her power is just too skewed in her favor. You can write a story about any character and have it be interesting, but when a character is all powerful with no real weakness to the point that the opposition is just rolled over then the story loses tension.

I'm glad Dini and Beechen chose to ignore it.

Date: 2011-01-29 12:32 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
They did lessen her powers in her JLA lobster-hat period for that very reason. In story she basically exhausted her magical reserves of restructuring reality fighting the Key, and was left with powers over the elements, but couldn't create things the way she had done previously.

Obviously, her reserves eventually built themselves back up.

Date: 2011-01-29 09:06 am (UTC)
espanolbot: (Default)
From: [personal profile] espanolbot
Hey, it's Pitsy! :D

The mugger is a mafia thug from the first Punisher Max storyline. He's somehow travelled between universes, gone back in time and progressed from being a guy who can taken Frank Castle in a fistfight (and castrates people on a regular basis) to being a pursesnatcher.

Date: 2011-01-29 09:55 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Really? I'm not seeing it.

Date: 2011-01-29 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thelazyreader
The problem with Zatanna's spellcasting is whatever rules govern them are poorly explained and often inconsistent from writer to writer. I doubt any general mandate on this exists in DC editorial policy, so many writers simply write her as making anything she speaks backwards happen.

Date: 2011-01-29 03:18 pm (UTC)
gamerguy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gamerguy
Perhaps if you'd go back and look at the way the character is usually written instead of cherry-picking one or two obscure instances over the years, you'd see he's done a perfectly good and reasonable story. You should take to task the writer who said she doesn't have to speak, because that is the part that isn't canon.

Also, on the braces thing? It's been a general theme in most comics, both at DC and Marvel, that Magic cannot provide a long-term solution to most 'human level problems'. Spells can be undone in a second, or changed, or modified, or simply wear off. The years spent in braces won't be.

Date: 2011-01-29 06:47 pm (UTC)
schmevil: (tara (low self-esteem))
From: [personal profile] schmevil
Not canon, really?

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Date: 2011-01-29 06:46 pm (UTC)
schmevil: (Default)
From: [personal profile] schmevil
I like the braces-cage.

Date: 2011-01-30 12:08 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
Look at that picture. She's running full tilt, but stops intantly apparently, and she decides it's a good idea to have the guy who's also running full speed crash into the metal hooked into her teeth.

Seriously why not have him fall asleep or tie his shoelaces together.

Date: 2011-01-30 01:40 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
The spell includes the word "cage", those tend to be immovable. I think the laws of kinetics are trumped by those of magic.

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