DC Database

Giovanni "John" Zatara was a powerful magician and superhero in the mid-to-late 20th century.

He was also the father of another magical icon Zatanna Zatara who he vigorously trained in the arts of magic from the moment of her birth, as well as mentor to her future boyfriend Nick Necro.

After becoming so powerful with the magical arts, Zatara and three of his old magic companions became the founding members of the insidious organization called the Cult of the Cold Flame, a cult they created to organize an army of magic users.[1] When Zatara would learn of a great magical threat, he prepared a plan in secret to fight the evil with his friend Sargon the Sorcerer. He son realised however, he and Sargon may not live to see out their plan so they made arrangements with the sorceress Circe and the Lord of Chaos Mordru, and recruited the young wizard John Constantine to fulfil Zatara's plan in his absence.[2] Zatara kept his daughter Zatanna in the dark on his plans but would involve her in a séance to fight the dark presence alongside Constantine and Sargon which, as predicted, killed Zatara and Sargon.[3] After their deaths they would be taken to the Other Place and tortured by the Otherkind although Zatara occasionally managed to outsmart his captors and send the occasional warning to his daughters allies in the Justice League Dark.


  • Magic: Zatara was a considerably powerful Homo Magi, with John Constantine remarking that he was the greatest sorcerer in his generation.[4] Due to his heritage, Zatara can naturally manipulate magical forces.[5]
    • Eldritch Blast: Zatara can shoot blasts of magical energy at will.[6]
    • Logomancy: Zatara was a notable user of Logomancy, being capable of casting a variety of magical effects by reciting phrases or spells backwards.[5]
      • Cost Redirection: Zatara is capable of redirecting the cost of magic from others onto himself from others.[7]
      • Healing: Zatara is capable of healing himself by saying "laeh".[6]
      • Energy Negation: Zatara was capable of dispelling an invisibility spell by saying "nrut Elbisiv".[8]
      • Reality Alteration: Zatara once undid Zatanna's spell that allowed her and Bruce to walk up on a ceiling by saying "Edisthgir pi".[8]
      • Telepathy: Zatara can make people forget memories of his choice by saying their name backwards and then saying "Tegrof".[8]
    • Sigil Magic[9]



  • Logomancy Speech Dependency: As a practioner of Logomancy, Zatara's use of this specific brand of magic requires him to verbally speak backwards.


  • Gnosis Sphere: A powerful artifact protected by the Zatara family for generations, it's power lies in being able to answer any question after having direct contant. Due to the danger it poses, Zatara considered it to among the most powerful artifacts made.[8][10]
  • Houdini's Key: A artifact in allows a user to open/unlock any door as well as any dimensional locations. The key was later gifted to John Constantine some time before Zatara's death.[11] (Formerly)

  • Giovanni had a fued with fellow magician, Diamond Jack.[12]



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