"The Amber of the Moment, Part Three: The Shattered Now": Zatanna continues her sojourn, lost in a magical world, with no concept of how much time has passed. As powerful and rich as the magic is around her, she has not been able to conjure a way home. Howeve
- If what my magical probes have discovered is accurate... if there really is a rupture in the time stream... a chronal blood vessel about to burst, then... then...
- — Zatanna
Synopsis for "The Amber of the Moment, Part Three: The Shattered Now"
Zatanna continues her sojourn, lost in a magical world, with no concept of how much time has passed. As powerful and rich as the magic is around her, she has not been able to conjure a way home. However, at last, she thinks she has found that doorway, inside a tree that appears to be the source of this world's magic. Using its power, she may be able to save herself.
Her friends, meanwhile, are trapped in another place altogether, in a hall of shattered mirrors. They see themselves dividing like cells in mitosis, and Madame Xanadu worries that they will go insane, shattered into so many fragments. Unwilling to let that happen, she casts out magic nets to grab the real Deadman and Black Orchid away from their other selves, and to freedom. She explains that they were stuck in a loop of time, where each second turns in on itself. Unfortunately, the rest of the Justice League Dark is nowhere to be found. Looking at their surroundings, Xanadu suggests that she moved them from a place of inverted time to a place of no time.
They are accosted by a crowned man on a winged throne who confirms that Madame Xanadu's theories are correct, and the beings they see around them are the first and the last of his kind - they are always and never. He introduces himself as Arif - the lord of Now. He explains that they are like nothing he has ever seen before, as he leads them to his palace. His kingdom is timeless, and they are people of time. He promises, though, that timelessness is not a nightmare.
He shows them to a great telescope, through which Orchid sees a strange ribbon of darkness stretching across space. Arif explains that it is the Beyond Beyond. It is a place where matter ceases to exist. His people are forbidden to go there, and now that they are his people, they are also forbidden.
Unfortunately, Madame Xanadu's attempts to magic them home fail because she discovers that the laws of magic to not apply in this place. Arif appears and suggests that she come to think of Now as a paradise, and not a trap. Despite having only just met him, she feels as if she's known him her whole life, and goes with him, confounding her companions. Deadman decides that in the meantime, he wants to examine the Beyond Beyond.
Arif is flirtatious, and Xanadu is happy to talk with him for even a moment about her life beyond now, and about magic and terror - of time. He explains what it is like to live in his timeless world, and she feels herself opening up to him, despite years of learning to close herself off.
Meanwhile, Orchid comments that she would like to get back to her life, and Deadman must admit that he doesn't know much about her. She concedes that she doesn't either. All she knows is that her name is Alba Garcia - according to A.R.G.U.S. Before that, though, he life is a blank to her. As they approach the Beyond Beyond, they are stopped by Makkaria, the Guardian of the Beyond, who warns them that they are not allowed to pass. She explains that the black ribbon is extinction and that is all they need to know about it. Boston is prevented from taking over her body to get by, so Orchid shape-shifts to her form and attacks, requiring Boston to stand between them to stop fighting. He draws their attention to something horrific, warning that they need to get away from there as soon as possible.
Zatanna, meanwhile, meditates, trying to make contact with the mind that is hiding within the magic of the tree.
After hearing of her life, Arif requests that Madame Xanadu share a small taste of what it is to live in the world of time. Reluctantly, she offers him a kiss, and in within a moment, he has aged near to death. As he lies dying on the ground, he warns her not to weep for him. Now he knows the glory of transience. He collapses, dead, and she weeps for him, unsure whether she freed him or killed him. She is distracted by the sight of the black ribbon approaching the kingdom of Now.
Appearing in "The Amber of the Moment, Part Three: The Shattered Now"
- Arif (Dies)
- The Kingdom of Now
- Zatanna Recommended Reading
- JLA: Zatanna's Search
- Justice League of America (Volume 1)
- Adventure Comics (Volume 1)
- Supergirl (Volume 1)
- Zatanna Special #1
- Zatanna (Volume 1)
- Day of Judgment (Volume 1)
- Reign in Hell (Volume 1)
- Zatanna: Everyday Magic
- Seven Soldiers: Zatanna (Volume 1)
- Zatanna (Volume 2)
- Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell
- Mystik U (Volume 1)
- Deadman Recommended Reading
- Strange Adventures (Volume 1) (1967)
- Adventure Comics (Volume 1): (1978)
- Deadman (Volume 1) (1985)
- Deadman (Volume 2) (1986)
- Action Comics (Volume 1): (1988)
- Deadman: Love After Death (Volume 1) (1989)
- Deadman: Exorcism (Volume 1) (1992)
- Lobo/Deadman: The Brave and the Bald (1995)
- Batman/Deadman: Death and Glory (1996)
- Deadman: Dead Again (Volume 1) (2001)
- Deadman (Volume 3) (2002)
- Deadman (Volume 4) (2006)
- Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love (Volume 1) (2016)
- Deadman (Volume 5) (2018)
- Black Orchid Recommended Reading
- Madame Xanadu Recommended Reading