Zatanna Zatara has just discovered her magical abilities, by accidentally sending her father to Hell. Whisked away to Mystic U, a school for gifted young magic wielders, Zatanna makes new friends while she settles into university life...but is she the chosen one or the one chosen to destroy them all?
A smart take on the old "school for gifted youngsters" and the "wizarding world of kids at school," Mystic U is more of a fun read than it should be given its obvious influences. Just as it was fun seeing Wolverine as a professor of English Lit in Wolverine and The X-Men a few years ago, it's fun to see Frankenstein in a shirt and tie, and Merlin as a silly old wizard/professor. Writer Alisa Kwitney divides up the mystic characters of the DCU into teacher and student roles with the ancient ones (Xanadu, Merlin, Frankenstein) being the teachers and the relatively younger ones (Zatanna, Enchantress, Faust) playing the roles of students. She even comes up with this story's own Doop in the form of Plop...the strange being inhabiting the halls and basement of Mystic U who's accepted into the fold. Tension comes by way of the ever present teenage angst and coming of age challenges, which in this case might lead to the death of all our favorite pupils as one of them just might be the key to the unleashing of the mysterious "Malevolance."
Artist Michael Norton's work is slightly reminiscent to Mike Allred's work and lends the necessary whimsy and youthful innocence necessary to pull off a tale such as this. Thick ink lines and detailed and expressive characterizations make the look of Mystic U engaging and enthralling even if the story doesn't quite live up to the originality of the book's artistic look.
Fun, if not totally original, Mystic U has plenty to keep the reader entertained if not enchanted.