I Don't Blame Her, Those Things Are CREEPY
The Good: My only previous exposure to Cliff Chang's art was on some of the covers for Generation Lost. Some of the more clever ones were pretty neat, but the normal ones were boring. And the art was very stylized, so I was nervous about this issue. But lo and behold, the art here is much more 'normal,' it doesn't look as crazy as Chang's cover art, and it actually looks pretty neat.
Zatanna's fear of puppets doesn't feel too unbelievable, the issue even references a previous issue of Detective Comics where she helped Batman fight The Ventriloquist and clearly was not as on the ball as she usually is.
The little aside about Jana was pretty interesting. It's always fun how Paul Dini puts in the little touches from the DCU's magical community.
Dini also make good use of Zatanna's supporting cast, in general, this time it's mostly Mikey, her stage hand, who gets some pretty comical moments.
A nice chunk of this issue is a callback to #2 and actually it's pretty brilliant. Paul Dini is starting to tie his stories together in tiny ways for added fun.
The ending was pretty great, and a perfect setup for the next issue.
The Bad: If Zatanna was getting the lay of the museum in the last issue, wouldn't she already have done a through investigation of the artifacts? Including the puppets?
The cameo of Detective Chimp came with this one short scene with some awkward dialogue that after 7 re-readings at least of that scene I still have no idea what it really means.
This issue is A LOT of setup without a lot of action. It's mostly an exploration of Zatanna's fear of puppets rather than the actually dealing with any actual creepy puppets. But the next issue is set up to be that.
In Conclusion: 4/5
Paul Dini is still on a fantastic roll. This issue is filled with a lot of excellent little things, from Detective Chimp to Fuseli, and really solidifies Paul Dini's run as a 'run' rather than a jumble of random adventures; and yet doesn't force everything to be connected in every way as one giant story. He keeps things fun and cool, and I doubt he'll be slowing down any time soon.