Warning: SPOILERS for Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman: The Witching Hour #1
Wonder Woman has a new, powerful adversary in the comics... tied back to the very roots of the Amazon's past. DC Comics has just wrapped up the crossover event between Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark entitled The Witching Hour. The epic which dealt with the death of magic, and Wonder Woman (temporarily) turning into the evil vessel of the goddess Hecate concluded with the heroes being mostly successful. Magic has been saved, for the moment, Hecate has been defeated, and Wonder Woman is now fully in control of her body... but all those victories come with a catch.
Before Wonder Woman and her new Justice League Dark triumph over Hecate they turn to an unlikely ally, Circe. For the unfamiliar, she's a villain from Wonder Woman's past who has only appeared sporadically in current continuity. Long story short: Circe is DC's version of the classic mythological witch - but after The Witching Hour's conclusion, Circe has become one of the most powerful and dangerous characters in the DC Universe.
Wonder Woman's rogues gallery isn't as mainstream as the villains of Batman or Superman, but the warrior princess' relationships with her antagonists is just as, if not more complicated than DC's golden boys. This is especially true with Circe who is often an intellectual, as well as physical threat for Wonder Woman. Although on occasion the witch and the warrior have been known to work together, and Witching Hour seemed to be a chance for peace between the pair, Circe had ulterior and deadly motives.
Circe's impetus for wanting to help the Justice League Dark take out Hecate and save magic wasn't for any sort of noble reasoning. Although the witch didn't want magic destroyed, she also had a vested interest in seeing the goddess of magic defeated. Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman: The Witching Hour #1 reveals that Circe was the fifth of five women who just like Wonder Woman, was marked by Hecate as one of her chosen potential vessels On Earth. But unlike Wonder Woman, Circe knew she had been chosen.
Circe used this knowledge to manipulate Wonder Woman and Hecate into a final conflict. Wonder Woman succeeded and supposedly defeated Hecate for good, which is when Circe struck, using the defeat of the goddess as an opportunity. As a "witch-marked," Circe siphoned off all of Hecate's powers at the moment of the goddess' death and transferred them to herself. Circe gained all of Hecate's powers, but without having to compromise any of her own mental control. In other words, Circe orchestrated Hecate's death to take her power and place as the new Goddess of Magic in DC's Universe.
In the most obvious sense, the twist sets up Circe, not Hecate, as the main villain of the Justice League Dark series. But it could do much more for Wonder Woman's future. The Witching Hour is Circe's biggest appearance in DC Comics in several years, following a brief appearance during Greg Rucka's run on Wonder Woman in DC Rebirth. Before that all Circe had was a guest starring role in the obscure and short-lived Men of War series back in 2011, where she was physically and emotionally unrecognizable. Even with her new powers and godly status, Circe is much more like her classic version in The Witching Hour.
Perhaps the most interesting potential development is how Circe's new powers could bleed out into the movies. Cheetah had a lengthy comic story that revitalized and modernized her character before she was announced as the villain of Wonder Woman 1984. The DCEU also appears to be traveling down a much more mystical and fantastical route after its gritty early days, with Shazam! leaning heavily into the DC Universe's magic mythos, and all signs point to Aquaman being a fantastical and colorful take on the underwater kingdom.
That may be speculation on our part, with no hint of Circe in the DCEU just yet. But the character getting a spotlight in the comics and a major promotion over other, lesser threats would be a nice way to raise awareness before a live-action debut.Think she's the kind of villain a Wonder Woman sequel should embrace, along with her magic?
Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman: The Witching Hour #1 is available now from DC Comics.