Review – Justice League Dark/Wonder Woman: The Witching Hour #1: Hecate Unbound

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Justice League Dark/Wonder Woman: The Witching Hour variant cover, via DC Comics.

Justice League Dark/Wonder Woman: The Witching Hour #1 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Jesus Merino, Fernando Blanco, Miguel Mendonca, Artists; Romulo Fajardo Jr., Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 10/10

Corrina: Tremendous. Go. Buy. Read.

Ray: As The Witching Hour unfolded, both reviewers on this site felt it was quickly becoming one of the best DC events we’ve ever read. With this final issue, Justice League Dark/Wonder Woman: The Witching Hour #1, it’s clear that it’s delivered in every way en route to a spectacular finale.

When we last left off, Wonder Woman had apparently died due to the stress put on her body during her possession by Hecate. At the same time, magic is spiraling out of control. The Parliament of Trees is burned to the ground and replaced by a mysterious new “Parliament of Flowers”. Magical heroes and villains around the DCU find themselves transformed in odd ways. And then, Diana’s spirit makes a daring escape from Limbo, finding herself at a seemingly impenetrable barrier – only to be saved from certain death by a most unexpected ally – Hecate herself. Hecate has made a great villain, but a lot of the character’s mythology – namely her three faces – haven’t really been explored until now. This reveal that the villainous Hecate is only one facet of the ancient Goddess takes the story in a completely new direction and is one of the best finale twists I can remember.

A lot of this final issue is a flashback to Hecate’s origins and how she transformed from maiden to mother to crone, but the flashback is anything but boring. It’s a fascinating story of betrayal and tragedy and makes Hecate a genuinely sympathetic villain even as she continues to threaten the world.

Wonder Woman, with Hecate pulling her strings, marches on Olympus with the goal of destroying the final great flashpoint of magic in the world. Nanda Parbat is transformed into a horrifying Necropolis with a new and dangerous guardian, and the heroes are ultimately forced to utilize a vicious and dangerous villain to their advantage to turn the tide of battle against Hecate. This story has massive stakes and permanent changes in a way event comics often lack, and the ending makes clear that this story is just beginning. But there’s one last great twist at the end, revealing who the next big bad of this series is likely to be, that puts this whole event in a new light.

Tynion has raised the bar, and Justice League Dark may not be the flagship Justice League title, but it’s the best we’ve had in a very long time.

Magic transformed. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: It’s so rare to find an event that completely nails the ending, in every way, and also opens up new story possibilities even while providing the heroes with a win. I can’t remember the last time that’s happened with an event.

The Witching Hour does both.

Did it help that Tynion kept his core team at the forefront, allowing more character interaction and more deep dives into our heroes? (Or anti-heroes, in the case of Constantine?) I believe that was part of it. It’s also part of it that Tynion took several severely underused characters, like Manitou Dawn, and made them instantly interesting and engaging.

Another part was the villain herself, Hecate, who had a motive that was, in many ways, pure. To her, the current magic and its users were the villains. Here’s the brilliant part of Hecate’s story, where the two most prominent parts of Diana’s personality came in: she never gives up and she always has compassion. Diana’s persistence forced her into a potentially fatal action in limbo. But her compassion allowed her to listen and understand the other parts of Hecate.

And Hecate knew this about Diana and they were able to join forces.

Tynion said at a panel at New York Comic Con that he’s wanted to do this team-up for a long time. I’m thrilled DC finally allowed him to do it.

But no story works without a great art team and Merino, Blanco, and Mendonca created those amazing flashbacks, dripping with compassion for Hecate’s struggle, as well as showing the abandoned Olympus, the reconstructed Nanda Parbat, and the strange world of limbo, where the colorist, Fajardo, Jr., deserves special mention.

Is it too much to hope for a deluxe hardcover edition of this?

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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