Wonder Woman #56 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Emanuela Lupacchino, Penciller; Ray McCarthy, Inker; Romulo Fajardo Jr., Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Corrina: Diana As We’ve Never Seen Her Before
Ray: It’s the second chapter of The Witching Hour in Wonder Woman #56, as James Tynion IV continues to expand Wonder Woman’s ties to the magical world. Definitely less dark than the Justice League Dark installments, this issue still raises the stakes and shows the kinds of alliances Diana will have to make if she wants to survive. The issue begins with the JLD in the Greek Isles, trying to wrangle a real unicorn. The unicorn is apparently needed as a tribute as the team heads towards their ultimate destination – the island of Circe. The evil sorceress is none too happy to see Diana and her team and immediately turns the men into animals. Something Man-Bat is used to, and his commentary is hilarious. But before the battle can begin, Diana reveals her mark, and Circe immediately agrees to work with them. I like the implication that Circe is essentially a showwoman and her villain persona is as much of a costume as anything – Tynion is building off Rucka’s work here.
Meanwhile, Tynion continues to show off his knowledge of obscure DC magic characters – starting with the Native heroine Manitou Dawn, best known from Joe Kelly’s Justice League run from almost twenty years ago. She’s been doing good quietly in the American southwest, but when her witchmark activates, she’s immediately possessed and begins waging a war against the hidden city of Nanda Parbat. Hecate is clearly using heroes as weapons against their own people, and Deadman gets involved when the city that resurrected him is under attack. My only concern is that I’m hoping this is the start of a new story arc for Manitou Dawn, and not the beginning of a short and tragic one like it was for Witchfire. But the addition of Circe to the “team”, the growing conflict between Diana and Zatanna, and the use of obscure magical heroes are really helping this mini-event stand out from its competition. It could just be the next arc of Justice League Dark, but it gets bigger and better with every issue.
Corrina: The question of “do the ends justify the means?” inhabits this whole issue. First, with the absolutely gorgeous depiction of the unicorn and the dark sequence that leads to its capture. Diana is unhappy about this but it’s soon revealed that she is the one who needs to talk to Circe the most. Lupacchino, McCarthy, and Fajarda Jr. shine through this issue but theirs is the most beautiful unicorn I’ve ever seen in a comic.
The art team continues to impress with the arrival on Circe’s shores, with her different selves, and the transformation of the men into beasts, and that final splash page of Diana glowing as she arrives in Nanda Parbat.
However, Zatanna worries that Diana is meddling in things she doesn’t understand but, of course, Diana has faith in herself and, it must be admitted, the magicians of JLD have not had any answers thus far. This is a side to Diana rarely seen, intriguing and scary at the same time.
This is turning out to be a fantastic event.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.