Wonder Woman #57 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Emanuela Lupacchino, Penciller; Ray McCarthy, Inker; Romulo Fajardo Jr., Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Corrina: Horrifying (and Wonderful)
Ray: The fourth chapter of The Witching Hour in Wonder Woman #57 delivers action and scares as good as the previous chapter, as the story hits a high gear with events both chaotic and intimate. As the story opens, Wonder Woman – who is currently possessed by Hecate and raining down hell on the world around her – wakes up in a strange grey limbo where she’s greeted by none other than Witchfire. That would be the obscure goth sorceress who died in the opening chapter after Hecate used her body as a conduit to immolate a bar full of sorcerers.
It seems this limbo is where the souls of the Witchmarked go when Hecate is puppeting them, and Witchfire’s soul is stuck there now. Meanwhile, with the possessed Wonder Woman destroying Nanda Parbat, Constantine and Zatanna are figuring out their next move. At least, Zatanna is – Constantine is looking to have one last drink at the end of the world. The reveal that the removal of his demon blood has led to his cancer returning is one of the biggest shocks of the issue.
After this reveal, Tynion does a great job of establishing the odd strength of Constantine and Zatanna’s relationship. Constantine is a bit of a dirtbag, but he also cares deeply for a few people and she’s one of them. Their on-again, off-again dynamic has been a running subplot through multiple versions of this title. But there are bigger issues than relationships – including the Witchmarked Black Orchid raining hell down on the Parliament of Trees. Hecate’s war on all magic has extended to one of the sources of life itself, and Swamp Thing’s strength isn’t enough to stop her. There’s a surprise last-second return of the Sisterhood of the Sleight Hand, who didn’t all perish in the explosion afterward. The end of the issue has an epic showdown between Zatanna and the possessed Wonder Woman, ending in one last great cliffhanger before next week’s conclusion. In only four weekly issues, Tynion has shown exactly how you do an event comic and put many of his competitors to shame.
Corrina: The stakes in this event are high: the magically rewriting of the world. But they are also intensely personal. Not just Wonder Woman’s survival is at stake: so is her soul. Not only is Zatanna worried about her friend, Diana, and the survival of all the magical friends she has, but her lover, Constantine, drops the bomb about his cancer returning.
And it’s hard not to feel for Swamp Thing, trying so hard to preserve the only life he has or for Black Orchid and Manitou Dawn, fighting to regain control of their souls. Then there’s Detective Chimp, our everyman, and his feeling of helplessness that echo out to the reader.
The bigger issues are wrapped around the personal ones and that is what makes this story so compelling. I’ve no idea how Hecate will be defeated but I suspect that defeat will leave its mark on everyone, Wonder Woman included. (No, I don’t expect Constantine to die or, if he does, it will likely be temporary. But still, his despair is real.)
This is the best event in ages from DC.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.