Following Scott Snyder’s universe changing NO JUSTICE, the DC Universe’s mystic world is at risk. Magic users, like Zatanna and Constantine, can no longer trust their old spells. The mysterious Otherkind, the original users of magic, seek to steal back what is rightfully theirs. During the fight with the mysterious Upside Down Man, a powerful Otherkind, Wonder Woman tapped into a mysterious new magical power source. Now, in WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1, readers find answers as to who is giving this superhero icon her new abilities. Yet are these abilities a gift? Or is it simply another threat to the magical community?
The Witching Hour
WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1 is a very interesting comic book. I have to commend writer James Tynion IV. He has added a believable new element to Wonder Woman’s mythos, one that somehow fits perfectly into her timeline and now provides a relevant threat to magic. That can’t be an easy task, to edit an icon’s history in this way. Nevertheless, Tynion succeeds. I especially enjoyed how he started this issue, dropping us directly into Diana’s initial encounter with the witch goddess Hecate. It’s steeped in mythology and really interesting moments. It really helped to balance the somewhat slower second act.
In terms of plot, I do think that this second act might be my only complaint. It’s a minor one, to be sure, considering that the information shared is important. My issue stems from the fact that the conversation between Zatanna, Wonder Woman, and the main Justice League reiterates information that I’ve already read. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence in comics, and it makes sense here. Several new readers will come into WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1 because it is the first issue of a new crossover event. Nevertheless, compared to the fast-paced beginning and end, I felt the middle pumped the breaks a little too hard. There were more interesting ways to tackle this conversation, I think, no matter how necessary it is.
A Magical Team
I really enjoyed James Tynion IV’s work with Wonder Woman in WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1. Every time we find this character, we see the battle-hardened, unstoppable force for good. She represents an entire generation of strong women but, while that does mean something incredibly important, she can sometimes be hard to relate to. She’s a literal demigod, with the powers to match. Tynion IV does a fantastic job bringing this character back down to Earth in this issue. His focus on her fear and uncertainty makes complete sense. Typically, Wonder Woman has the answers. Now, though, she feels as lost as the rest of the world. I absolutely loved this look at the character. It humanizes her. It gives her an obstacle to overcome that cannot be punched through, and that leads to great characterization.
The rest of the characterization in WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1 feels somewhat satisfying. The main focus falls on Wonder Woman, with Zatanna taking a secondary focus as well. However, I still felt like we got a nice glimpse of Detective Chimp, Man-Bat, and Swamp Thing’s personalities. They only get brief glimpses, but the overall effect works. I still am uncertain how I feel about Constantine’s presence though. As the former leader of Justice League Dark, his appearance seems like a given. Nevertheless, he comes across as way too mysterious in this issue and the rest of the new JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK series. I need answers or hints as to his place in the story. Is he going to join the team? Or is he simply just another magic user affected by Hecate’s presence?
A Dark Day
Artist Jesus Merino takes the reigns in WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1. I absolutely loved his work. He’s not unaccustomed to drawing Wonder Woman, as he’s worked on the last several issues of her solo series. This experience definitely shows, as his work is incredibly dynamic throughout.
I especially think his action sequences work really well. The attention to detail is some of the best in the medium, and his “choreography” is simply fantastic. There are a few instances where character art gets a bit muddled. The second act sees a few depictions of figures like Batman that stand out due to awkward proportions. Nevertheless, Merino’s art shines in this issue.
WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1: Final Thoughts
Outside of its somewhat clunky title, WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1 is a truly interesting issue. It does have its slow moments, and the continued inclusion of Constantine adds confusion instead of mystery. Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable read. With an action packed final act, and a brilliant look at a humanized Wonder Woman throughout, Jame Tynion IV and Jesus Merino have crafted a satisfying beginning to this crossover event. Needless to say, I will be keeping my out for the next installment in WONDER WOMAN #56!