Wonder Woman #56 // Review
Diana and the Justice League Dark team take on the goddess of magic in this week’s Wonder Woman #56, written by James Tynion IV, with pencils by Emanuela Lupacchino, inks by Ray McCarthy, and colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr. This is part two to last week’s Witching Hour special one shot, but it’s not completely necessary to pick that up to understand the story, as Tynion does well enough recapping the situation and explaining Hecate’s motives in this issue.
Previously, Diana discovered that she had been branded by Hecate, Goddess of Magic, as a child, and now that brand is being activated in order for her to use Diana to destroy all magic. With the help of Wonder Woman’s magic-oriented Justice League Dark, she has been able to elude Hecate, but the team has now discovered that Diana is one of five branded magic users that the goddess has used to store her power over many years. If the JLD can’t keep Hecate from reclaiming her power and destroying all magic, it could mean the end of the world as they know it.
Tynion does a great job pulling all of the magic users from across the DC universe in this story, but, in this issue particularly, he surprises the audience with the deep cut Justice League character, Manitou Dawn. She plays a key role in the book (which won’t be spoiled here), but it’s nice to know the character has survived the New 52 era intact, considering it’s hard to tell what parts of JLA history are in or out of continuity these days. Similarly, Deadman makes an appearance that will hopefully lead to his joining the JLD permanently. If the first two chapters of this arc are any indication, though, there are plenty more of your favorite magic-oriented DC characters to come.
Tynion also does amazing work, filling in the Wonder Woman readers on what happened in the previous chapter in the most organic way possible. The opening was a little disorienting, even if you had read part one, but then the story evens out, and all the information you could want about the predicament Diana and her team are in is presented in an organic way. These crossovers can tend to be overly-expository, or the complete opposite, not filling the readers in enough from chapter to chapter, so it’s nice to see Tynion hit that perfect balance without impeding on the fun of the story.
The MVP of the cast of characters this issue is, without a doubt, Circe. Tynion has a lot of fun playing with her personality here, showing her dark, villainous side, and then a much warmer, welcoming aspect of her that suggests readersz don’t know nearly as much about this Wonder Woman villainess as they thought they did. Here’s hoping Tynion gets to write her more in the future, because he could get tons of mileage out of his version of the character.
Lupacchino does an excellent job rendering Wonder Woman and most of her teammates as distinct personalities with beautiful art, and does an especially excellent job with Circe’s entrance. Even if her Detective Chimp is a little wonky, she would be welcome on this book any time. The inks and colors by McCarthy and Fajardo do nothing but enhance the already pitch-perfect pencils, and everything comes together for a well-told story that doubles as a visual treat.
Even if you missed the first chapter of The Witching Hour, you shouldn’t let that scare you away from picking up this issue of Wonder Woman. Everything is pretty well explained, and you wouldn’t feel lost as long as you’re willing to wait for Tynion to fill you in later in the book. The story itself is entertaining, and marks the return of the epic magic story that hasn’t been seen in a while from DC, so it’s definitely worth a look if that’s what you’ve been missing from this company.