Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour #1 // Review
The extent of Hecate’s power and machinations is revealed in Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour #1, by writer James Tynion IV, artist Jesus Merino, and colorist Monulo Fajardo Jr. Establishing “The Witching Hour,” this standalone issue brings new readers up to speed on the story arc, but does little to progress it beyond reiteration of its core conceits.
Following the emotional events portrayed in Justice League Dark #3, James Tynion IV takes a beat to check in on the series protagonists, showing them touch base with the Justice League proper regarding recent events. However, soon enough things ramp up again, with Hecate revealing her hand, much to the chagrin of the easily overpowered Justice League Dark.
Fleshing out the story of Hecate’s imposition of powers upon Diana, first shown in Justice League Dark #2, James Tynion IV flashes back to the past of Themyscira, where a young Diana has told her Mother, Hippolyta, of being attacked by members of the Hecate cult the night prior. Hippolyta twice confronts those Diana claims attacked her, once with Diana present, to assuage her fears, and a second time once Diana leaves, to demand answers from the attackers. This short time focused on Hippolyta marks the highlight of Tynion IV’s writing this issue. In a few panels, he's able to portray Hippolyta as a complex character and a capable Mother and Queen who knows when to be caring and when aggressive threats are more effective tools. The familial interaction between Hippolyta and Diana is also well accentuated, further showcasing that some of Tynion IV’s best character writing comes through when a parent/child relationship is emphasized, as previously seen with Zatanna and Zatara in Justice League Dark #3.
The opening in Themyscira was also an artistic high point for the issue, as Jesus Merino and Manulo Fajardo’s meticulous levels of creative detail formed a Themyscira that truly feels paradisiacal, despite being seen only in glimpses. Moreover, their depictions of the Amazons, Hippolyta in particular, evoke both a Baroque sensibility and George Pérez’s iconic run on Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour #1 serves its purpose in the overarching narrative of “The Witching Hour,” progressing the plot a step forward, though it primarily seems to reiterate information previously provided in the pages of Justice League Dark. As a jumping on point for new readers, it succeeds, as it supplies all the information needed to understand and enjoy the story; however, as a “special” issue for collectors and regular readers, it proves to be anything but. The comic supplies nothing particularly noteworthy or memorable, and only possesses a handful of panels pertinent to plot progression. Overall, The Witching Hour #1 is best described as serviceable.