Friday, May 28, 2010

The Top 5 Circe Covers

Wonder Woman and Superman are similar in that they are both powerful, optimistic, and world renowned heroes with crap villains. Now, the Man of Steel's creators so revere the property, they keep bringing back Superman's garbage foes, no matter how stupid and useless, "revamping" them with layer after layer of additional dreck. Alternately, the Amazing Amazon's enlisted creators typically haven't cared enough to actually do any research or even read her comics, and instead try to "fix her" by reinventing the wheel. Essentially, Wonder Woman creative teams think they're going to set the world on fire by playing out the exact same tropes over and over again (destroy Paradise Island, replace Wonder Woman, introduce world-shakingly powerful new arch-villain, tie a new adversary to some dark secret of the Amazons, evil version of Diana, etc.) By extension, the Amazon Princess keeps fighting variations on the same villains, but each goes by a different name, and few reappear.

Circe was a minor Golden Age villain who appeared (sans continuity) in more Lois Lane comics than Wonder Woman ones. She was reintroduced in the waning years of Amazing Amazon's first series, and revised early into George Pérez Post-Crisis reboot of the character. Pérez's swan song from Wonder Woman and DC Comics as a whole for the better part of a decade was the bungled event book War of the Gods, which featured Circe as its villain. Although poorly received, the event seemed to embed Circe in the fan consciousness as a primary foe of Princess Diana, so that she's managed to thrive while each new creative teams' "arch-foe" is forgotten in turn.

Honorable Mention: Wonder Woman #313 (March, 1984)

Despite spending five years as cover artist on the book, Adam Hughes never drew more of Circe than her face. In fact, Circe has a history of slight to none in the cover appearance department. Here, the whole of Circe and her primary ability are clearly visible, all before her big splash in the Post-Crisis reboot.

5) Wonder Woman #4 (February, 2007)

Bondage, another new costume design, allusions to Circe's main tactic and a Wonder Woman foe empowered by stripping Diana of her signature weapon. This could have been a top contender, if not for the terrible coloring that mutes the impact of every other element.

4) War of the Gods #4 (December, 1991)

A busy cover during a massive crossover, but the figures your eyes register are the Amazon warrior and her taunting foe, the latter famed for turning her feminine whiles into her primary weapon.

3) Wonder Woman #7 (June, 2007)

Take a fairly stock Wonder Woman image and pervert it with Circe's presence. The result is a kinky and memorable cover.

2) Wonder Woman #89 (August, 1994)

Snapshot of the mid-90s: A two issue fill-in story with some of the worst art to ever appear in a Wonder Woman comic involves the return of Circe after the dismal War of the Gods. Previously a negligible presence, the "bad girl" speculator fad turned a poor redesign of Circe's costume into cause for a junk bond price hike of this suddenly desirable collector's item edition. Certainly contributed to, if not being directly responsible for Circe's elevation to the role of "the" Wonder Woman villain.

1) Wonder Woman #19 (August, 1988)

This was the story that introduced the Post-Crisis Circe, who would become Wonder Woman's primary foil for the next twenty-odd years. Also, we've got upfront bondage and sexual politics, so its a return to the Golden Age roots!

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