First appearance: Wonder Woman #37 (September 1949
DC Comics' version of the Ancient Greek sorceress from Classical Mythology and Homer's The Odyssey. First appearing in Wonder Woman #37 by Robert Kanigher and Harry G. Peter in 1949, Circe would at first only make a variety of scattered and intermittent appearances in multiple DC Comics books, not just Wonder Woman's, in the Pre-Crisis continuity.
However when DC rebooted it's continuity in 1986 and the Wonder Woman title would be relaunched, Circe would become inextricably tied to Wonder Woman's larger mythos. While her motives for her enmity with Diana have been frequently subjected to Depending on the Writer; ranging from either hating the world of peace and equality that Diana wants to create, to trying to prevent a preordained prophecy, to having a pre-existing rivalry with Hippolyta and the Amazons and sees targetting Diana as a form of revenge, or simply just because she get's a kick out of it.. Circe has nevertheless become one of Diana's most persistent and dangerous foes note , being the source of a many calamitous events in her history.
Not be confused with the the novel by Madeline Miller or the similarly pronounced Game of Thrones character
Notable AppearancesComic Books
- Wonder Woman Vol. 1 (1949)
- Wonder Woman Vol. 2 (1987 - 2006)
- War of the Gods 1991
- Wonder Woman Vol. 3 (2006 - 2011)
- Amazons Attack! 2007
- Men of War (2011-2012)
- Superman/Wonder Woman (2013 - 2016)
- Wonder Woman Vol. 5 (2016 - present}
- Justice League Dark Vol. 2 (2018 - present)
Elseworld and Other Appearances
- DC Animated Universe
- Justice League Action voiced by Laura Post
Tropes associated with Circe include:
- Absolute Cleavage: Some of her costumes have featured this look, especially the floor-length green dresses with V-necks criss-crossed in gold chain she likes to wear at home.
- Archenemy: She, Ares, and the various incarnations of The Cheetah are the three contenders for this title, as Diana's longest-running, most consistently dangerous, and deeply personal adversaries. When Luthor assembled the first Injustice Gang, Post-Crisis, he wanted it to include the worst enemies of every Justice League member and chose Circe to fill that spot for Wonder Woman.
- A God Am I: In Justice League Dark (vol. 2), she becomes the new Goddess of Magic of the DC Universe following the death of Hecate. Thanks in part due to her manipulations of events that led to Hecate's death that led to Circe inheriting her powers.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: As of DC Rebirth and as one can see in the page image above Circe seems to have gone in this direction, adopting a cream blazer/long coat, black leather slacks, and Waistcoat of Style ensemble paired with a bright red pixie cut.
- Bad Boss: Treats her Bestiamorphs like crap.
- Baleful Polymorph: Does this to most people, and especially men, turning them into the animal she feels they most resemble.
- Barrier Warrior: Often creates shields in combat, once erecting one around a city.
- Becoming the Mask: When disguising herself as Donna Milton, the spell works a bit too well, and she comes to be Diana's good friend.
- Been There, Shaped History: States she almost gave Homer his eyesight back for including her in The Odyssey
- Berserk Button: Wonder Woman's idealism and speechifying is one for her. Mentioning her daughter Lyta, even indirectly, is an even bigger one. She fried an Amazon to the bone with magic lightning just for mentioning her.
- Big Bad: If somebody is screwing with Diana's life it will be one of Ares, Cheetah II, or Circe. She's been the mastermind behind Amazons Attack, War of the Gods, and more than a few other ugly little plots.
- Braids of Action: Sports two of these in a form she takes◊ in the New 52 and DC Rebirth
- The Chessmaster: The most consistent when it comes to this of all of Wonder Woman's major rogues;
- During War of the Gods she manipulated the several pantheons of the DC Universe into war with one another
- She orchestrated the events of Amazons Attack! by mind-controlling Hippolyta into believing Diana was being held captive by the U.S.
- In Justice League Dark (vol. 2) she manipulated the JLD into killing the Goddess Hecate so she could take over as the DC Universe's Goddess of Magic.
- Deity of Human Origin: Originally a princess from the island of Colchis as of Justice League Dark (vol. 2) she has become the new Goddess of Magic of the DC Universe.
- Does Not Like Men: Depending on the Writer. Other times she's a Misanthrope Supreme.
- Dystopia Justifies the Means: Her end goal regardless of her motives has been to create a chaotic world of misery, conflict, and all-around vileness where she reigns supreme.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Her daughter, Lyta, is the only person ever shown that Circe genuinely cares about and loves enough to hold off on attacking Wonder Woman. She mentioned that Lyta is the only thing that makes her feel her long life was worth living.
- Evil Counterpart: Wonder Woman loves everyone. Circe hates everyone. Both are magical and mythological superwomen empowered by higher beings who strive to change the world with their beliefs and powers. However, Wonder Woman wants a peaceful world of kindness and virtue, whereas Circe desires a world of cruelty and depravity. Even their behavior marks the contrast of a MadonnaWhore Complex perception seen against women.
- Evil Parents Want Good Kids: She goes out of her way to keep Lyta away from her villainous activities.
- Evil Redhead: And we are talking crimson more often than not.
- Eviler Than Thou: Has clashed with other Wonder Woman villains, and with the likes of Lex Luthor and The Joker on occasion.
- Fatal Flaw: Her arrogance and sadism have often proven to be her downfall.
- Flaming Hair: Has this in her'' Goddess of Magic form in Justice League Dark (vol. 2)
- Foil: Circe's attitudes towards men and the world are played in deliberate contrast to Diana's more compassionate view. Really exemplified after Circe briefly stole Diana's powers and became an Evil Counterpart to Wonder Woman.
- In her first Post-Crisis story, she herself points it out. Much like her, she too came to be to fulfill a mission from the gods - namely, Hecate, who wished to punish humanity for her mistreatment, which Circe did by driving divides between men and women further. She later invokes their similarities again when she explains how both she and Diana are powerful women who are outsiders feared by humans because the causes they fight are hidden beneath blood shed by their hands (Circe fought and killed to get her daughter back, while Diana fought and killed others like Maxwell Lord to protect her friends and herself).
- Friendly Enemy: Sometimes behaves this way towards Diana. Like many other things about Circe, this is dependent upon the writer.
- Gendercide: Not the first Wonder Woman antagonist to try this, and she won't be the last either.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: She was one of Diana's best friends once, in disguise.
- Hot Witch: A very conventionally attractive witch who often wears revealing clothes.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: In post-crisis. She started out as a villain. Then she tried to infiltrate Diana's life by posing as a woman named Donna Milton only to end up Becoming the Mask. For a brief time she was an ally to Diana but went back to being a villain. The end of Allan Heinberg's Who Is Wonder Woman? miniseries ended with her and Diana reaching a truce of sorts only for her to go back to being evil again in Jodi Picoult's run.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Wore a very revealing all-black leather getup in Rucka's first run.
- Hero Killer: Actually manages to kill Wonder Woman during War of the Gods by using a spell designed to revert her into clay. This makes her the only villain amongst the DC Trinity's rogues gallery who has actually succeeded in killing the hero she opposes in main continuity.
- Hot Witch: Circe is often depicted as wearing outfits that flatter her beautiful figure.
- Her misandry hasn't stopped her from conducting affairs with Hercules, Ares, and Ballesteros. Despite her pride and distaste in men, she even tried to seduce Lex Luthor to gain perks while he was acting as President of the United States.
- She hated Diana for separating her from her daughter Lyta. Diana points out that Circe did the same thing to Julia Kapataelis and her daughter Vanessa.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Circe is easily the most notable Wonder Woman villain who wasn't in the original Marston/Peters run (ex. Cheetah, Ares, Dr. Psycho, Giganta). Debuting under the subsequent writer Robert Kanigher in 1949 and not becoming fully integrated into Wondy's mythos until the George Pérez reboot in the 80s.
- Immortality Immorality: Circe is one of the oldest humans in the DC Universe, and is among the most dangerous.
- Lady of Black Magic: Villainous version. Circe packs enough magical power to level cities and affect hundreds of people at once with her transformation curses.
- Mama Bear: She's dangerously obsessive over her daughter Lyta, especially after Wonder Woman emphasized Lyta was the one person on Earth who unconditionally loved her despite her nasty personality. As such, she becomes thoroughly vicious to anyone who threatens her relationship with Lyta or Lyta herself, to the point she manipulated many of Wonder Woman's enemies like Veronica Cale, along with instigating "Amazons Attack" simply for revenge that the Amazons and the Gods took her daughter away from her.
- Misanthrope Supreme: Believes that all humans are beasts at their core and should be treated as such.
- Mooks: The Beastiamorphs serve as Circe's monstrous minions.
- Mook Maker: She turns people into Beastiamorphs to serve her.
- Most Common Super Power: Circe is quite buxom and busty, fitting for a seductive sorceress.
- Motive Decay Okay so... why is she still trying to kill Wonder Woman? Sometimes it's because she hates the world of peace and equality that Diana wants to create, sometimes it's because she hates everything Diana stands for which she sees as lies and attacks her out of hate-filled cynicism, sometimes it's because of prophecy, sometimes it's because she thinks the Amazons stole her daughter, sometimes it's because she thinks that Wonder Woman doesn't do enough to stop the oppression of women despite the fact that directly contradicts one of the main reasons she gave for hating Wonder Woman's message of peace and tolerance during one of her Motive Rants. Most of all her actions simply just revolve around her hating Wonder Woman and just wanting to watch her squirm. Best exemplified by her banter:Circe: Come back home. To New York. I've been making some changes to the Big Apple while you've been here. Turning Men into Animals. Women against Men. Lovers against Lovers. All the things you despise and fight against with a passion.Wonder Woman: What! Why?!Circe: Because it's what I do, sweetheart. It's the kind of world I want to live in. And because I hate you.
- Ms. Fanservice: Circe is a buxom, leggy sorceress with a penchant for wearing very revealing outfits. Her appearance in Men Of War has her naked with only her Godiva Hair preserving her modesty.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Played straight and then subverted in Justice League Dark. She seemingly drops her hatred of Diana when she and JLD come to her asking for assistance on defeating the goddess Hecate but the end of the story however it's revealed Circe had been manipulating the team the whole time into destroying Hecate (and Diana as a possible bonus).
- Practically Joker: This has been Circe's depiction since the 90s. In addition to being a Straw Nihilist who enjoys spreading chaos, Circe also enjoys striking at Diana through her loved ones like the time when she brainwashed Vanessa Kapatelis into becoming the Silver Swan. During the 90s and early 2000s she was even depicted with purple hair and a green outfit, a visual inversion of the Joker's iconic look.
- Public Domain Character: Modeled the sorceress who sought to bewitch Odysseus' crew in The Odyssey. Since the original Circe is one of the oldest characters in fiction, she's well into the public domain.
- Put on a Bus: Following Amazons Attack! where Circe was banished to the Underworld, Circe would not appear in the main Wonder Woman book until Wonder Woman almost 10 years later. note
- Really 700 Years Old: Dates back to at least 1200 BC.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: She instigated all the events of the Amazons Attack arc, including the massive death toll of Americans and Amazons alike, irreparably damaging the reputation of the Amazons, and having Hippolyta banished as an exile. Why? Because when the gods left the mortal realm, Ares permanently took Lyta with them and Circe wanted to get revenge on the gods by tarnishing the reputation of their most ardent followers.
- Secondary Color Nemesis: Purple and green are Circe's most reoccurring Color Motifs. Some times she will be depicted with purple hair and a green outfit or wearing a purple robe. When she first appeared in the Perez run, she had black hair and a green dress.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: In the post-Crisis continuity, Circe originally became an enemy of Diana because of a prophecy that the Amazon would kill her. In trying to prevent this prophecy however, Circe set in motion the very events that led to her death at Diana's hands. She got better though.
- She's Got Legs: Often wearing clothing that emphasize this.
- Sins of the Father: Circe having run-ins with Hippoylta in the past that ended for poorly for her has occasionally been presented as reason for her hatred of Diana;
- In Justice League Unlimited, Hippolyta had her banished to Hades for turning people into animals.
- In the Superman/Wonder Woman title from The New 52 it's revealed Hippolyta and Circe made an arrangement where Circe would enchant Themyscira's weapons so it could defend itself from invaders in-exchange for the Amazon's male children. Hippolyta than double-crossed Circe and made a deal with the Smith God Hephaestus where he would get the male children in-exchange for weapons that would defend Themyscira from Circe.
- Squishy Wizard: Circe has a lot of magical fire power but lacks Diana's strength, speed and fighting skills. She can magically empower herself to match Diana in strength but even then the Amazon can still beat her with proper training.
- The Starscream: Was this to the Hecate, the Goddess of Magic, in Justice League Dark (vol. 2). In her past she originally became an acolyte of Hecate as a means of enacting a Roaring Rampage of Revenge but eventually manipulated Wonder Woman's Justice League Dark team into killing Hecate so her powers would be transferred to her, allowing her to become the new Goddess of Magic.
- Straw Feminist: Sometimes portrayed this way.
- Straw Nihilist: By the end of her story, she begins to describe how everything in life from Wonder Woman to humanity live under illusions of falsehood, leaving actions of love and murder as the only things that could be called reality. As such she kills other indiscriminately in pursuit of her daughter, Lyta, the only being she loves.
- Stripperiffic: Frequently dresses this way. Mainly as a way of throwing off male enemies through sex appeal.
- Troll: Enjoys dicking with people out sheer amusement, especially Diana.
- Supernatural Is Purple: Her signature purple hair. In the Post-Crisis continuity although she changed her appearance frequently her hair remained the same color. In Rebirth however it's become more reddish-purple.
- Unholy Matrimony: With Ares, Hercules, and Sebastian Ballesteros on occasion. She even tried to invoke this with Lex Luthor, but he flatly denied her.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Circe's costumes are subject to change, even in the midst of battle.
- The Vamp: Not afraid to use her sex appeal to get what she wants, at one point trying to seduce Green Arrow II on Luthor's orders.
- Villain Team-Up: Has often been either involved or the leader of such groups.
- She's been romantically involved with Sebastian Ballesteros as well, with the two of them acting as a Big Bad Duumvirate.
- Led a Legion of Doom made up of Wonder Woman's enemies, all of whom she empowered and has allied herself with the likes of Luthor's Injustice Gang in order to take on the Justice League.
- In DC Rebirth, she formed part an evil counterpart to the Trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman with Lex Luthor, Ra's al Ghul, and herself.
- In Justice League Dark (vol. 2), she formed an Injustice League Dark comprised of herself, Klarion the Witch Boy, Solomon Grundy, Floronic Man, and Papa Midnite
- Villain Teleportation: Circe, as one of the most powerful magic users in the 'verse, is fully capable of jumping between points and dimensions at will, though Paradise Island has defenses against this. Interestingly her most notable use of teleporation may have been when she used it to help the heroes by teleporting Diana and herself to try to save Artemis from the White Magician.
- Warrior vs. Sorcerer: Circe is an evil witch whose archenemy is an Amazon Warrior Princess.
- Wicked Witch: One of the wickedest witches in comic books in fact.
- Wizards Live Longer: Circe is several thousand years old.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: She changes her hair color frequently but her "natural" color seems to be purple.
- You Have Failed Me: One of Circe's Bestiamorphs failed to accomplish his assignment. What does Circe do? She turns him into a chicken dinner and eats him.