|First Appearance:||Wonder Woman vol. 1 #37|
|Created by:||George Pérez|
|Portrayed by:||Rachel York (Voice)|
Birth of the Witch
Circe is an ancient, nearly immortal sorceress of incredible power. Over 1,200 years B.C., Circe was a princess of Colchis, but according to her own words, her subjects objected to her killing her weak husband. Driven out of the kingdom, she found refuge on a small island Aeaea and began to accumulate considerable magical power--but it was limited to the island. She used the Sirens to lure seafarers to the island, but it was not enough for her lust for power. The goddess Hecate would answer her prayers, desiring for Circe to be the instrument of Hecate's own revenge against the Greek gods. She made Circe a proposition: immortality, eternal beauty, and incredible power in exchange for her soul (Hecate's soul would go to Circe). Circe agreed, and after the exchange, Hecate's body was destroyed. But before she died, the goddess gave a prophecy: "Upon the death of witch and the birth of witch, Hecate, by name and choice, shall repossess her soul." Circe did not pay much attention to the prophecy at first, elated by her incredible powers. She razed the kingdom of Colchis in a single day and developed the power to turn people into animals. The terror of her name and power quickly spread throughout the ancient world. Circe, driven by Hecate's hatred, fanned the flames of sexual alienation: men and women had always distrusted one another to an extent, she merely fanned such flames, sewing suspicion and betrayal wherever she went. When the Amazons were born, Circe was wary, but Ares assured her that they were his to destroy. The ancient Amazons were brought down by Heracles, and Antiope led half the Amazons against Athens--but the city was not destroyed, as Theseus and Antiope reached a peace--and then were married. Circe found Ariadne, the former wife of Theseus, and used her powers to let the angered queen slip into Antiope's bedroom and murder her as she slept. This would prove one of the key events in the history of the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall: Pythia and her Amazons blamed the murder on Theseus, while Theseus blamed them for the death. This is precisely what Circe wanted.
Circe remained on Aeaea for three thousand years, venturing out to cause more chaos and destruction, but by the modern time she had all but retreated to the island itself, setting herself up as an eccentric recluse. The island continued to have a bad reputation.
When Wonder Woman made her debut, Circe was distressed to find that some Amazons were still alive. Diana's message of peace reached even the inhabitants of Aeaea, and after some time they began to resent and hate the witch on the island. Even some of her Beastiamorphs turned against her. Circe felt that the time of Hecate's prophecy was close at hand -- Hecate was a moon goddess, as was the goddess Diana. She thus believed that Wonder Woman (Diana) was the second witch of the prophecy, and that if Diana killed her then Hecate's power would manifest in her. But Circe feared killing Diana directly, as that might also fulfill the spell. Thus, Circe decided to capture Diana when she was visiting Greece with some friends and revert her back into the clay and mud from which she was born. Circe's plan would have succeeded if not for the intervention of Hermes, who destroyed her tower and transported the witch away from Wonder Woman and her friends.
War of the Gods
Circe enacted a plan to destroy the spirit of the earth, Gaea, that created the crossover War of the Gods, which required the gathering of all of Earth's superheroes. Prior to the event itself, Circe enacted a scheme to destroy Hippolyta and her Amazons.
Realizing that her enemy, Wonder Woman, might interfere with her plans, Circe arranged for her kidnapping and transport to New Olympus, where she must defend her Greek patrons against the Roman gods' champion, Captain Marvel. While the heroes deal with the warring deities, Black Adam, Captain Marvel's archenemy, recruits the Suicide Squad to help him launch an attack on Circe's fortress. Circe's spells had failed because of Klarion the Witch Boy, who managed to disrupt the witch's plans. She escapes to Themyscira, where she kills Wonder Woman by devolving her back into the clay from which she was formed. While this happens Olympus appears next to Earth in its own dimension, threatening to destroy all of existence. The world's heroes try to convince the gods to lay down their arms and join them in facing the true enemy manipulating them. With Captain Marvel freed from his Roman masters' influence and Wonder Woman brought back to life, Gaea regains her strength, and the War of the Gods is finished but at the price of the life of the Olympian gods Hermes and Eris, and seemingly Circe herself--but the witch was not truly dead, and Hecate was denied Diana's soul.
One Year Later
With the Gods leaving the Earthly plane, Circe became horrified with the thought of spending eternity in limbo with Athena, joined forces with Hercules as his lover and partner. They planned together to rule the world as gods but she had her own sinister motives in mind.
Circe empowered Wonder Woman's rogues gallery, specifically Cheetah, Giganta, and Doctor Psycho in an effort to lure Diana out of hiding. The trio captured the new Wonder Woman, Donna Troy and subsequently captured Wonder Girl. With Diana, under the guise of Agent Diana Prince, following Hercules with the help of Agent Tom Tresser, to her hideout where she betrayed Hercules by turning him into Minotaur-esque beast. She revealed herself to Diana. Circe then stole Diana's powers explaining her rationale for doing so was to avenge wronged women whom she believed Diana had no real interest in helping. Along with Diana's powers, she stole Donnas, Cassies and Hercules' as well, claiming the mantle of Wonder Woman.
After completing the spell, Circe proceeds to slaughter slave traders in various cities, freeing thousands of women. Diana and Hercules joined together and mounted an assault on Circe's island and base of Aeaea. Sneaking past her defenses with a high-tech jet, Diana and Hercules managed to infiltrate her island. Though it would not be long before Circe attacked them. Despite this, Diana managed to escape from Circe as she stole back her lasso. Diana took control of one of Circe's beasts and infiltrated her temple. Circe on the other-hand captured Diana with Wonder Girl's lasso from Ares. Before Circe managed to kill Diana, she was attacked herself by Hercules. Hercules revealed his and Circe's plan and revealed that he wanted the power of the gods himself. Holding a sickle to her throat, Hercules forced Circe to transfer the power of the gods to him. However, Circe would be forced to remove the first spell and grant the power back to Diana before she would be able to cast a new one. The power of the gods was removed from Circe and Diana reclaimed her title as Wonder Woman...just in time for her entire rogues gallery to attack her.
Circe developed her own malicious plan once again. Employing Everyman to pose as Diana Prince's boss, Sarge Steel, she enabled the Department of Meta-humans to begin pursuing Wonder Woman for Maxwell Lords murder. By kidnapping Tom Tresser, Circe managed to lead Wonder Woman into a trap that led to her imprisonment. Circe's plan continued when she was allowed entrance to Paradise Island. With her powers, she seemingly resurrected the first Wonder Woman, Hippolyta and informed her of Diana's imprisonment by the United States which led to a declaration of war by the Amazons. Circe confronted Wonder Woman in her cell and presented to her an different point of view on right and wrong and the changes of society which may make what they thought was wrong, right all along.
With Circe manipulating both sides of the conflict between the United States and the Amazons, she managed to gain control of nuclear warheads pointed directly at Paradise Islands coordinates. As Wonder Woman battled each other in Washington D.C., she revealed her plans. Though the very ears that she did not hope would hear them did. Hippolyta and a group of Amazonian warriors overheard this and with a spear, Hippolyta stabbed Circe. Circe told Diana to finally usurp the throne as she vanished away.
Powers and Abilities
Circe is a goddess-level sorceress and as such is immortal. She is able to transform reality and matter through spells. Among other things, she can alter minds, fire destructive magical energy blasts, create illusions, revive the dead (as she did with Medusa), teleport, and transform objects and beings. Her "signature move" is transforming men into various animals.
As Ares is now the official ruler of Tartarus, as his consort it is also possible Circe may have some limited control over the dead.
Circe also possesses a magical mirror, often referred to as The Mirror of Circe, that allows anyone holding it to alter their features into that of another. It is considered a forbidden object by the Olympian gods but has been stolen several times and used by Hercules.
Sorcery: Circe is a goddess-level sorceress. Circe has nearly limitless magical power. Circe’s primary powers were her abilities to tap and manipulate mystical forces of the universe. She's shown the ability to project her image, voice, and energy bolts over long distances. Her most popular ability is her power to alter the forms of mortal but not immortal beings. With a gesture, she can transform men into animals, usually one comparable to the attitude, appearance or personality of her victims.
- Projective Animal Metamorphosis: Her most known and main feat was to turn objects and people alike into various sorts of animals. She prefers to transform men into various animals. Some of her victims have become pigs, monkeys, large cats, boars and even birds and have retained their ability to think and sometimes even speak. In these forms, they are subjective to Circe and often in a tranquilized state unable to retaliate. With another gesture, Circe can restore her victims to normal.
- Matter Transmogrification: She can transform objects and beings into whatever form she desires.
- Reality Alteration: Her sorcery allows her to manipulate reality through incantations and spells.
- Immortality: As a goddess level sorceress she is granted with ageless immortality.
- Alter Minds: She can alter minds and control them utterly.
- Magic Blasts: Can fire destructive magical energy blasts.
- Magical Shields: Able to erect physical shields through her magic prowess.
- Sound Manipulation: She's shown the ability to project her voice over long distances with extreme pressure.
- Clairvoyance: Circe also seems to have limited clairvoyant potential, mostly to be able to detect guests to her island and the presence of other immortals in her company. She was able to detect Hermes in an invisible state when he visited her.
- Illusion Casting: Capable of creating illusions.
- Teleportation: Capable of tapping even cosmic energies, she could teleport between dimensions such as from Earth to Olympus.
- Necromancy: During her time in Hell, she gained the limited ability to manipulate the dead to do her bidding, but much is not known of this since her resurface to Earth.
Superhuman Strength: Her strength was greatly increased due to the power boost she obtained, though this was only temporary as Wonder Woman received them back.
Superhuman Durability: Her durability was greatly increased due to the power boost she obtained, though this was only temporary as Wonder Woman received them back.
In other media
- Circe appears in the animated series Justice League Unlimited, appearing in the episode "This Little Piggy." In the show, she liberally displays her powers of transforming humans and other objects into animals, most notably turning Wonder Woman into a pig, and transforming Batman's batarangs into doves. The storyline here is that she was an old enemy of Wonder Woman's mother. Upon being released from imprisonment in Hades, Circe decided to get her revenge against Hippolyta by turning Diana into a pig (one of the terms of her release was that she could not attack Hippolyta directly). She agrees to turn Wonder Woman back after Batman sings "Am I Blue?" in front of an audience. Circe was voiced by Broadway actress Rachel York, who also sings the 1935 hit "Lulu's Back in Town" (music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin) in the episode.
- Circe appears in the video game DC Universe Online. She is one of the three main villain mentors.