WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman: The Witching Hour #1 from James Tynion IV, Jesus Merino, Fernando Blanco, Miguel Mendonca, Romulo Fajado Jr. and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
In the closing pages of The Witching Hour, the DC Universe introduces a fresh take on magic.
In the past, we've seen it treated as a higher-evolved science, and at other times, it's been a full-fledged mystical power. However, the Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman crossover adjusts its concept with a brand-new history that ties magic to the depths of space, all of the gods the publisher has to offer, and the vast array of supernatural beings populating the cosmos.
Not long ago, we learned magic was on loan to the people of Earth, namely the "homo magi," who corrupted it for their own use. That's why the Otherkind and their leader, the Upside-Down Man, wanted to invade the planet in the first place.
However, we now find out this was all thanks to a jealous Hecate, who, following the spark of creation, became a reservoir for mystical energy which would become known as magic, the very thing gods would evolve from. It turns out that during creation, magic was born and split into the light, Hecate, and her polar opposite, the Upside-Down Man. She, however, banished him and created a barrier to keep him from the multiverse for it to prosper.
Hecate would traverse these realities and spread the gift of magic, hoping her recipients would do good with it, giving rise to Greek gods, Egyptian gods, angels and so on. Thanks to her essence, which would fittingly be called the Sphere of the Gods, these gods would eventually compete to win her heart, and as eons rolled by, Hecate's legend would be adjusted for each culture. In time, the Greeks would win and she'd become their goddess of magic when she decided to wed Hades. Sadly, as mankind began to worship her more and more, with their knowledge of magic increasing, they'd capture Hecate and use her to strengthen their own power. They didn't want to worship gods anymore, but they still coveted their power.
This is where it gets tricky, because their actions kickstarted a darker age of magic. While in captivity, Hades came to Hecate, but instead of freeing her from man's grip, he told her he'd moved on to Persephone, taking her as his bride and leaving his fiancé to rot.
Spurned, Hecate would reach into the Otherkind's world and pull dark magic from it, giving it to mankind to tear the universe apart. They didn't steal it as initially implied, Hecate brought it over so they could use it to go to war with the various pantheons of gods. Hecate weaponized mankind and in the process, she became an evil being known as the Crone, taking away the purity of magic as we know it.
This dirty magic is what the likes of Giovanni Zatara, Nabu, Nanda Parbat, Rama Kushna, the Spectre and so many other supernatural entities would try to purify in order to keep the Otherkind away. They were simply making up for Hecate's vengeful ways, her tainting of magic so that the universe could eat itself inside out, all so she would selfishly get a second chance at reshaping it.
Of course, she still wanted to keep the Otherkind out of the DCU, but she didn't realize that by borrowing the Otherkind's darkness, she'd leave an opening for an empowered Wonder Woman to use the Upside-Down Man to kill her in the event's finale.
With fans now knowing that magic is responsible for godhood and tied to the spark of creation in a big way, it remains to be seen exactly how The Witching Hour's consequences will ripple through the DCU. While Wonder Woman may have eked out a victory over the bitter god, as Zatanna reveals, it still feels like a lot more damage has been done than first assumed, leaving the door open to even more potentially game-changing revelations in the months ahead.