Circe has relatively few golden age and silver age appearances. Her first appearance as the same persona from myth but living on a remote planet is not concerned canonical. Instead it was George Perez who did so much to revise the character, and she mostly falls in line with traditional Greek myth except with a few small differences. Born a princess of Colchis, Circe was raised to be a proper woman of the times, but wanted more. A devotee of the goddess Hecate, when Circe was forced to wed, she killed her weak willed husband. Banished from her homeland, Circe fled to Aeaea, where she could work her magics. Unfortunately, she found the island to be the limit of her mystical skills, and so began using the Sirens to lure people in to practice her beastimorphism. But it wasn't enough for the former princess, and Circe prayed to Hecate for retribution. Her prayer was answered, but not as she expected. Hecate came to her and offered a deal. Circe wanted retribution on men, but Hecate had been wronged by both sexes. Circe would then become the divine instrument of Hecate's justice. But Hecate's last words were a cryptic prophecy. "Upon the death of a witch and the birth of a witch, Hecate by name, and choice, shall reclaim her soul." The new, gloriously reborn Circe was unconcerned. Hecate was dead, burned alive with Circe's mortal soul in the light of Hecate's Moon. In a single bloody night, Circe returned to her former home and killed the insurgents, and took those who pleased her to her island to continue the practice of beastimorphismThose who disobeyed her were transformed into prey for her pets. Circe's presence caused panic and paranoia. Every man feared that any woman he knew could be the Witch on the Island. Man used brute strength, while woman used sex itself as a weapon.
It was into this maelstrom that the Amazons were born. Circe was worried their peaceful message would put an end to her schemes, but Ares reassured her that he would easily destroy them. When the Amazons were ravaged by Heracles and Theseus, Antiope led a rag tag group of Amazon rebels to destroy them, against the will of the Gods. But the unexpected happened, and Theseus repented and threw himself at Antiope's mercy. First a war prisoner, Theseus soon became her husband. It was a chance for peace that Circe couldn't allow, and so in the dead of night, under Hecate's moon, Ariadne was plucked from the island where she had been abandoned by Theseus and placed in the Queen's own bedchamber. Circe had no spell to still their happy hearts, but all it needed was a sharp dagger. Antiope was dead. Her daughter Pythia fled with her youngest brother, leading a fight against Theseus and his men. Who knew she'd become an Amazon martyr and lead that rag tag group of Amazons to Egypt, where they would become the Bana Mighdall?
Over the centuries, Circe withdrew from the modern world, content to manipulate things from her island. People forgot about the Witch on the Island, and Circe was fine with that. Until the Amazon princess known as Diana came into the world and began spreading her message of peace. And Hecate's prophecy rang in Circe's ears, warning her that this new witch was before her. Hecate had many names, as a goddess of the moon. Pythia, Selene... and Diana. Convinced that Diana would usurp her power, Circe set to turn the Amazon's champion once more into the clay from which she was birthed, but was thwarted by the combined efforts of a group of island rebels, led by Diana's friend Julia Kapatelis. Diana's life was saved, and she stopped Julia from killing Circe, only to watch in confusion as Circe and her fortress were teleported away by an unknown figure, later revealed to be the God, Hermes.
During the War of the Gods, Circe's biggest plan was enacted. Wishing to kill Gaea, the Goddess of Earth and mother of the Gods, the Witch realized that Wonder Woman might interfere with her plans. Circe transported her to New Olympus where she was to fight Captain Marvel, Zeus' Champion. Convincing the Gods they would receive far more power by splitting themselves into their Roman and Greek counterparts, Circe effectively halved the strength of the Gods of Olympus.
With Wonder Woman and other heroes, Black Adam arranged for the Suicide Squad to attack Circe's fortress. Circe's spells had failed, however, as Klarion the Witch Boy managed to disrupt them. All was not lost, as Circe was able to revert Diana to clay at last. Olympus then appears next to Earth where it is being threatened. Reasoning with the Gods, Earth's heroes revealed the Sorceress' treachery and exposed her as the snake she truly was. Returned to life, Wonder Woman was shocked to realize the losses the Gods suffered, including that of her one time romantic interest, the Lord Hermes, and the Goddess of Discord, Eris.
Seeking to hide from the world, Circe subsumed her divine presence and personality into the form of a mortal woman, Donna Milton. Hoping to force Diana to kill her, thus taking away Diana's innocence and making her just like Circe, Donna again and again revealed to the Amazon, unconsciously, that she was the Goddess in mortal form.
During this time, Donna Milton began an affair with a man secretly possessed by Ares, and became pregnant. Diana helped to deliver the child, and the child was named Hippolyta after Diana's mother, but was called Lyta for short.
During this time, Diana had come up against an incredibly powerful foe, the White Magician. Sensing Diana's need, Circe unmasked herself to save Diana, and before leaving, revealed that Diana was indeed her true friend. This would later appear to be undone, a fragment of Donna Milton asserting control over the Goddess. She would come to revile Wonder Woman that much more, for making her be... good.
One Year Later, Circe is Goddess of Hell along side Lord God Ares. Given dominion over the demi-God, Hercules (as he's now known in comics), Circe convinces him to join her and rebuild Olympus as the new King and Queen of the mountain of the Gods. Circe powers up Wonder Woman’s enemies, Giganta, Doctor Psycho and Cheetah. They capture Donna Troy, who is acting as Wonder Woman in Diana's absence, and also Wonder Girl. There Diana Prince and Nemesis attempt to rescue them. Circe betrays Hercules, who had sought to take Diana as his own. Casting a new spell, Circe takes the powers of all the Champions of Olympus, proclaiming herself the new Wonder Woman.
Diana Prince, Donna Troy, Cassie Sandsmark and Hercules are all left powerless as Circe goes on a warped and twisted search for justice, slaughtering slave traders, pimps and abusers of women. While this frees thousands, it leaves many more dead. She then claims that in one night as Wonder Woman, she's done more for the plight of women than Diana has in all her time. Meanwhile, Diana and Hercules infiltrate Circe's base but she soon attacks them. As Circe is about to kill Diana, Hercules tackles her and threatens her with her sickle. He reveals his plan to take over the gods and steal their power. He then orders Circe to transfer to power to him. Circe explains that she needs to transfer the power to Diana before she can give Hercules the power, a bit of trickery on the Goddess' part. With her powers returned, Diana launches into an all out assault on Hercules, and Circe both, disabling them. Circe's parting gift to Diana is to make her a mortal woman in the form of Diana Prince, rendering her powerless until she transforms into Wonder Woman.
But Circe was not defeated. Using her Godly contacts, Circe returns to the Underworld and brings Hippolyta back to life as a thrall under Circe's control. Using Hippolyta to use the Amazons, Circe has a minion pose as Sarge Steel and lead an all out attack on Wonder Woman, capturing her for the murder of Max Lord, which she had already been cleared of in the World Court.
With the Amazon Princess in danger, the mind controlled Hippolyta leads the Amazon nation in an all out assault on US soil, destroying Washington, DC and causing the death of thousands. Stabbed by the Amazon Queen during a confrontation with Diana, Circe is believed to be dead, but reveals only a short time later that she's alive and well, indeed. Circe was last seen being grabbed by the goddess Athena in punishment for her crimes. Athena has since been revealed to have been replaced by Granny Goodness, so Circe's fate is unknown.
In the world of Flashpoint, Circe appears to have once having had more friendly connections with the Amazons once, but was later deemed a threat of some kind as Circe appears trapped in the Antarctic to Tracy-13, who sought her out as the High Priestess of her Tarot Cards.
The New 52: Men of War
Circe appeared early on in the New 52 in the pages of Men of War during a bizarre meeting with Sergeant Rock, where she warns him against getting involved in the affair of higher powers before she sends him back to Earth, having spoken to him in the upper atmosphere, leaving him confused and sitting in a transport plane, with no one having noticed anything odd.
This new version of Circe appears less concerned with the affairs of mortals as long as they don't bother her, but she is willing to take action if she needs to. Visually Circe appeared as a young woman with white skin, red hair and only covered herself in a piece of cloth that hid the exotic bits on its own.
Much like the character of ancient myth, Circe's pursuit of power is often not well explained. However, there have been a few key character developments over the course of her publication history, among them the birth of her daughter Lyta. Before her incorporation into being a major Wonder Woman enemy in the 1970s, her depiction was generally more tied to that of myth. Thus while she appeared in golden age Wonder Woman comics as well as other random encounters (for instance Rip Hunter battled her in the pages of Showcase) the modern character comes from a later period.
Significant Personal Relationships
They've been enemies for a long time. For a time, when she sublimated her true personality in favor of a fake one, she thought her name was Donna Milton and she and Diana were friends. Since then, their relationship has not been quite so clear-cut. In the Who is Wonder Woman storyline, she took drastic action to make Diana see that she was not being truly effective in her mission.
Her daughter, by Aries.
Her patron goddess.
Circe is actually something of a cult personality in many cases. She's cultivated a wide variety of followers over the years, many of which live to regret putting their trust in her.
The Changelings of Aeaea
She kept a large following of people who she gave the ability to transform into animal like wear-beasts. Her magic held them in her sway to a degree, and they followed her largely out of fear.
The Amazons of Bana-Mighdall
She used them in the War of the Gods storyline.
(in JLA Secret Files and Origins #4, Nov 2004)
She used a pair of lesser skilled witches to help her retrieve the spear of destiny.
Circe has often used various super-villains to assist her in her plans, usually female ones.
Here a partial listing of them:
Ariadne of Knossos
((in Wonder Woman #19, Aug 1988, Wonder Woman #168, 169, and Wonder Woman: Our Worlds at War #1, May-Oct 2001)
A woman she used in ancient times who she resurrected to stir up trouble on Themyscira in the present.
- Aeaea: The island in Greece that she's made her home since ancient times.
Circe's first appearance was in the golden age, in the first volume of Wonder Woman. After this she went completely unused for almost 40 years before appearing just before Crisis on Infinite Earths. Her popularity as a for of Wonder Woman comes from the post-Crisis reboot of the Wonder Woman title and the subsequent reinterpretation by George Perez.
Powers & Abilities
Circe is an high level witch, her sorcery allows her to manipulate reality through incantations and spells. As a goddess level sorceress she is granted with ageless immortality. Her most known and main feat was to turn objects and people alike into various sorts of animals. With her ability to seduce others with her natural charms and beauty, Circe is an excellent master manipulator. 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. When she received Wonder Woman's powers, she wielded the lasso of truth added by athame she carried. Her strength and durability greatly increased due to the power boost she obtained, though this was only temporary as Wonder Woman received them back.
- 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 : (formerly) 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 : (formerly) Her durability was greatly increased due to the power boost she obtained, though this was only temporary as Wonder Woman received them back.
- Charisma : She has the ability to seduce others with her natural charm.
- Alchemy: She can create potions to transform individuals or for granting power comparable to the gods.
- Holly: The herb disrupts Circe's magic.
- Immortality Immunity: She is unable to use some of her more basic magics on immortals. Instead she must plot and plan different strategies to affect immortals such as Wonder Woman and other gods in creative and indirect ways.
A character very similar to Circe appeared in "Superman and Wonder Woman vs. The Sorceress of Time", an episode of 1988's Superman animated series.
Justice League Unlimited
In JLU, Circe makes her first appearance in "This Little Piggy". She encounters Batman and Wonder Woman. IN the middle of the fight, Circe turns Diana into a pig. The motivation behind her transforming Diana lies in the distant past where Circe had come into Diana's mother; Hippolyta and as a result was condemned to Tartarus for her habit of transforming innocents into animals, revealing that she is the same Circe that Odysseus met. Circe reveals after subduing the duo that she was on parole due to 'space issues' in Tartarus and that it was granted on the condition she stayed away from Hippolyta, leaving her to take revenge on Diana instead.
Batman recruits several league members including Red Tornado, Crimson Avenger, Elongated Man, Bwana Beast, and Zatanna to help find her. Zatanna takes Batman to a pawn shop, and performs a spell that fails. She also takes Bruce to Tartarus for Medusa's help to locate Circe, who shared a cell with her and borrowed her curling iron. Once they find Circe, she only agrees to change Diana back into a human if Bruce performs a song for her. Batman agrees to sing "I'm Blue", and Diana is changed back. Both Circe and Zatanna get teary-eyed over Bruce's singing.
Medusa also reveals that Circe is wickedly jealous at the Sirens and their singing voices, meaning she has spent a good deal of her time out of Tartarus in an establishment in an old amphitheatre where she gives performances for a slightly reluctant audience.
Circe is voiced by Rachel York.
DC Universe Online
Circe is an important NPC (Non-Player Character) in Sony's upcoming role-playing game, DC Universe Online. She will mentor player character villains who have a magical origin, making her the direct opposite of Wonder Woman, who performs the same function for the heroes.
With all the clues and bits of information fund throughout the game, it is revealed that Circe is ultimately behind Atlantis' invasion of Metropolis, while her own beastimorphs battle the Amazons in other sections of the city. The self-proclaimed goddess' ultimate plan in the game is to raise the demon Trigon with the aid of Brother Blood from the depths of Hell before she would turn on him and usurp his power for her own. However, to Circe's annoyance, her plans still depends on Raven, Trigons daughter, doing what Trigon intended, something the young empath has fought her entire life to prevent, subsequently having earned Circe's ire as well for disrupting her plans.