As we move ever closer to the August release of DC’s Suicide Squad, it’s time to delve into the history of one of the Squad’s most mysterious and disturbing members- Enchantress. Enchantress’ presence in this film is fascinating for a number of reasons. One, she is one of oddest of all of DC’s many characters, and two, Enchantress’ inclusion means that the world of DC magic will soon become a part of the DC film universe, a fact that open the doors for many magical DC icons as DC films rolls ever forward. So before actor Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress steps on the screen in Suicide Squad, let us turn back the pages of time and examine answer the question currently scratching at your currently uninformed mind: who is the Enchantress?
She Cast a Spell on Me
Enchantress first appeared in Strange Adventures #187 and was created by Bob Haney and Howard Purcell. Back in the halcyon days of 1966 Strange Adventures was, along with Mystery in Space, one of DC’s premiere sci-fi anthologies. So right away, Enchantress was a bit of an anomaly. She probably would have been more at home in House of Mystery or House of Secrets, but there she was, casting her strange spell in a comic usually reserved for atomic age flying saucers and strange aliens.
DC billed Enchantress as the Witcheroo Switcheroo, and if that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what to tell you. As for her origin, Enchantress was once freelance artist June Moone (God, I love that name, just say it out loud a few times- one of life’s rare pleasures- June Moone , June Moone, June Moone).
One night, June Moone (Ahhhh) attends a costume party in a strange castle and runs across a strange magical being named Dzamor. Dzamor grants her the power to fight evil when she says the name “Enchantress.” Of course, Enchantress’ transformation was similar to that of Shazam which gave this new Haney creation more than a bit of classic nostalgia. Enchantress was also a stunning visual. Designed by Howard Purcell, Enchantress wore a pointy green witch’s hat and a flowing gown. Enchantress definitely stood out amongst the superhero past.
There was more than a bit of symbolic sexual awakening to the character. Moone was a shy young lady, unassuming and blond, but when she shouted “Enchantress,” all of a sudden, Moone was transformed into a sultry, voluptuous, raven-tressed, Vampirella-like force of nature.
Enchantress possessed a unique design and during this time, DC was not publishing many books featuring female leads. Beyond Supergirl, Lois Lane, and Wonder Woman, DC, like all comic companies of that era, was a boys’ club so Enchantress could have been a welcome addition to DC’s pantheon. Alas, it was not to be. After three issues of Strange Adventures, Enchantress was replaced by Deadman and before you could say “Witcheroo Switcheroo,” Enchantress was gone.
Enchantress only appeared twice in the 70s. In Adventure Comics #417 and #419 (1972), DC reprinted June Moone’s first two Strange Adventure appearances. In seemed that the Witcheroo Switcheroo was not forgotten by DC, but she was darn close. Enchantress may have been one of DC’s strangest heroines, but she was also the most elusive, and when she would next appear, June Moone was no longer on the side of the angels.
In Superman Family #204-205 (1980-1981), Supergirl must fight a suddenly misguided and somewhat twisted Enchantress in order to prevent the witch from casting a spell that will wipe out all super-powers on Earth. Enchantress believes that this spell will end all crime and injustice. In these issues, Moone is no longer an artist, she is a parapsychology professor and both her identities have become rather looney tunes. When Supergirl stops the witch’s plan, Enchantress becomes Supergirl’s sworn enemy and hopefully, this could mean we might see some version of Enchantress on the Supergirl TV series someday.
Supergirl and Enchantress clash once again in the next issue where Supergirl figures out Moone and Enchantress are one in the same. Both these issue were written by Jack C. Harris and drawn by Win Mortimer. It’s funny; the issues are fun but a bit forgettable, but the fact that Harris and Mortimer gave Enchantress an evil edge set the character on the path to joining the Suicide Squad and eventually, to making her film debut in 2016.
But the Suicide Squad wasn’t on the horizon for June Moone just yet. In DC Comics Presents #77 and 78 (1985), Marv Wolfman and Curt Swan had Enchantress join a team of evildoers called the Forgotten Villains. Here, Enchantress took on Superman and the Forgotten Heroes. This villainous team was made up of Mister Poseidon, Faceless Hunter, Atom-Master, Kraklow, and Ultivac, along with Enchantress, and if you don’t remember any of these esoteric doers of evil, well, that’s kind of the point, innit?
It’s funny; we mentioned that writer Jack C. Harris was responsible for Enchantress’ evil turn, but the scribe almost returned the witch to her heroic beginnings. According to the writer, around 1980, Harris wanted to kick off a new title starring a new, all-female team of superheroes.
The team would have consisted of Supergirl, Batgirl, Vixen, and our witch of the hour, Enchantress. This new title, known as The Power Squad, was turned down by DC, but if it was green-lit, who knows; perhaps the villainous Enchantress would never have gained traction and another twisted female character would have been included in the Suicide Squad. You can read all about the Power Squad right here http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/8430624092/powersquad, on the great DC Women Kicking Ass Tumbler page.
The Power Squad was not meant to be, so when DC was casting villains for its new Suicide Squad title, June Moone was ready for her greatest adventure yet. It’s funny; most of the members of the Squad had a military bent. From Rick Flag, to Deadshot, to even Captain Boomerang, most of Amanda Waller’s Squaddies were pretty grounded, so it was unexpected and brave for writer John Ostrander to include the magical and almost forgotten Enchantress.
By including Moone, Ostrander and DC opened the Squad to any and all magical DC characters and concepts. When the Squad was first introduced to the world in the pages of Legends and Secret Origins (both by Ostrander), Enchantress was front and center on the Squad’s first mission. There she was at her femme fatale best as Ostrander enjoyed playing up this wicked anti-hero’s more sultry qualities. On the Squad’s first mission in its monthly book (1987), Enchantress was able to take down the gargantuan Brimstone. Unfortunately after the battle, Moone also lost control of her other half because of this expenditure of power, and Enchantress became even more of a wicked witch.
The most significant event that happened to Moone as part of the Squad was the discovery that Enchantress wasn’t her alter ego. Nope, the green-clad spellbinder was actually a whole other entity bonded with Moone. This led to a struggle for control of Moone’s psyche as the Enchantress entity became harder and harder to control. Things got so bad that Deadshot agreed to put a bullet in Enchantress’ skull if Moone lost control completely. One has to wonder if this little disturbing dynamic will be played out in the upcoming film.
All this drama led to the separation of Moone and Enchantress by an entity known as Incubus. By issue sixteen of Ostrander’s Suicide Squad, Enchantress was no longer a part of Waller’s team of rogues. Once again, fans would have to wait over a decade to see the Enchantress again, but these appearances as a member of the Squad solidified Enchantress in Suicide Squad lore.
Judgment, Baptism, and Vengeance
It wouldn’t be until 2005 that fans saw Moone again. In the pages of 2005’s “Day of Judgment” (written by Fables creator Bill Willingham, by the by), it is revealed that Moone has been locked up in the Ostrander Mental Institute (because awesome). Enchantress is needed by a team of supernatural DC heroes to save the world. The heroes free Enchantress from her demonic prison and she actually ends up sacrificing her life to save reality. Through mystical means, Enchantress is brought back and reunited with Moone and in 2016, she joins the supernatural team known as Shadowpact.
It seems that through the aborted Power Squad, the Suicide Squad and Shadowpact, DC has been longing to make Enchantress a team player for quite some time. Enchantress stayed a member of Shadowpact throughout the team’s run and struck up a deep friendship with other weird DC heroes such as Nightmaster and Ragman.
Flashpoint and Beyond
One last note: Enchantress took part in DC’s “Flashpoint” event. In this alternate reality she was a member of team known as the Secret Seven (another team!) where she was revealed to be a traitor to the heroes of this dystopian reality. She actually killed Captain Thunder (Flashpoint’s version of Shazam) and was killed in turn by an emaciated, frightened alien named Kal-El. Hey, it was a brief appearance in “Flashpoint” for Enchantress, but it was memorable.
When the New 52 kicked off, Enchantress was indeed shunted over into the new DC Universe. In 2011, Enchantress was one of the first foes that the Justice League Dark faced and defeated. This team of supernatural heroes had to fight Enchantress after she was forcibly separated from Moone and driven insane.
So this begs the question, which Enchantress will appear on the big screen? Will it be the New 52 witch who was mentally unstable and frighteningly powerful, or will it be the loyal anti-hero seen in her first appearances and in Shadowpact. Or perhaps it will be wild card Enchantress that made things so interesting in the first sixteen issues of Suicide Squad. Whatever the case, this once forgotten DC witch will soon cast a spell on the world when she makes her film debut.