|First appearance||More Fun Comics #55 (1940)|
|Created by||Gardner Fox
Wotan is a fictional character in stories published by DC Comics, a supervillain who is the archenemy of the mystical superhero Doctor Fate. Wotan first appeared in 1940 and has featured in a number of storylines, and has been adapted for two animated television series.
Fictional character biography
The being now known as Wotan started out life as a Stone Age woman who was raped (by someone claiming to be a servant of God). She studied the black arts and became such a powerful sorceress that she was worshiped as a goddess. She later learned how to switch from body to body and then to direct her own reincarnation, eventually becoming the male being now known as Wotan. In the Golden Age, Wotan encountered first Green Lantern and then the sorcerer known as Dr. Fate, and became Dr. Fate's nemesis. At one point he was pulled back in time with other JSA enemies by the time-traveller Per Degaton to assist in capturing the JSA and stop them from interfering in his attempt to change the events of Pearl Harbor, as part of a plan to conquer the World. He was told he could deal with Doctor Fate. Wotan uses his magic aura to hold the JSA captive in caves beneath an island, however the All-Star Squadron getting involved means the plan fails. When the Spectre is released from the aura and frees the other members, Per Degaton goes back in time, thus erasing everybody's memories of this event, and returning them to their proper places.
During the second volume of The Spectre in the eighties, he tried to take over the body of the sorceress Zatanna, but failed miserably. Later on, in the early nineties, Wotan discovered the temple where the last body of the being known as Yahweh - God Himself - lay entombed, still seething with mystical power. Wotan entered the tower with the intention of absorbing the power in that body, confronting God himself, and supplanting Him. But he then emerged blinded, his evil having been burned out by God's power. Declaring that Wotan would never menace anybody again, one of Yahweh's servants spirited Wotan away so that he could begin his new life.
Physically, Wotan was a tall man with a slender build and green skin. He had black hair and purple eyes. He dressed in a red costume with a green cape and green boots.
Wotan was introduced into The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe) in issue #9 of Earth 2. Appearing once again as a woman, Wotan is "the mage of an organization that seeks to augment its control of magic in the world."
She is portrayed as an ancient sorcerer who started life as a female Viking and later mastered the arts of sorcery having lived several lifetimes with altered genders. An encounter with Nabu the Wise left her skin forever green and unable to enter the Tower of Fate which held the helmet he/she desperately sought after.
Powers and abilities
Wotan is a master sorcerer and a brilliant scientist who has created technological wonders that are far in advance of 20th century science. Through centuries of study, Wotan has mastered the black art of sorcery, becoming powerful enough to challenge even Doctor Fate. Wotan can project powerful bolts of mystical force, fly, travel between dimensions, change shape and cast a wide range of spells. His magical aura was able to hold the JSA and All-Star Squadron, even Superman and the Spectre were unable to break loose without outside help. He can absorb the souls and powers of other beings, transfer his soul into other bodies, and even direct the course of his own reincarnation.
In other media
- Wotan appeared in the 1970s Wonder Woman series in the episode Last of the Two Dollar Bills. In the episode he is portrayed as a Nazi.
- Wotan appeared in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Eyes of Despero!" voiced by James Arnold Taylor. He attempted to break into the Library of Infinity, only to be stopped by Doctor Fate and Batman.
- Wotan is featured in Young Justice voiced by Bruce Greenwood. In "Independence Day," Zatara contacts the League telling them that Wotan is planning to blot out the sun with a mystical amulet. In "Revelation," Wotan appears as a member of the Injustice League. In "Misplaced", Wotan is recruited by Klarion the Witch Boy into a group including Felix Faust, Blackbriar Thorn, and Wizard in order to create a spell on Roanoke Island which made it look like all the adults in the world had vanished.
- Who's Who:The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, volume 26
- Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe Update '88, volume 4
- Who's Who in the DC Universe 1990, #1(This last is the first Who's Who issue to reveal Wotan's full origin for the first time.)