Wonder Woman writer Tom King revealed he fundamentally does not understand the character of Wonder Woman as he claims that her wanting peace, but waging war is somehow a contradiction.
In an interview with ComicBook Nation back in March, King was asked by host Matt Aguilar, “From the character perspective, what stands out to you about Wonder Woman, Diana as a character? And what do you hope to bring to the forefront in this series?”
King responded by honestly revealing he primarily writes deconstructions of DC characters, but claims he’s not doing that with Wonder Woman.
He said, “I kind of write two kinds of comics if you follow my career. I write these kind of deconstruction, kind of sad dude looking out a window comics, which I love. Things like Mister Miracle, Human Target, Vision, which are like deconstructions of superheroes. I’m sort of taking them apart, putting them together, looking at what makes them tick, and having sort of fun at the same time.”
“And then I’ve written things like Superman: Up In The Sky, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, which are not that. I mean they deal with trauma, they’re huge, big stories. They’re epic. They have ups and down, but the point of those stories is to say: This character is almost perfect, is wonderful, and has such strength in them that comes from a legacy of being, you know, in all this media and having all these writers.”
He then revealed his goal for his Wonder Woman series, “And my goal as an artist, as a writer is to show you how awesome they are. And so that’s what Wonder Woman is. It’s not a deconstruction. I’m not tearing her apart and seeing how sad I can make her even in a way I did to Batman.”
“The point of this book is to show you how awesome Wonder Woman is,” he continued. “It is to show you someone who fights for peace. It’s to show you someone who is a rebel against the system. This is to put the highlight on a character who doesn’t needs to be fixed. So that’s the intention of the book.”
“Sometimes Wonder Woman can fall out of the Trinity. I think people go to Batman and Superman first, and I wanted to– She deserves to stand up there because I remember my daughter dressing up as Wonder Woman three years in a row, and what it meant for her to like ask for a lasso. And my wife and I buying a rope and like painting it. I want her to be worthy of sort of what my daughter sees in her. That’s my goal,” he declared.
King then revealed he fundamentally does not understand the character and thus will likely never attain the goal, “As for like who she is as a character, I mean she’s a contradiction. That’s the hard about it. The hard part about writing her is that she’s almost radical in sort of her belief in love, compassion, and peace. Much more so than sort of Superman and Batman.
He continued, “But she’s also, you know, a warrior born. She’s someone who comes from a society involved in sort of an endless conflict who trains you to fight. She comes from sort of that Game of Thrones atmosphere.”
“And those two contradictions live inside of her. She’s someone who wants peace, but makes war. And her having to deal with that makes her one of the more interesting characters in fiction,” he answered.
Wanting peace and waging war in order to achieve it is not a contradiction. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops explain in The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response that St. Augustine viewed war “in some cases at least, to restrain evil and protect the innocent. The classic case which illustrated his view was the use of lethal force to prevent aggression against innocent victims. Faced with the fact of attack on the innocent, the presumption that we do no harm, even to our enemy, yielded to the command of love understood as the need to restrain an enemy who would injure the innocent.”
The document goes on to explain that recourse to war is permissible “only to confront ‘a real and certain danger’ i.e., to protect innocent life, to preserve conditions necessary for decent human existence, and to basic human rights. As both Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII made clear, if war of retribution was ever justifiable, the risks of modern war negate such a claim today.”
Thus Diana’s belief in “love, compassion, and peace” actually coincides with her being a warrior and waging war on those who put the lives of innocents at risk.
Later in the interview, King would elaborate on his view of Wonder Woman being a rebel, “Wonder Woman is more rebellious than that. Wonder Woman is not with the system. She’s not trying to enforce the system. She’s against the system. She’s rebellious. She’s iconoclastic. And I wanted to bring that in her.”
He elaborated, “So in this she has sort of- She’s not with the government, she’s against the government, which I think in sort of our modern times, a lot of us have had the sort of instinct that there are great injustices happening with the people in power and I wanted Wonder Woman to be the person who stands against that, absolutely.”
The first issue of the series is expected to arrive in September. The official description sounds like it’s an illegal immigration allegory. It states, “After a mysterious Amazonian is accused of mass murder, Congress passes the Amazon Safety Act, barring all Amazons from U.S. soil. To carry out their plans, the government starts a task force, the Amazon Extradition Entity (A.X.E.), to remove those who don’t comply, by any means necessary.”
It concludes, “Now, in her search for the truth behind the killing, Wonder Woman finds herself an outlaw in the world she once swore to protect!”
What do you make of Tom King’s comments about Wonder Woman and claiming that wanting peace and waging war to ensure it is a contradiction?