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Wednesday, May 15, 2024 

Tom King thinks WW should be a "rebel", as if that never happened before

Newsarama interviewed the terrible Tom King about his current work on Wonder Woman, another title DC's editorial tragically gave him the keys to after all the poor exploitation he performed on many other creations of theirs. Predictably, the interviewer gushes and gushes galore, beginning with the following:
Wonder Woman relaunched last year with a new #1 under the all-new creative team of writer Tom King and artist Daniel Sampere. To say it has proved to be a bold new start for the Amazing Amazon is an understatement. The series kicks off with a woman - soon revealed to be one of the Amazons - protecting herself against a gang of violent bigots. This act of self-defence quickly sparks a political crisis which has seen tensions between the United States and Themyscira escalate to a disastrous degree. Meanwhile, a new villain, the ultra-traditionalist Sovereign, intends to bend Wonder Woman to his will.
What's really atrocious about this run is that it's a left-wing metaphor for opposition to illegal immigration, with the most stupefying part being the Amazons and Themyscira are used as stand-ins for the illegal aliens, or worse, for Islamic countries. But, that's pretty much how leftism seems to work these days.
Newsarama: Tom, we're here primarily to talk about Wonder Woman #9, which is a really interesting and different sort of issue. What can you tease about it?

Tom King: The latest arc, 'Sacrifice,' is basically the three trials of Wonder Woman as the Sovereign tries to break her in three different ways. In the first issue (#8) he tries to break her using the rope, trying to get her to believe these things about herself that aren't true. And then with this issue he tries another method, which is isolation. Wonder Woman is a social creature, she's not a loner like Clark and Bruce. And Sovereign takes all of that away from her, so she has to find a way to fight and endure that.
This is, quite honestly, a groaner. He makes it sound like Superman and Batman have literally no social life, even though Clark Kent's spent plenty of time in past decades with ladies like Lois Lane, to say nothing of Lana Lang and even the mermaid Lori Lemaris. While Bruce Wayne had affairs with women like Silver St. Cloud, Vicky Vale and even Catwoman. It can certainly be said Superman's far more open and social sans the glasses than Batman is under the cowl. All King's made clear is that, despite his claims to the contrary, he hasn't a clue how any of the older superhero creations were written in the past, nor does he care.
You mentioned Sovereign a minute ago, and he's proving to be a really interesting villain. Where did he come from?

I was looking for what makes Diana different than Clark and Bruce. When people describe Wonder Woman, all of the adjectives they use could also describe Superman or Batman: she never gives up, she's good, she loves her friends. So what differentiates her? I think the fact that it's difficult to come up with that is one of the reasons Wonder Woman is both hard to write and it's sometimes been hard for the audience to kind of grip onto her.

What differentiated her to me, in thinking about it, was: Batman enforces the law. His best friend is literally the police commissioner! And Superman, you can say so many things about Superman, but there's something wholesome and conformist about him. There's something in him that's status quo, in a good way, in a way I kind of love. He wants that wholesome Kansas vision of his parents to be spread out. It's one of love and empathy, but it's about keeping things the same.

Wonder Woman, she's the rebel. That's not what she wants. She wants change. She wants to go against the system, as opposed to enforcing and reinforcing it. And that's where I was like, "I need Wonder Woman to be a rebel, I need her to be against the systems that are in place now." And - stealing from Stan Lee's Hulk - the greatest thing to rebel against sometimes is the United States. And that's sort of where Sovereign came from and the idea that there's this secret king of America who subscribes to a very backwards view of how women should be, and how his empire should be, and how power should be restricted to one man and one family, and having her say, "No, there is another way." That's where Sovereign comes from.
He may not actually say it, but I've got a bad feeling the Sovereign is a metaphor for - surprise, surprise - Donald Trump. For now, this is hopelessly silly how King makes it sound like WW shouldn't enforce the law like Batman and Superman do. And rebelling against the USA? Seriously, that's just so cheap, and it's not hard to guess King must believe the best values of the USA are so worthless, they have to be "rebelled" against, which translates to more like opposed. What's so wrong with the USA that isn't so wrong with how Iran is being run, for example? The interviewer goes on:
He feels like a very relevant villain right now. There's been a resurgence, particularly online, of people expressing these hard line attitudes. Were you surprised by how timely he has proven to be?

I think the thing that most surprises me is people saying "Stop mocking me!" or associating themselves with Sovereign. I always want to say to people, "You're not the bad guy! This is not you. You are not the evil version, you can be the good guy here."

I was half raised by my grandmother - a wonderful human being with very traditional values. She would be on Wonder Woman's side in this!

Sovereign is a radical. He's as bad as Lex Luthor and the Joker. He's the bad guy. Don't associate yourself with him! Have confidence that your values are better than his. I'm not yelling at anyone with this villain, just like if you're a realtor you shouldn't be mad at Lex Luthor. Maybe you're a good realtor! You don't have to be Lex Luthor.
Gee, that's pretty rich coming from somebody who tries to associate WW with illegal immigrants for political purposes, much like the MSM tried to lump Superman in with the same. Exploiting other people's science-fantasy creations for real-life agendas that don't work the same way science-fiction and surrealism do. That's reprehensible. And then, near the end:
As you just hinted at the Absolute Power event is coming up. What's it like for you as a writer on an ongoing series when these big, line-wide events happen?

It can be awesome. One of my favourite issues I've ever written in my life - and one that had a huge impact on my life - was I did a Green Lantern issue for The Darkseid War crossover, that Geoff Johns wrote, with Doc Shaner and I. It was just a single issue and you know Geoff's like, "You have to do this and this and this." And yet, in that space, we were able to tell what I consider to be one of my best single issues. It's fun to be in that space, because you can really run there. You can do what Alan Moore did when he was given Crisis and Swamp Thing. You can make beautiful gold out of the thing.

When I was on Batman I got to be fairly isolated from all that. We had The Button crossover, but basically not much. When I started Wonder Woman they were like, "Tom, do you want us to isolate you?" And I literally said to them, "No! I want this to be old school. I want this to be like when I was reading Avengers and Inferno happened and then Acts of Vengeance happened. I want to be like Walt Simonson and make something awesome out of it."
Anybody who's going to speak so lovingly about working with a writer as awful as Johns is has no business telling us he wants to be like Simonson, a far better writer/artist than any of them will ever be when he was younger. Another clue what's wrong with King, and the company he keeps.

And didn't WW rebel against her mother's wishes in the pre- and/or post-Crisis origins, when the Themysciran queen was against Diana becoming a fighter against evil forces? So it's not like it wasn't done before. All King cares about is concocting stealth propaganda demeaning to the USA. Once again, Marie Javins, as successor to the equally awful Dan DiDio, has done a terrible disservice to the classic creations in DC's stables.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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