Diana of Themyscira has been exiled from her homeland since the early days of DC's Rebirth, but since taking over the series with Wonder Woman #58 in November, writer G. Willow Wilson has emphasized and amplified the Diana's status, not just as an Amazon warrior, but as an immigrant and refugee.
In the aftermath of "The Just War" story arc, Wonder Woman has strong reason to believe her mother, Queen Hippolyta, is in great danger, and that Themyscira itself may be under threat -- and yet Diana is powerless to act. Wonder Woman #63 and #64, both of which can be purchased wherever comics are sold, take very different approaches to Diana's plight, and that of her fellow Olympians.
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In #63, illustrated by Emanuela Lupacchino, Wonder Woman helps a group of eccentric minor gods trying to build a new life in America; it's a funny, lighthearted story, but one with a powerful message about the treatment of refugees. Then, in #64, illustrated by Jesus Merino, Diana finds that one of her most cunning enemies has vital information about the fate of Themyscira.
CBR spoke with Wilson about the new storyline, mixing the mundane world with high fantasy, and what it means for Wonder Woman, specifically, to lose her homeland.
CBR: Ever since DC's Rebirth universe started a few years ago, the Wonder Woman series has been increasingly about the idea of Diana as an exile and immigrant. Has your own experience shaped how you approach a story like this?
G Willow Wilson: Oh no, I don't know that it has necessarily. [Wonder Woman] is one of those characters who is so far removed from any sort of human experience that I think you really have to stretch your creative muscles to approach her. That's the challenge.
Issues #63 and 64 are both timely, but tonally very different stories. In #63, you take a lighthearted approach to the Olympian gods in exile and their (mis)adventure in a diner. How does this sort of lightheartedness help bring the message of these Olympian refugees' experience home to readers?
Wilson: I think what I was really trying to do in that issue was place these very fantastical characters in our own kind of mundane day-to-day world and show that contrast, which has a lot of humor, but also a lot of pathos. I thought that juxtaposition was fun.
It's always interesting, I think, when you have a story like Wonder Woman that has very high fantasy elements sitting cheek and jowl with contemporary real-world issues and locations. The trend in Wonder Woman in recent years had been to kind of go back and forth between her real-world stories and her Olympian mythical high fantasy stuff rather than blend the two. What I really wanted to do was pull those two worlds together, to see that high contrast between fantasy and the real world.
Diana is so often represented as a paragon of peace, but we don't often see her intervening in the more mundane aspects of life. What do you think would compel her to intervene in this particular case, or what made you want to tell the story that way?
Wilson: There aren't a ton of low stakes stories when it comes to big superheroes. I think we get a false impression when we just have high-stakes story after high-stakes story that this is how the battle between good and evil plays out. However, 99 percent of the time in the real world, it plays out in these low stakes scenarios.
It's a battle against bureaucracy. It's trying over competing narratives in the press. It's trying to convince a specific person to do a specific thing. So I think it's valuable to have some of those low stakes stories with the high fantasy elements because they really show us a lot more about situations we're likely to encounter in our lives; right versus wrong instead of the universe coming to an end again.
I like that marriage of high fantasy creatures in low stakes environments. I've done a lot of that in Ms. Marvel, and I wanted to draw on that here.
Next Page: Who is Wonder Woman at her breaking point?