Wonder Woman is held to an incredibly high standard, considered one of the DC Universe’s true paragons of virtue – and as a result, according to writer Tom King in an interview with Popverse, this leads to a character that is “constantly failing,” an ambassador for peace that is constantly resorting to violence.

Every time she punches someone, she’s failed at her job,” King told Popverse’s Ashley V. Robinson and the viewers of Enter the Popverse, in response to a viewer question. Tom King’s upcoming Wonder Woman series, debuting this fall, will seek to reckon with the prevailing perception of the hero, including more of an exploration of her failures, along with her successes.

Writer Tom King On The Moral Complexities Of Wonder Woman

Speaking about his approach to writing the new series, King said: “In looking at Diana, I think one of the problems is sometimes she’s put up on too much of a pedestal and treated to be perfect, and a perfect person is hard to relate to.” Later in their conversation, King spoke about his other upcoming series, Penguin, describing that series as “grounded and everyday,” prompting interviewer Ashley V. Robinson to ask how the writer keeps god-like characters such as Wonder Woman or Superman relatable to readers. As King said, his instinct is “to write them as humans,” saying, “that’s where you find the joy in the characters.

Tom King’s Wonder Woman Is A Reluctant Warrior

tom king wonder woman 1 cover

The discussion led King to pose an interesting question: “If [superheroes] aren’t human, what’s heroic about [them]?” On Wonder Woman, he said, “None of us are perfect, and it’s hard to have empathy with a person that’s like that.” He described the complex moral situation the character finds herself in time and time again as a form of failure. “She is someone who is so for peace, but finds herself a warrior. She’s constantly failing; every time she punches someone, she’s failed at her job.” Of course, part of this is due to the narrative mechanics of the comic book medium – at their core, superhero comics are an action genre.

As a writer, Tom King recognizes that this dynamic results in an exciting character to write, and to read. As he put it, the character’s failures give her, “some gravity and something that makes her human – the fact that she does not want to be a superhero. She wants us to live in peace and love, and yet here she is as a warrior, as a fighter. So her own success is her failure. I think that makes her fascinating.” Readers will have to wait until the fall to find out exactly how human King’s Wonder Woman is, and what successes and failures he has in store for her.

Wonder Woman #1 will be available Fall 2023 from DC Comics.

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