Wonder Woman Faces a Magical Refugee Crisis in DC Comics

When DC Comics announced that G. Willow Wilson would be writing Wonder Woman, fans knew they were in for something new. And in our exclusive preview of Wonder Woman #63, the world of Olympus has been folded into our own–allowing Wilson to prove exiled magical creatures can show sides of our world that even superheroes can’t.

From her first story as writer of DC’s Wonder Woman comic series, it was clear that Wilson was going to be grounding even the most magical aspects of the heroine to the world around her (the world the readers live in, or as close as can be replicated). The rebirth of Ares as a heroic god, and not a villain was what sparked the story… but it was the questions he raised about the modern nature of war that stole the spotlight.

With Wonder Woman #63 releasing this week, Screen Rant got the chance to ask Wilson about her next story: seeing how the magical refugees of Greek mythology are facing a new home… and new, less-than-welcoming neighbors.

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Wonder Woman #63 is starting a new arc for the series, and I am personally thrilled that it will be following the trio of magical creatures more or less stranded on Earth. What can you tell us about Eirene, Damon, and the Pegasus I will now refer to exclusively as Cadmus with “the Taut Flanks”?

Taut flanks, yeah [Laughs]. I always thought it would be interesting to get a look at the world of the Olympian Gods and creatures through the point of view… not of the fantastical superheroes that we’ve seen in the past, he Amazons of course, Zeus, Ares or some of the other gods… but just ordinary citizens of this magical realm. That was the genesis of our little Greek chorus of creatures who unlike the gods, and Wonder Woman and the Amazons, have no prior relationship or knowledge of the world that we live in here on Earth. And so are really kind of dumped out into a reality they don’t understand. They’re seeing our world through fresh eyes.

So there are real opportunities there for comedy, tragedy, and also just a more ground-level view of our now kind of mashed-up fantasy reality than we get through the eyes of superheroes who are much, much cooler and stronger than any of us will ever be. So we’re kind of learning about the destruction of Olympus through their eyes. We’re also looking at our own political reality through their eyes, and maybe getting some fresh perspective on both.

As fun and fantastical as this story might sound, your first arc on Wonder Woman, which you just finished, immediately grappled with Justice and War – two ideas that kind of define Diana. Is there a similar core idea, or question at the heart of this next chapter?

Yeah, I think for Diana it’s a question of what happens when you came somewhere as an exile or as an immigrant of some kind and now discover that your homeworld is gone, or radically altered, and you are now a refugee. Now it’s not a choice, you’re not here by choice. You’re now here because you have no other choice. That’s pretty huge for Diana, she’s always been on a fine line between our world and the world of Olympus, which is very different from, say, Clark Kent a.k.a Superman, whose world was destroyed by the time that he got here. So he kind of knows what the score is, and this is the only home that he has. Well, depending on the timeline that you’re in of course [laughs]. But fundamentally for his character, our world is the only home that he knows. And that’s not true for Diana. But now she has to grapple with a lot of those questions. What happens when there is no home to go back to? How does that change your relationship with where you are?

It seems like Wonder Woman is an outsider, an exile, and an immigrant… but she’s one that everybody rallies behind. From almost the first page of this issue that you’re using this trio to show the other side of that coin. In ways that are, maybe, painfully relevant today.

[Laughs] Yeah, yeah. I mean yes, they are getting no special treatment. They are not seen as any kind of protector, or savior, or special case, they have no extraordinary abilities. They just kind of take up room. And it really does challenge us to think about those issues in a different light. What is it like for us schlubs since we have no spectacular ability? But you know, still have to eat, and have roofs over our heads, and all of that. Do the ordinary schlubs deserve the same kind of compassion as well, or what?

So they have a very different experience and we can see even in that issue that Wonder Woman does not fully appreciate how different it is for them than it is for her. I think at least one of them comments on that in the issue. And you know, it’s a fun way to see our own world through this wacky lens. What happens when you’re a quadruped and you try to sit down and order at a restaurant, and… you know, hijinks ensue. There’s definite comedy there. In the comedy we try to ask the real questions.

This is obviously setting up the new status quo for your upcoming run. Olympus Has Fallen (literally). Gods have fallen to Earth. Ares, at least, has been reborn. But even they don’t really know what brought them here. Is solving that mystery the immediate thrust of the story?

Yes it is, it is. Diana, we’ve seen, is already frustrated by the fact that nobody, even the gods, really has any clear answer about what’s happened. We can see from Ares showing up but slightly altered, Aphrodite showing up but slightly altered, that something major and drastic has happened. But of course the question becomes where are the amazons? That’s going to become a really pressing question for Wonder Woman to answer. Is her mother alive? Are her people alive? Did they make it here? And if so, are they altered the way the gods have been altered? Those are really big questions and Wonder Woman is going to spare no effort to try to answer them.

That question is where Issue #62 ended. Was that final image meant to be taken as a sign that Diana received, or intentionally left in limbo.

It’s very much limbo. Chris Conroy, my editor and I, had a long conversation about that last scene and what should happen [laughs]. whether it should be answered definitively, ‘Okay yes, this is her sign, things are going to be okay or they’re not okay.’ And ultimately decided to leave that question mark there and leave Diana in that very troubled state of not having all the answers. This is not something that she’s used to. So it is very much, ‘Well, you’re kind of on your own’ you know? And figure out your way.

Any time a new creative team comes to a well-known hero, you almost find out what that character means to them specifically. The message of your issues so far seems to be that gods and humans do not play well together.

No. [laughs]

Was that in your mind as you imagined ever writing Wonder Woman, or has that idea developed as you’ve been writing.

It’s kind of as I’ve been writing it. I’m coming off a superhero book very much street-level that really doesn’t leave our very ordinary sphere of experience. That world of street corners and convenience stores. ‘How do I be a superhero but get good grades at the same time?’ Diana does not inhabit that world. even though she’s here in our world, she occupies a completely different plane of existence. Because she grew up a princess in this realm of immortal or semi-immortal women of tremendous power, in a matriarchy, and on an island. So her experience is radically different from ours. And I thought it would be interesting to introduce more of those street-level elements to her story so that we got that really rich contrast between the world that she comes from and the world that we live in. Because I think there is some really powerful storytelling beats in there. And sometimes visual contrasts as well, you know? Pegasus crammed into a booth at a restaurant – it’s fun stuff that just kind of drives home how very different that world is from ours.

Not to spoil the coming story, but it almost offers an inversion of that ‘gods and humans mixing.’ It’s usually bad for the humans, but that might not always be the case.

Yeah, absolutely. And at least in this issue it’s the magical creatures who are definitely suffering. Which makes sense if you think about it, it’s not built for them. Our world is not built for them.

One of the things that I took most from the issue was that below the fun or absurdity, I had to wonder if it has to be taxing emotionally to pose these kind of questions. Do you have to give yourself, almost, some affirmation by showing it’s not all bad?

It’s really true. Because I think when we find ourselves in these situations we end up finding out that we have friends in corners we might not have expected. That even the vastly unfamiliar might contain a familiar face somewhere. There are always those little reasons to keep going. So I wanted to throw some of those in there as well. So that to me is realism [laughs]. It’s very rarely all bad or all good.

Wonder Woman #63 will be released on January 30th, 2019 from DC Comics.

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