Next month, Wonder Woman will get a new creative team for the first time since the New 52 relaunch.
Brian Azzarello (and his most frequent collaborator Cliff Chiang, for that matter) will leave the book after this month's #35 and Wonder Woman #36, due in stores on November 19, will be the first issue of a new run by David and Meredith Finch.
Following on the heels of an acclaimed but often controversial run can't be easy -- and doing so with a character who is nearly 75 years old and whose portrayal during those years has rarely pleased everyone at the same time is even more of a challenge.
Meredith Finch joined us to discuss the future of the most recognizable female superhero on the planet.
There's been a lot of talk, including by DC over the years, that superheroes are a kind of modern mythology. Where does that leave a character like Diana, who is so rooted in traditional mythology?
It's an interesting question becasue I think if you really focused on the mythology, she doesn't really follow traditional Greek mythology; there's been a lot of deviation, especially with what Brian Azzarello has done. If you're looking at superheroes being our mythology, she really has been such a role model for women, I think she's had perhaps the most powerful impact of any superhero on mainstream culture and what she stands for.
It's interesting because that is, in both a good way and a bad way, the baggage that comes with this character, I think. Is that something you have to put out of your head when you're trying to write?
Absolutely, because if that was my focus, I wouldn't be telling a story, I would be focused on an issue. And what we want to do here is tell a story about a person, an individual, the struggles she's going through, the great things that are happening to her, and make that relatable and somebody that readers can really attach and follow an emotional arc with her.
First and foremost what we've had to focus on is making her a human being, a person, somebody that we can relate to. And my hope is that being the icon and being the strong, female role model will just naturally flow in and be incorporated in the story that we're telling.
I feel like for a long time, Wonder Woman had a hard time connecting with an audience. Does it help you to come in at a time when the Azzarello run had so much support, and how does the movie play into courting a casual audience?
I think that it is the perfect time to be coming onto this character. She's getting so much talk through the media because of the movie and then I also have this fantastic, fleshed-out character that Brian has done. He really has made her a person. She's going through struggles and having bad things happen to her and he's made her a champion and he's made her somebody that you can really root for and cheer for and I think that is what makes a character relatable.
She's not perfect in his book and I think that when you take her off that pedestal and you allow her to have those faults, it makes for a character that ultimately is stronger.
With Diana and Aquaman, they've often been less relatable because so many writers choose to make their defining trait that they're royalty. Have you avoided that?
I think [we're] recognizing the fact that while she's royalty, she's not living on Paradise Island. She's stepped away from that role in her life and immersed herself in the human world and the world of the Justice League and superheroes. Just like anybody, if you step away from what your background is, you can just be who you are. I think that's what Brian was able to do, is just make her who she is.
One criticism I've heard since the New 52 launched is that people feel like the Wonder Woman in her own title is a different character than the one in Justice League or Superman/Wonder Woman. How do you respond to those people?
The first thing I did when I got the job was to sit down and read all of Brian's run in its entirety. And earlier today, I got a question about which Wonder Woman stands out to me and I had to say that Brian's Wonder Woman is a fully-developed character and it really does define who she is for me. I didn't feel that about his book; I feel like he did a very strong run and I feel like I have a very good starting point for me to move forward and fully develop.
Her supporting cast has also been pretty fleshed out in Brian's run. Are they going to continue on with the new run or are you going to introduce your own new characters, or a bit of both?
A little bit of both, definitely. I think the story with the gods has been told and I think it's time for a shift in direction. There are certainly pieces of his story, little threads that have been left that we can pick up and weave into our story. We're going to bring in a few new characters.
With Brian's book, it often felt like it took place inside the DC Universe but was impacted very little by it. It was very much his singular vision. Will you guys be bringing her back to the fold a little bit?
We're definitely telling our own story, so it's Wonder Woman's story and this is an arc, but Superman is her boyfriend, she is a member of the Justice League, she does have a life on Paradise Island or interactions on Paradise Island. And so what we're trying to do is bring in those aspects as they add and enhance the story that we're trying to tell.
I don't have an agenda that I need her to be more involved in the main DC Universe and I don't have an agenda that I want her to be removed from the DC Universe. It's a tool in my toolbox and like any tool, if I need it, I'm going to use it, but I would be foolish to put it away and not know that it's there.