One of DC’s more newsworthy developments in the New 52 came in 2012’s Justice League #12, as Superman and Wonder Woman shared a kiss heard around the world. And while several books have explored the blossoming Superman/Wonder Woman romance since then, none have tackled this dynamic more directly than Superman/Wonder Woman. Writer Charles Soule and artist Tony Daniel wrapped up their first story arc on the series this week, as Clark and Diana made a heroic sacrifice in order to stop General Zod and Faora from carrying out their plans for Earth.
We had the chance to chat with Soule about the challenges of writing these two iconic heroes and juggling their sizable supporting casts and rogues galleries. Soule explained what the climax of issue #6 means for the characters and what the future holds for this series as it begins reflecting the events of Brian Azzarello‘s Wonder Woman comic and Forever Evil, as well as moves towards the upcoming “Doomed” crossover.
IGN Comics: The villains in this first storyline seemed a little more heavily slanted towards Superman’s end at first, but that seems to be changing now that Apollo aided Zod and Faora in issue #6. Are we going to see more direct involvement from the gods as the book progresses?
Charles Soule: I think, first of all, if you really parcel out the time that we’ve had with the villains in the first six issues, it’s more equal than you think. Particularly with Apollo, because if you look back from issue #3 on, he’s basically been working behind the scenes against Superman and Wonder Woman, because Superman punched him out in issue #2. Just because it’s not overt doesn’t mean it’s not there. We also get a lot of involvement with Wonder Woman. She goes home to Themyscira. She fights the monster from Doom’s Doors. We see her briefly fighting some Blue Snowman robots. There’s been a lot of Wonder Woman-centric stuff. Yes, Zod and Faora and Doomsday are Superman villains, but I think it’s pretty balanced.
As for whether or not we’ll see more Wonder Woman stuff, of course. Her name is in the title, and I’ll be bringing as much of that as I can when it’s appropriate. The book shouldn’t be about tallying up the appearances of one person’s villains or another person’s. It should be about “What is the best story we can tell?” And I think if you look at issues #1-6, you see a story that covers both halves and I think works very well.
IGN Comics: With the reveal of Warworld in this issue, it seems like you’re tying your story in with what Greg Pak has been doing on Batman/Superman recently. How closely have you been working together on this stuff?
Soule: We’ve been working very closely together. As you probably know, we’ve been working together on the big “Doomed” event that’s going to start next month, actually. Part of that has involved trying to find these little points of connection between each other’s stories. And as that plays out and just in these stories in general after that plays out, it will feel very much like a connected Superman world. I think it’s working really well. That inclusion of Warworld at the end of issue #6 was completely intentional for the reasons we’re talking about, and we’ll have some neat callbacks to that in the books coming up.
IGN Comics: One of the big questions you’ve been exploring in this first arc is whether Superman and Wonder Woman can work as a couple. Do you think their sacrifice in the nuclear silo finally puts that question to rest?
Soule: I think that they did what they needed to do in that moment. I thought it was a beautiful moment where they came together. As far as we know, they saved the world for the umpteenth time. I think that every relationship has its ups and downs. Right now, they’re very, very strong together. Whether they’ll always be that way – who knows? It’s a relationship, so it could change. But right now – except for the fact that they blew themselves up – things are looking pretty good.
IGN Comics: [laughs] We can probably assume they won’t be dead in issue #7, but where does the story go from here? Do you resume their battle with Zod and Faora right away or is there a period of downtime?
Soule: Well, Zod and Faora’s story is done for the time being. We may see them again at some point in the future. People come back, but that story is designed to work in issue #1-6. As for whether Superman and Wonder Woman come back, it would be silly to say they’ll never appear again. I want this to be a hand wave. I want this to a feel like a big, big moment they have to come back from. We’ll see some of that in upcoming issues, and then the “Doomed” event kicks in, which is really going to change up everything for them again.
IGN Comics: With Zod, you’ve focused a lot of attention on his relationship with Faora as a sort of contrast to Clark and Diana. Has your goal been to try to humanize those characters in a way we maybe haven’t seen in some of their past incarnations?
Soule: I think that should be a goal with any character you write. If you’re not trying to humanize a character, then what the hell are you doing? These characters should seem at least somewhat recognizable, and if you’re just going to make them archetypes or cardboard cutouts, it’s not engaging. I don’t think so. What happened with Zod and Faora in this story is just like what we did with Superman and Wonder Woman. They had their little squabbles and discussions. I think they worked really well as good foils to Superman and Wonder Woman.
IGN Comics: You’ve been exploring the immediate fallout of the Superman/Wonder Woman romance being revealed to the world. How much will that be a focus in upcoming issues?
Soule: With something like that, it’s like any big news story. For a while, it was the biggest thing around. It was all anyone could talk about. But then, whatever the next big story might be, when you don’t see it anymore, everyone’s like, “Okay, let’s move on to the next thing.” I feel like that’s the matter of fact approach to their relationship. And if you connect the dots, the reveal of that relationship led to Superman and Wonder Woman kind of taking a break around issues #3 and 4, which led directly to Zod getting out of the Phantom Zone and Faora getting out of the Phantom Zone, and everything sort of spun out from there. So it will continue to have an effect on Superman and Wonder Woman, but as far as the rest of the world, it’s something that everybody knows, so we’ll see how it plays out. But it’ll be less of a direct focus, I think.
IGN Comics: We know from the editor’s captions that the series right now is taking place before the new status quo in Brian’s Wonder Woman book. Is there a point where we’ll start to see those events reflected here, especially with Diana becoming the new goddess of war?
Soule: Yes. We’re catching up very soon. Issue #7 is kind of designed to catch us up to the present in all sorts of different ways. Which has complicated the scripts, but I think will be satisfying when people read it.
IGN Comics: And along those same lines, are we going to see this book start to reflect the fallout of Forever Evil once that event wraps up in a few weeks?
Soule: Yep. Some of that will be reflected. When we catch up to the present day, some of the world will seem a little different than it used to. Certainly, the “Doomed” event will reflect Forever Evil.
IGN Comics: One of the interesting things about the whole post-Forever Evil status quo is that you’ve got a Justice League where Superman appears to have quit but Wonder Woman is still on board. Is that something that’s going to create tension between the two in this series?
Soule: You know, there’s so many things that can cause tension between the two in this series. And while that’s certainly one of them, I can definitively tell you they’ll have bigger fish to fry.
IGN Comics: The other thing with Superman being gone from Justice League is that it sort of places the impetus even more on this series to really explore and flesh out the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship. Are you excited about the possibilities and the freedom that allows you moving forward?
Soule: Right, that’s true. But I always sort of saw it that way. Geoff and the other writers who have touched on this relationship have done a great job with it. But I have their names on the cover. I already felt like I was supposed to make it work. And I feel like I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it so far. I’m very happy with the way this book has turned out so far.
IGN Comics: Before we end off I definitely want to touch on Tony’s art a little. I’m sure I’m not the only person who thinks that the last page of issue #6 is some of his best work on the series so far. Can you talk about what you feel he’s brought to the table in these first six issues?
Soule: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I think this is some of the best work I’ve ever seen from Tony. He’s very excited about the book and the title, and I think it shows in his work. There’s the page in issue #6 of the silhouettes and all the fighting going on. That’s real cool storytelling. He really pushed himself, and I think it really shows.
As far as the last page, the script notes wanted that to fee very somber, very definitive, very much a period on the sentence that has been issues #1-6, to underscore the sacrifice that these two have made in order to be together and everything else. And I think he hit it out of the park. It’s just beautiful. I actually just bought that page, so I’m going to hang it on my wall. I think it’s that good.