[SPOILER ALERT] Last week, DC Comics released 'Wonder Woman' #23, in which a great battle was fought, the theistic landscape of the 'New 52' underwent a dramatic shift, and Wonder Woman became the new God Of War. We got the chance to talk to author Brian Azzarello about this change in the status quo, his collaboration with series artist Cliff Chaing, and the effects this storyline may have on the greater DC Universe.
MTV Geek: How much has this story changed in the telling, and is it unfolding as you expected?
Brian Azzarello: Cliff and I, we knew where we were going when we started this thing. We had a goal in mind before we even said 'let's do it' and signed the contract…we sat down, we worked out a roadmap, we knew where we were going and what we wanted to do. It's a thing we established, and Cliff and Goran [Sudzuka, the artist for a few upcoming issues] and I are following it. It's progressing very much as we've intended all along. It's a plan we both made, from day one.
Geek: Are you writing outlines and sending them to him, are you writing full-scripts, or is it somewhere in-between?
Azzarello: We started out doing all full script and it's gotten a bit looser lately with Cliff…he's doing a lot of the action and pacing, determining a little more of the flow. It's something he wanted to do, we said 'okay now, let's try this', he took it on, and it's working really well.
Geek: How has this relationship grown, since your work together a few years ago on Doctor 13, and since you started this series?
Azzarello: Well, this is definitely a lot bigger. We know each other, we know what we each do…this is a big story, and the collaboration is getting tighter as we go, and as we build on what's gone before.
Geek: Wonder Woman #23 featured the death of War and Wonder Woman herself taking on the mantle of 'God Of War'. I imagine this is something that could have far-ranging affects in the DCU?
Azzarello: She's the God Of War now… But what does that mean? There's a lot of room to work there. I wanted to give her real power, build her into something even stronger, and as for how that affects other books, that's not something I'm too worried about. This is the story we set out to tell. It could have greater repercussions, and there's certainly room to expand on the idea. We'll see who else takes it and runs with it!
Geek: This last issue certainly caught me by surprise. It actually started veering toward being a meditation on the act of war itself, and what it does to people… Which is not something I was anticipating in a Wonder Woman comic.
Azzarello: Well, I never knew I'd be writing a Wonder Woman comic, so there you go! As for how this shake-up changes her place in the greater universe… Looking at the big picture, there's something in the DC Universe that's referred to as a Trinity. And we're reinforcing that, shifting what it means a little bit. There's those three things: there's a human, an alien, and now there's a god. That third part has become something else. NOW there's a trinity. We've set that up, we've given her this power… And now everyone, go play with your toys!
Geek: You've spent much of the last year establishing this world, bringing in Orion and New Gods, setting up the old vs. new deities… Is Diana, in fact, a New God now?
Azzarello: Is she a New God now? Yes. Is she a KIRBY New God? No. What that means… You'll have to read and find out!
Geek: Have there been other interpretations of Wonder Woman that have helped inspire your take on the character? The original William Moulton run, or any work by other authors?
Azzarello: One of the problems in modern comics is that they keep referencing themselves endlessly. They keep feeding off themselves, and we wanted to step outside that. Those old stories are wonderful, we love them, but they've been told before. We're doing something new. We want to take these characters, these archetypes, and see where we can take them and what we can do with them that you haven't already seen. We're doing new things, pulling in references from outside the comics field, going to the original Greek myths, and trying to interpret these characters.
Nowadays, when we say 'god', god is God. It's just assumed that it's an all-powerful single entity. God is a good thing.
But those original gods, they weren't just good. They had problems. They fought. They were human. And we're trying to reflect that, and tell a story of imperfect gods having conflicts, and affecting the world.
Geek: And looking ahead on this series, are you planning to keep steering your own course, or are you going to be brought more closely into the New 52? This is such a different type of book, I can't really envision you taking part in some massive company-wide crossover...
Azzarello: We're happy doing what we're doing, and following the path we set out on. We're not going to end up as part of an event anytime soon…we have our own event to worry about! We have these changes, we have a lot to explore. We have a story to tell, and we're telling it.