Monday, September 18, 2023

Wonder Woman #1 Review

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Daniel Sampere
Colors by: Tomeu Morey
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Daniel Sampere, Tomeu Morey
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: September 18, 2023

Wonder Woman #1 sets America against Diana and the Amazons when a mass murder quickly sparks a wildfire of xenophobia and bigotry, turning a one-off event into a full-blown witch hunt.
Is Wonder Woman #1 Good?

Wonder Woman #1 is a Tom King comic. If you're familiar with Tom King's writing, all the standard King tropes are present - a brilliant artist depicting a story replete with Wing-Dings, bloody murder separating parents from children, and a palpable atmosphere of misery. If you're already a Tom King fan, Wonder Woman #1 is the Tom King-iest version of Wonder Woman you could imagine. If you're not a Tom King fan, Wonder Woman #1 is the Tom King-iest version of Wonder Woman you could imagine. Plan accordingly.

King's script centers on a pool hall massacre perpetrated by an Amazon named Emelie. She kills nineteen men but leaves only two women present unharmed. No explanation is given as to why Emelie killed nineteen men except for the brief display of harassment by one of the pool hall patrons, and Emilie escapes into the night.


The mass murder sparks country-wide outrage as the event quickly turns, in the press, from murder to a "terrorist" event to a harbinger of Amazonian genocide. The disembodied narrator explains it all in great detail, including the recruitment of Sgt. Steel to deport or kill the hundreds of Amazons(???) living in America. When Sgt Steel eventually finds and confronts Wonder Woman, who has resisted deportation until now, the American soldiers are left broken and bloody. The issue ends with Wonder Woman on America's most wanted list and an introduction to the MAN (intentionally capitalized) behind it all - The Sovereign.

"Wha...? Who or what is the Sovereign?" you'll reasonably ask. The Sovereign is the "Joker-level" villain created by Tom King to be Wonder Woman's antithesis. He's a decrepit, old, straight, white MAN who fancies himself the "King" of America because he possesses the Lasso of Lies. Apparently, America has been ruled by a royal line of manipulators since the first explorers landed on American soil to wipe out every matriarchal, indigenous tribe and subjugate men and women to their will.

In appearance, the Sovereign looks like Adrian Toomes (The Vulture from Marvel Comics) wearing robes that blend American symbolism with KKK Grand Wizard adornments. The Sovereign is the true ruler of America, and readers can interpret what that means for themselves.

What's great about Wonder Woman #1? Give credit where credit is due, Tom King is a skillful writer. He knows how to craft scenes, dialog, pacing, and all the rest with masterful proficiency. You may not like what you're reading, but you can't say it isn't constructed well.

What's not so great about Wonder Woman #1? King has an earned reputation for writing characters out of character. Wonder Woman is barely in this first issue, so you can't make that claim (yet), but the heavy focus is placed on the American government, the press, government agents, and the American public in general, and they're all written as the worst possible versions of themselves. The common trope among Big 2 writers is to elevate one character by tearing an adjacent character down. In this case, King elevates Wonder Woman by tearing down the United States.

"Calm down, Mr. Reviewer guy. Are you one of them right-wingers or something?" you may defensively posit. No, I am not any of those things, but I call it like I see it for the following reasons.

First, the mass murder is twisted and spun among the press and the people with record efficiency and speed into a "terrorist" event without the slightest pushback, leading to bipartisan legislation banning all Amazons from American soil. In reality, the American government doesn't accomplish anything with bipartisan support, let alone pass laws quickly unless by Executive order.

Second, you don't see any pushback from the Justice League, Wonder Woman (until much later), or anyone else until Sgt. Steel is "forced" to take lethal extradition actions. Instead of focusing on finding Emilie to bring her to justice, the entire comic is constructed around the aftermath.

Third, we learn hundreds of Amazons are living in "Man's World" without a clear explanation as to why. Except as volunteers or providing aid in some capacity, there's no reason for Amazons to migrate to the United States without a specific agenda set down by Queen Nubia. When Nubia issues a decree for all Amazons to return to Themyscira, that should have been the end of the discussion, but King manufactures the excuse of 'putting down roots' to make disobedience a recurring situation.

Fourth, Emilie's actions are a one-off and not the first in a series of hostile actions committed by several Amazons. There's no excuse for murder, but King didn't lay the foundation to make the American reaction believable. Almost no effort is shown by the Amazons or any other super to track down and capture Emelie. If you're prone to cynicism, you could imagine King is drawing parallels to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11, which if true, is incredibly distasteful given the timing of this release so close to the anniversary of the attack.

Last but not least, this issue is thematically ugly. You don't feel good about anyone in this issue, including Wonder Woman. For her part, Wonder Woman goes rogue in defiance of American laws and Queen Nubia's recall instead of working with the government and the Justice League to find out what happened. The narration briefly hints that Wonder Woman tried multiple channels to prevent the deportation order, but very little is said or shown about the hunt to capture Emelie.


When you put all those pieces together, you get King being King. Everyone is angry or miserable being the worst versions of themselves. The setup of the world and characters are warped to make the plot as dire and ugly as possible, unbelievably so. And the Sovereign looks (only seen on the last page) like a tired stereotype instead of anyone approaching "Joker-level" status.
It's all so tiresome. So, f you've been struggling with the drought of Wonder Woman writers who fail to elevate the character beyond mediocre or memorable, you'll probably be waiting a while longer.
How's the art? If you're looking for a bright spot, it's Daniel Sampere's art. It's gorgeous, and you can't say enough good things about how good this comic looks

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
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Bits and Pieces:

Wonder Woman #1 is peak Tom King. Cursing, bloody murder, and misery, all rolled into a comic that turns a xenophobic, bigoted America against innocent Amazons. Sampere's art is fantastic, and give credit to King for a skillfully written script, but everything about this story is just plain ugly.



  1. I thought it was the best number one for a long time. At least a 9/10. Diana knows what happened. She knows who the murderer is. She's defending the 300+ Amazon's that Steel has captured or more importantly, slaughtered. The Justice League have pushed back. It says Diana enlisted "her heroic friends to object wherever they might be heard". And Diana has focused on bringing Emelie to justice.
    At the end she says she is doing what Steel has failed to do, look for Emelie.

    1. glad you liked it! I liked it less than Gabe myself

  2. It absolutely was a 9/11 reference, how Muslims in America were ttreated afterwards, with special note to Trump's attempt to ban them from enerting the USA. Tom King was a CIA operative in Iraq and Afghanistan, he knows better than most about the US reaction to 9/11, he was part of it, and Wonder Woman #1 is part of his own self critique,

    1. it's also rails against gay marriage, the current border wars and the like. Not my cup of tea at all, personally and I found 99.9% of it boring. For me, I read comics to escape this real world misery, so it's just not for me.

  3. Another disaster by Tom King, this time starting out by normalizing mass-murder.
    I often find it ironic since it was Tom King who worked for the Lasso of Lies.
    I never heard about Tom King giving back all of the money that he earned or all of the privilege that he gained.
    My take is that Tom King really has contempt for heroes and heroines in the USA.
    We saw John Ridley write how his Batman had the "right" to get away with hit and run murder.
    This normalizing murder stuff at DC Comics of random people is seriously damaging. It won't end well.

  4. If Tom King is trying to make a Joker-level villain for Wonder Woman, I think he has already failed, I honestly don't see the new villain takes off. He is specifically created for this storyline about America banning Amazonians, and only works in stories that's about America banning Amazonians. It has nothing to do with Greek mythology or Diana as a character, you won't see him again once other writers move on to other storylines, or if he does show up again, it's either going to be a rehash of this story or it will derail the plot with American politics.

    1. Agree. The Lasso of Lies character, who Tom King apparently knows so well because he probably worked for him, is absurd and ridiculous. Whether you are pro/anti-USA, it is just a silly caricature. It really is something that belongs in a 20th century MAD Magazine satire, not something you pay nearly $5 to read.

    2. feels like another Doctor Psycho but based on a bad Uncle Sam

  5. I'm always willing to give books like this a try, even on writers whose work I've rolled my eyes at. But Gabe nailed it - this is King at his Kingiest and Wonder Woman in her King-iest version. As the comments seem to show, if it's your thing, you probably loved it, and if it's not, you hated it. I find myself in the latter category all around, with the biggest eye-roll being the stereotypical old white male patriarch controlling everything with his "Lasso of Lies." This couldn't be less inspiring, creative, or interesting to me, but to each his own.

    1. It's one of the things I hate about reviewing King's books on the site and podcast - it becomes such a heated and dividing thing!