Exclusive: WONDER WOMAN #750 Preview with Writer Steve Orlando

With the approach of the landmark Wonder Woman #750, fans of the Amazonian princess are preparing to celebrate her storied past. But the issue will also be setting the stage for Wonder Woman in 2020 and beyond… starting with a powerful conclusion to Diana’s longest-running rivalry, that her fans won’t soon forget.

For many of DC’s heroes, the Rebirth relaunch was a glorious return to form, and the creation of a new place in the modern DC Universe. For Wonder Woman, Rebirth was a return to Diana’s origins — revealing dark truths about her current world in the process. Since then she has turned to face the darkness, as always, losing friends, allies, her weapons, and her armor as her strongest and most tragic adversary, Cheetah, repays her debt to Diana. Their battle has been building to its conclusion, and will finally arrive in Wonder Woman‘s 750th issue. And we’ve got an exclusive look at the historic issue, and battle, direct from the writer himself.

RELATED: Wonder Woman #750 Cover Collects Diana’s Best Costumes

The special issue is calling on an all-star team of writers and artists to give Wonder Woman the sense of occasion she truly deserves. But fans can rest assured: it will be Steve Orlando and Jesús Merino’s “Wild Hunt” leading the charge, concluding Diana’s three-issue showdown with Cheetah. Having lost an old friend, and her iconic bracelets and golden lasso, even victory will leave Diana with some hard questions. And after speaking with Orlando, it sounds like those questions (and the answers Diana comes up with) are a chance to remind readers of the soul of her character. And use that conclusion to start a new beginning, too. Find our full interview, along with preview pages from the conclusion of “The Wild Hunt” below:

Well, you have returned to Diana and Themyscira, and you’re doing it on the cusp of the massive Wonder Woman #750. Some readers might think a ‘milestone’ issue is more about the past than the future, but it doesn’t sound like that’s going to be the case for your story – the conclusion of one, and start of another?

That’s exactly right! With our story in WONDER WOMAN 750, we wanted to offer a THANK YOU and a conclusion to the longrunning storyline between Wonder Woman and Cheetah, as well as take the opportunity to refocus, redefine, and rededicate Diana to her mission: truth, love, peace. Our CREDITS will say both “FINALE” as well as “A NEW BEGINNING.” And we mean that. If you’ve been following Wonder Woman for a long time, you’ll get the big blowoff you deserve between her and Cheetah, as well as her and the Gods. And if you’re new? You’ll watch Diana reset her life and rebuild herself and her mission, even her tools, armor and weapons, from the ground up after losing almost everything during G Willow Wilson’s breakneck and awesome run.

So in our case, this milestone issue is meant to both celebrate folks who’ve been on the journey with us for a while, and welcome in people who haven’t checked in on Diana in a minute and want to know, succinctly, exactly who she is, what she does, and what she stands for going forward.

This first arc with Cheetah really feels like a bookend, and a really satisfying payoff or callback to how Barbara Ann was re-introduced and written in Wonder Woman: Rebirth (even though she’s out for blood, it’s hard not to bring back all that sympathy for her). Was that the goal you were aiming for in your approach to her character in these first three issues?

Absolutely! When picking up this Wonder Woman and Cheetah story effectively mid-arc, we needed to look back at not just what groundwork had been laid by Willow, but also where the characters had gone since their reintroduction. Diana and Barbara Ann’s relationship is one of the most fascinating in the DCU, especially with how Rucka, Wilson, Sharp and Evely rebuilt it.  We wanted to offer a satisfying closing, emotionally at least, to that arc, spurned on by the DARK FATES who began appearing in Willow’s run, to drive Cheetah and Diana to an explosive confrontation where they could no longer avoid each other – and I’m glad to hear it sounds like we’ve succeeded!

People often say the best villains are the simplest, or ‘purest’ ones. Villains who are polar opposites of the hero. But Cheetah comes across as a raging storm of pain, hurt, resentment, anger, and vulnerability. In a certain story, that ‘messiness’ might be seen as a hindrance as an effective antagonist foil. As a writer, do you see that challenge or those characters differently?

I don’t think it’s a hindrance. You’re right, villains are often best when they’re simple, pure visions. But villains also work when they are dark reflections of a hero. And Wonder Woman is in of herself both very simple – she fights for love, truth, and peace, as well as very complex – those ideas in of themselves have ever-shifting, dynamic meanings on a personal and worldwide level.

So with Cheetah, I think the so called “messiness” is what makes her an effective foil for Wonder Woman who, herself, often embodies contradictions: a warrior for peace, as she’s often called. But again, Cheetah does still mirror Diana, because where Cheetah reacts to her life and the world with the emotions you note above, Diana reacts to the same situations with the opposite emotions. They contract each other, which is why Diana will always try to save Cheetah, and Cheetah will never allow that she could be saved. They work as foils because they’re doomed to repeat this tragic cycle forever, it’s in their core.

Keeping up the pattern of complicated, almost self-contradicting characters, your Wonder Woman quickly embraced the idea of power through submission. Love, trust, and compassion are always defining traits for Diana, but the way you depict submission isn’t shying away from the actual risk and danger. With Mayfly, and the Annual, it didn’t feel too dangerous, but with Cheetah it feels almost radical. Why is that important to your approach to Diana?

Because Wonder Woman is different. She comes from a culture fundamentally different from ours, one that we’d view as fundamentally radical. We also often think of Diana as strong, but with loving submission, a concept fundamental to the Amazons, she knows the key to understanding and real strength often includes risk, it includes vulnerability. In this battle with Cheetah, Diana knows that at her core, Cheetah wishes to be heard, even if Diana thinks she’s wrong. The only way to break that cycle isn’t by silencing her, or physically defeating her yet again while saying she cares about her. It is to step into the realm of vulnerability, to give Cheetah what she wants, to listen, and to prove Diana truly respects Cheetah, loves Cheetah, by opening herself up to her and trusting that, given the chance, given what she truly desires…Cheetah will be disarmed by Diana’s vulnerability. It’s the knowledge that Cheetah could harm her, but the trust that she will not.

Cheetah telling Diana “I know what’s best for you” is a really interesting idea to drop, especially since recent issues have shown Diana may not know that answer herself, or what her place in the world is going to look like going forward. Should readers take that as a sign you’re going to be addressing that question in Wonder Woman #750 (and beyond)?

I think so, I think you’ll get a solution to this problem in 750, if not the path to the solution. Cheetah’s latest quest to pay a debt to Diana she doesn’t see as a debt, to solve a problem Diana doesn’t see she has, makes Diana realize that Cheetah’s not the only one in her life acting like this. I’ve said 750 shows Wonder Woman rededicating herself and redefining herself, and these pressures, people thinking they know what’s best for Wonder Woman, and know better than Diana who she herself is…force her to make some changed, and take the first steps towards a renewed focus and self-empowerment.

Without spoiling anything too early, what else can you tease about the next slate of Wonder Woman stories fans have coming to them (whether it’s characters, story, artwork)?

The future is coming fast and furious for Diana once we get through 750. We know the Dark Fates set Cheetah on a collision course with Diana, we know that Paula Von Gunther is lurking in the shadows, looking to avenge her valkyrie ancestors on the Amazons, and avenge herself on Diana. Her arc, THE FOUR HORSEWOMEN, really challenges what Diana knows about the truth, and what she believes about compassion. Before that, we’ve got visits from the past in the form of VALDA, a Brienne of Tarth type stranded in the future thanks to a battle with a quantum beast, and a visit from space in the form of MAXIMA, a fellow princess with a secret that could shake her people to the core…and reunite her with the one she loves. Power and grace are coming to Wonder Woman, and if Diana can survive this clash of Amazons versus Valkyries… her next mission is for the soul of the future itself.

  • WONDER WOMAN #750 (2020)
  • Release Date: January 22nd, 2020
  • Written by: Vita Ayala, Marguerite Bennett, Kami Garcia, Dean Hale, Shannon Hale, Jeff Loveness, Steve Orlando, Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Mariko Tamaki, and others.
  • Art by: Elena Casagrande, Colleen Doran, Jesús Merino, Gabriel Picolo, and others
  • Cover by: Joëlle Jones
  • An all-star 96-page celebration of the Amazon Princess by longtime favorites and acclaimed new voices! In the lead story, Wonder Woman’s epic “Year of the Villain” battle comes to a close, leading the way to new challenges ahead. Additionally, this oversized gem tells tales from Diana’s past, present and future by some of the greatest storytellers in the business— including Colleen Doran, Mariko Tamaki, the Teen Titans: Raven team of writer Kami Garcia and artist Gabriel Picolo, and legendary Wonder Woman creators returning to the character, including Gail Simone and Greg Rucka!

Wonder Woman #750 is a 96-page prestige format one-shot comic book, debuting in comic book stores and participating online retailers January 22, 2020, for $9.99.

MORE: Wonder Woman Delivers Her Most Brutal Attack (EVER?)

2020-01-20 01:01:01

Andrew Dyce

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