The following contains spoilers for Wonder Woman #1, now on sale from DC Comics
Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery has a deep bench of mystical and dangerous villains — some stemming from the world of mythology, while others attempt to force modern cruelty onto the world at large. The latest Wonder Woman series introduces two new antagonists to their ranks, setting them up to be true threats to Diana’s attempts to help the world. Notably, both of them are rooted in the mythology and methods of the United States government and hint at the wide scope of her next battle.
Wonder Woman’s new enemies in Wonder Woman #1 (by Tom King, Daniel Sampere, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles) are both designed to be clear foils to DC’s Star-Spangled Princess. Sgt. Stone and the King of America are both intrinsically opposed to Wonder Woman on multiple fundamental levels, making them compelling counters to her efforts to counter the increasing anti-Amazonian sentiment held in DC’s United States. It creates a pair of compelling threats to her going forward and sets the stage for a battle that could shake the foundations of the superhero universe’s version of the USA.
Sgt. Stone Is The Perfect Foil To Wonder Woman’s Heroism
The plot of Wonder Woman #1 largely follows the fallout of an Amazonian seemingly slaughtering her way through a group of men in middle America. With the United States government cracking down on immigrants from the Amazonian home of Themyscira, Sgt. Stone is brought in to lead the charge. A no-nonsense commander with an itchy trigger finger, Sgt. Stone quickly established himself as a heartless operator. He dispatches targets with absolutely no restraint and doesn’t hold back when ordering for lethal measures to be enacted on targets like Wonder Woman. This serves as a strong contrast to Wonder Woman herself, who has long wrestled with her humanity coming into conflict with the powers she possesses. Stone by contrast has seemingly turned off any empathy he has for his targets, treating them as target practice rather than as people. He quickly proves to be outwardly dismissive of women, casually calling Wonder Woman a “girl” as a form of insult.
It’s the straightforward opposite of Diana’s ingrained confidence and sense of self, showcasing how petty he thinks he can make their conflict. Stone’s cruelty stands in stark contrast to Wonder Woman’s empathy, which sees her defeat the platoon of soldiers sent after her but show them a mercy they’d never afford her. The result is a villain who feels like a natural and effortless foil to Wonder Woman in action. While she’s been known to take lives in extreme circumstances, Wonder Woman’s efforts to help and protect all peoples flies in the face of Sgt. Stone’s first form of “diplomacy.” Diana is someone willing to give others the benefit of the doubt, while Stone orders his men to carry out lethal tactics before the option of peaceful surrender can even be broached.
The fact that he’s an agent of the United States military complex adds another layer to their conflict, as he serves as a grim showcase of the kind of man Steve Trevor could have been. While Steve proved himself heroic in the long run, that same institution that trained him also ultimately created Sgt. Stone. It turns the idea of one of Diana’s oldest allies on its head and creates a monster instead. As a likely frequent foe in Wonder Woman’s investigation of the seemingly murderous Amazonian, Sgt. Stone has the makings for an ideal reoccurring nemesis. But Wonder Woman #1 makes it clear he won’t be the overarching threat of the series.
The King Of America Vs. The Princess Of The Amazons
The final pages of Wonder Woman #1 formally introduce the King of America, otherwise known as the Sovereign, a mysterious and elderly figure who is dripping with malice and ill-intent. The King of America is the latest in a long line of silent rulers, who’ve seemingly been in North America longer than the United States has existed. This first King of America led an assault on the women tribes of central Virginia, razing the land and slaughtering everyone they encountered. In doing so, he was able to claim the Lasso of Lies and use its mysterious power to bolster his standing in a developing world. With the Lasso of Lies in hand, the developing nation believed whatever lies they were told — specifically that they were self-governed and capable of directing their future for themselves. The Lasso has been passed down to the current moniker of the title, who sits atop a golden throne and seemingly rules America from secret. It’s a compelling concept to pit against Wonder Woman, as the King of America seems to operate as a direct foil to Wonder Woman in a number of ways.
Beyond their difference in age and gender, the King of America represents many of the qualities that Wonder Woman has long strived to undo. While Diana was also born royalty to a secret society, the King of America seems to horde his power over the world. This stands in stark contrast to Diana, who’s been shown willing to abdicate her throne for the greater good with humility and grace. The Lasso of Lies is the clear opposite of the Lasso of Truth that Wonder Woman wields, with its ability to convince others of falsehoods making it an interesting counterpart to Diana’s ability to compel the truth from liars. The King of America embraces a legacy of control and ownership over the United States, the origins of his dynasty irrevocably tied to the slaughter of innocent natives by colonizers from Western Europe.
Wonder Woman by contrast is an immigrant in its purest form, a woman proud of her heritage and birthplace who has come to see America as her home. The King of America is a clear thematic opposite of the morals and ideals that Wonder Woman embodies, highlighting the kind of ingrained threat that her efforts are driven to overcome. Both the Sovereign and Sgt. Stone make compelling contrasts to Wonder Woman, and should hopefully prove a strong pair of foes for DC’s premiere heroine to overcome.
Wonder Woman’s two new enemies are clear and engaging contrasts to the Amazonian hero and could be very compelling villains in Tom King’s comic. Read More