The following contains spoilers for Knight Terrors: Wonder Woman #2, now on sale from DC Comics.

Superheroes are often portrayed as flawless figures within their stories. In Wonder Woman's case, she's a nigh-unstoppable character who is practically divine. But there are still key elements of her that are at odds with who she is and how she is often portrayed.

Knight Terrors: Wonder Woman #2 (by Josie Campbell, Juan Ferreyra, and Pat Brosseau) focuses on the titular hero's inner fears about herself. Specifically, the dark self-reflection of Wonder Woman highlights all the inherent contradictions baked into the character. It's a dark reflection of what makes her tick, but it also highlights the true human element at the core of the character.

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Wonder Woman's Worst Nightmare, Explained

Wonder Woman is confronted by her nightmare self in Knight Terrors: Wonder Woman #2

Despite her commitment to peace and unity, Wonder Woman has always been full of contradictions. For all her talk of peace, she was trained in the ways of the warrior from a young age and has proven willing to use those skills in dire circumstances. She does her best to be among the people, even as her divine connections place her far beyond mortal men. These differences have always provided a good bit of drama for the character, highlighting how Wonder Woman lives in two worlds that she can't fully be a part of. This is especially true during the events of Knight Terrors, which delves fully into her worst fears and highlights their potential dark sides.

Along with almost the rest of the world, Wonder Woman has found herself placed into a deep unnatural sleep by Insomnia. Harboring a deep loathing for superheroes and a commitment to finding the Nightmare Stone, the villain has locked nearly everyone in a horrible dreamscape filled to the brim with their worst fears. In some cases, these fears are literal nightmare scenarios where old allies turn evil. Others highlight unlikely scenarios where their unique personalities are scaled down to fit a more traditional and dull existence. Wonder Woman is confronted by a vision of herself, or at least her worst fear of what she is. In Knight Terrors: Wonder Woman #2, Diana is confronted with a monstrous version of Wonder Woman, which highlights all the deep-seated fears Wonder Woman has about herself - and she has a point.

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The Contradictions Of Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman in her god form in Knight Terrors: Wonder Woman #2

The monstrous Diana forces visions onto Wonder Woman that speak to her core contradictions (and superheroes as a whole). The dark Diana notes that Wonder Woman's efforts to preach peace often come with the threat of violence, noting that she enforces pacifism with war and pain. For all her heroism, she is still fueled in part by rage, speaking to the combative nature of the Amazons. Despite her claims of pure heroism, this vision suggests that Wonder Woman partially engages in heroics as a means to satisfy her bloodlust and rage. Even her divinity is painted in a dark light, as something that separates Wonder Woman from the people she swore to protect and turns her into the kind of monster she usually fights.

This vision recalls the terrible acts of prior deities, and how Wonder Woman operates on a similar scale, demanding humanity's submission and punishing them when they get out of line. There is no way for Wonder Woman to lose these dark elements or to fully overcome these contradictions, but the realization that they exist is something that the hero is able to latch onto. Wonder Woman argues that she is indeed flawed and compex, just as any mortal woman would be. This gives her a true understanding of humanity in a way other gods don't comprehend. It's through the acceptance of these facts that Wonder Woman is able to overcome her nightmare and escape the dreamscape to take part in Knight Terror's finale.

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Wonder Woman's Contradictions Make Her Relatable

Wonder Woman embraces her humanity in Knight Terrors: Wonder Woman #2

Wonder Woman's internal conflict over her methods has been a theme with the character for years. It was notably a major element of her Kingdom Come counterpart, who Batman noted had been barred from Paradise Island for her embrace of violence. There's an inherent conundrum in the idea that one must "fight for peace," and it's something Wonder Woman has always had in her DNA. Going back to the earliest days of the character, willing submission was a core element of her methods. Especially in the modern era, where Wonder Woman has been made a literal demigod, her humanity has been held up as a contradiction of her immortality and perfection. That divinity is itself inherently flawed, as Wonder Woman can be fooled or make mistakes. Her confidence can be shaken, and she can be left heartbroken, all things that a supposedly perfect deity would be free of. this is what makes Wonder Woman a contradictory character.

However, this is also what elevates her as a character. She's a perfect deity, a beautiful immortal warrior queen who nevertheless understands and empathizes with humanity. She understands that life is messy, and that sometimes there is no easy answer. She doesn't want to fight but has been forced to accept that sometimes one must. The idea that even gods must compromise is a very human perspective on divinity. It's these elements that keep Wonder Woman grounded amidst the people she's sworn to protect, and it's her efforts to confront these fears and accept them as a part of herself that makes her relatable.

Wonder Woman being forced to confront these contradictions and rise above them prove that even deities can have sympathetic missions. Knight Terrors has been a compelling event primarily as a means of exploring what makes the DC heroes and villains tick on an internal level. Even beyond their normal motivations and classic rivalries, the event has been a clever way to explore the underlining threads of these iconic characters. Wonder Woman being confronted with her inherent contradictions gives her a chance to accept them, just as we all must accept our contradictions within ourselves. It's what makes us (and someone as flawless as Wonder Woman) human. It's a key element of what makes the character work, even as it also makes her contradictory on a fundamental level.