A Toxic Relationship Smorgasbord in The Wicked + The Divine 30

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

My best friend has a particularly notorious habit of falling for the absolute worst women. The poorer of a match they are for him, the more he’s attracted to them. He’s shrugged off our warnings with “well, you can’t help who you’re attracted to,” to which I would inevitably respond “Just because you’re attracted to someone doesn’t mean you need to always go for them!” It’s a statement that wouldn’t stop going through my head as I read Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked + The Divine 30, an issue chock full of dysfunctional, toxic relationships and characters who know how screwed up their love lives are, yet leap head-first into them anyway, as if they never had a choice.

This is most obvious with the Morrigan and Baphomet, the issue’s central players (along with Dionysus). Baph thinks he can just shrug off Morrigan’s abuse, that somehow sarcastically acknowledging and dismissing it makes it okay; he doesn’t necessarily think he deserves it, but a part of him still loves Morrigan, and he feels like the two of them are stuck with each other. There’s a sad fatalism to that, which I think would exist between these two even if they weren’t going to be dead within a year’s time.

As destructive as the Morrigan’s behavior is to Baphomet, she may be doing even more harm to herself. In order to keep Baphomet under her thumb, and in order to keep her pain over his infidelity fresh and continually burning, she’s purposefully denying a part of herself, repressing Gentle Annie so thoroughly that both she and Morrigan admit that we’ll probably never see her again.

Changing yourself this thoroughly to try to make a relationship work is textbook dysfunction, and again, seems to spring from the idea that Morrigan feels like she and Baphomet have to be together, no matter how miserable it’s making them. Persephone, likewise, has seemingly decided that it’s futile to fight her attraction to Sakhmet. She weeps as they kiss, no doubt realizing how wrong it is to hide the murderous Sakhmet and continue their relationship, yet likely feeling like she has no choice.

It all comes down to indulgence and self-control. Throughout the “Imperial Phase” storyline the cast has grown more and more hedonistic and self-indulgent, and more than anything, I think this issue proves that what the heart wants isn’t always good for the mind, that momentary pleasure doesn’t always bring lasting happiness. These kids would do well to look to Dionysus, who has developed a bit of a crush on Cassandra, yet doesn’t plan to act on it (because, of course, she’s a lesbian in a closed polyamorous relationship while he’s a man — his being asexual, though apparently not aromantic, shouldn’t have anything to do with it). I suppose there’s still time for Dio to screw this up, but for the moment, he’s the only member of the Pantheon who understands the benefits of restraint.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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