by Spencer Irwin
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
See, I refuse to think of rock and roll as my career
Tell me all my opportunities, ask me if I care
The rock star lifestyle ain’t for me
Got somewhere else I’d rather be
So I quit
I quit, I quit
Fame isn’t for everyone; hell, fame isn’t for most people. But fame is also a trap, and something that takes a lot of work and luck to achieve, so I admire the hell out of anyone who’s willing to give it up, whether it be to broaden into less lucrative aspects of their medium or to get out of show business altogether. It takes a lot of clarity and guts to make that decision, and in The Wicked + The Divine 39, Laura Wilson — no longer Persephone — has both in droves.
After her disappearance in WicDiv 38, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson reintroduce Laura having gone full Britney Spears (a.k.a., she’s shaved her head and retreated from the limelight).
People misunderstood Spears, acting like her haircut was some sort of crime. I always took it as Spears attempting to regain control of her own personal narrative, lashing out at corporate forces that would drive her to the point of madness by robbing them of one of her greatest selling points. Laura’s realizations and decisions here — both to get an abortion and to no longer be Persephone — serve similar purposes, first of all by allowing Laura to regain control of her life.
Laura’s been fed a lot of stories of who she “should” be. Just watching the Pantheon perform led her to believe she belonged among them. Ananke stoked that desire, telling her she was a god, and even now the likes of Beth continue to push, refusing to believe that Laura could ever possibly want to be someone else.
Thus, Laura’s decisions are a giant middle finger to all those trying to pigeon-hole her and tell her what to do. She doesn’t realize it, but they’re also a giant middle finger to Ananke/Minerva.
Minerva believes that Laura’s decision to have an abortion means that she wins, but that’s all based off a lie the original Persephone told her. Minerva’s weakness is that she isn’t creative; she plays along with her sister’s story so closely that she doesn’t even realize when the narrative isn’t true. The only real ways to end a story are to finish it, or to stop reading it altogether, and one way or another, that’s what Laura’s done.
All of this folds back into the “gods as pop stars” metaphor Gillen and McKelvie have been working with since WicDiv began. Ananke/Minerva is still the greedy producer/manager who seeks to control others for her own gain, caring only about benefiting herself to the point where she can’t even consider other paths for any of them. Laura’s victory comes from breaking free of the lies, the glitz and glamour Ananke peddles, and defining success on her own terms, something Minerva is simply incapable of doing herself. Laura’s realization that, no matter what power she may wield, she’s still a person, not a god, is one many celebrities need to come to themselves, but few do. Laura gave up power, but found true power and strength from embracing the truth — sadly, that kind of foresight is rare, not just in Hollywood or the entertainment industry, but everywhere.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?