Breaking the Cycle in The Wicked + The Divine 36

by Spencer Irwin

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

It’s happening now. It’s happening again.

The Wicked + The Divine

Endless cycles are a motif that runs deep throughout The Wicked + The Divine, from the unending dysfunction and madness of the Pantheon, to the circle that makes up their logo and meeting table, to the very nature of their perpetual rise and fall, a neverending cycle of death and rebirth. In fact — if anything she’s said can ever be believed — one of Ananke’s greatest fears seemed to be the idea that this cycle could somehow be broken.

These are both ideas that Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, and Clayton Cowles dig into in The Wicked + The Divine 36, an issue that spends a shocking amount of space detailing yet another endless cycle, and the rest of the issue breaking an entirely different one. Continue reading

Secrets as a Weapon in The Wicked + The Divine 35

by Spencer Irwin

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

It should be no surprise that almost every character in Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked + The Divine are hiding major secrets, nor that, as the series enters its final year, more and more of those secrets are coming to light. What might be a bit surprising, though, is how well the cast leverages these secrets — both their own and others’ — in order to get what they want. Secrets can be a liability, but in the world of WicDiv, they’re just as often an asset, a weapon just waiting to be fired. Continue reading

The Art of Doling Out Answers in The Wicked + The Divine 34

by Spencer Irwin

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

There are some stories that fall apart once they start giving out answers. Maybe all it had going for it was its mysteries, or maybe the mythology ended up dull or nonsensical, or maybe they spelled everything out in a long, listless exposition drop — the point is, the spark’s gone once the story reveals its secrets. Thankfully, The Wicked + The Divine is not one of those stories. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie turn doling out answers into an art-form, finding ways to fascinate even when revealing truths to their cast that readers already know. Continue reading

“High” and “Low” Art Collide in The Wicked + The Divine 1923AD

by Spencer Irwin

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

The difference between “high” and “low” art has always seemed rather arbitrary and elitist to me, but that hasn’t stopped debates about the two from raging in one way or another for centuries. That conflict is the heart of The Wicked + The Divine 1923AD, manifesting both in the actual plot and in the format in which Kieron Gillen chooses to tell his story, a tale and a format that can really only serve as celebrations of all kinds of art: “high,” “low,” or otherwise. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine Christmas Annual 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Drew Baumgartner

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

Spencer: One of the most common complaints about prequels is that everyone “already knows the ending,” but sometimes that inevitability can be an asset. Take The Wicked + The Divine Christmas Annual 1, for example. Writer Kieron Gillen and a bevy of talented guest artists fill the special with tales from the early days of the Pantheon. Most are fairly sweet and upbeat in isolation, but when viewed in context with the events that follow, suddenly become much more bittersweet. The inevitable history these characters must someday face creates extra layers of meaning for each story, making the special as a whole that much richer. Continue reading

It’s the Old vs. the Young in The Wicked + The Divine 33

by Spencer Irwin

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

The Wicked + The Divine 33 is an absolute gamechanger of an issue (I know we put a spoiler warning before every article, but I just want to reiterate — you do not want this issue spoiled), one that made me rethink everything I thought I knew about the series, and which has me eager to go back and reread it from the beginning. Writer Kieron Gillen addresses this in his letter that closes the issue, stating that he and artist Jamie McKelvie have been unable to even disclose one of the three major themes of the series before because it would have spoiled issue 33’s big reveals. With so much out in the open now, though, I think I have a solid idea what that theme might be. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 28

Alternating Currents: Wicked + The Divine 28, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 28, originally released April 12th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: Fatalism has always been baked into the world of The Wicked and the Divine. Right from the start, we understood that the pantheon were destined to die, though the exact reasons for their death remained mysterious. In the wake of Ananke’s death, our characters have begun to question whether or not they are truly doomed to die — they know only what Ananke told them, but no longer trust her words. As the pantheon variously pursue their different paths, some in hopes of defying what may-or-may-not be their destiny, I can’t help but wonder if their names might offer some hint about what those destinies might be. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 26

wicked-and-divine-26Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 26, originally released February 8, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Set in the aftermath of Ananke’s death, “Imperial Phase (Part 1)” has been an arc all about figuring out what to do next. Last month’s cliffhanger finally presented a tangible threat in the form of the Great Darkness (or at least some of its agents), but if you thought that’d be enough to unite the Pantheon against a common enemy, you’d be sadly mistaken. The Wicked + The Divine 26 finds these gods as divided and lost as ever…and perhaps suggests that’s the way they’re meant to be? Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 25

wicked-and-divine-25Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 25, originally released January 4th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: There’s been an air of aimlessness to The Wicked + The Divine‘s fifth arc; with Ananke dead, it seems like the Pantheon don’t really know what to do with themselves. This quality is clearly a purposeful choice on Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s part, as this entire storyline seems to revolve around figuring out “what comes next?” Issue 25 provides at least one solution (in the most shocking way possible), but what may be more significant is the way it emphasizes — both to the Pantheon and the audience — what questions about the future they should actually be trying to answer in the first place. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 23

wicked-and-divine-23

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 23, originally released November 2nd, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: The epistolary novel — a novel told as a series of documents (letters, newspaper clippings, etc) — presents an intriguing contradiction of allure. The thought of holding “real” evidence of a story brings it closer to us, while their existence distances us from the immediacy of the events they describe. That tradeoff can be mitigated when only a portion of the narrative is epistolary; in presenting both a traditional narrative and physical evidence of that narrative, storytellers can have their cake and eat it too. This is a tactic that is remarkably common in comics, where text and image already freely mix to create illusions of reality in a way that simply isn’t true of prose. Watchmen is obviously the most well-known example of augmenting a traditional comic with epistolary documents, but countless series have employed the technique since. I would argue, however, that none of those examples — including Watchmen — justify the existence of those documents quite as elegantly as The Wicked + The Divine 23. Continue reading