The Wicked + The Divine 31: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Spencer Irwin

Wicked + The Divine 31

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

In order to increase the likelihood that students will call for medical assistance in an alcohol-related emergency, some colleges and universities have instituted “Good Samaritan” or medical amnesty policies that eliminate or reduce judicial consequences for students involved in alcohol-related medical emergencies. Other schools may reject this type of strategy based on arguments such as the need to “avoid sending the wrong message” about the seriousness of underage drinking.

Doborah K. Lewis & Timothy C. Marchell,
Safety first: a medical amnesty approach
to alcohol poisoning at a U.S. university”

Drew: I first encountered the notion of a medical amnesty policy in college, though I can’t say I gave it much thought at the time. Indeed, it wasn’t until I was in a position to be worried about dangerously drunk/overdosing students not coming forward (I worked for several years at a summer camp for high-school students) that I started to appreciate how boneheaded the “avoid sending the wrong message” camp truly is. Mostly, it just forgets that the rules against drinking and alcohol use are there for the safety of the students in the first place, somehow valuing the sanctimonious tut-tutting of saying “you shouldn’t drink” over, you know, saving the life of a kid who broke the rules. It’s such an obviously flawed attitude, I was honestly taken aback when I saw reports that some sheriff in Florida was explicitly not offering amnesty to folks with warrants seeking shelter from Hurricane Irma. Or, more specifically, he was insisting on conducting unconstitutional ID checks in order to deter anyone with a warrant from seeking the refuge of a hurricane shelter, endangering their lives because he somehow values laws — the things society makes in order to protect people — more than actually protecting people.

Before I get too off topic, my point is that we’re often too preoccupied with the letter of the law to really parse its spirit. Certain things may be illegal because they’re dangerous, but if coming forward about illegal activity makes things objectively less dangerous, we should encourage that behavior. The article I quoted at the top of this piece offers objective data in support of that idea after studying a medical amnesty policy at Cornell, but I think it’s crucial to note that this type of thinking doesn’t just operate at the institutional level. Even in our daily lives we often react badly to honesty simply because we dislike the truths being revealed, but like the researchers at Cornell, we must recognize how that attitude only makes the situation worse. I found myself thinking about this phenomenon a great deal as I read The Wicked + The Divine 31, as issues of amnesty (and lack thereof) cropped up throughout the issue. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 29 Continues to Ask “What Comes Next?”

by Spencer Irwin

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

The first part of the “Imperial Phase” storyline was all about answering the question “what comes next?” — all about the Pantheon figuring out how to proceed after Ananke’s death, and generally doing so in the most self-indulgent manner possible. In The Wicked + The Divine 29, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson kick off the second part of “Imperial Phase” by asking the same exact question, only this time in the aftermath of Sakhmet’s deadly attack on her followers. The Pantheon’s answers to that question don’t appear to have changed much. 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 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

The Wicked + The Divine 19

wicked and divine 19Today, Spencer and Shane Patrick are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 19, originally released May 4th, 2016.

Spencer: For a series about literal gods, The Wicked + The Divine has spent very little time exploring the idea of “belief.” I suppose that makes sense — these gods exist whether you believe in them or not, and probably care little either way. Issue 19 doesn’t change that, but it does explore belief in an entirely different context. With the Pantheon now split into two warring camps, each member’s loyalties seem to depend on which figurehead’s story they believe the most. Fascinatingly, though, writer Kieron Gillen seems to be hinting that neither Ananke nor Persephone can be trusted — or, at the least, both are hiding something big. Trying to discern the truth adds a lot of depth to this (already exciting) storyline. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 18

wicked and divine 18Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 18, originally released April 6th, 2016.

Spencer: The Wicked + The Divine is back after a nearly four month absence, and regular artists Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson have returned to the title after an even longer break. Not a single member of the creative team misses a beat, leaping headfirst into the title’s most action packed story yet, and one that draws deeply upon all the lore and characterization writer Kieron Gillen’s established in the past 17 issues. The Wicked + The Divine 18 never holds back and never slows down, so neither shall I. Let’s dive right in. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 16

wicked and divine 16Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 16, originally released November 11th, 2015.

Spencer: Back in 2012 I was supposed to go to the midnight premiere of The Hunger Games with a group of friends, but I ended up getting tickets to a different theater by accident. Rather than go by myself, I roped a friend who wasn’t a fan of franchise into going with me by playing up the movie’s violence and making it sound like something it wasn’t. He wasn’t happy with the movie, and I knew up front he wouldn’t be, but at the time I didn’t care — I just wanted him to come with me. I couldn’t help but to remember that anecdote while reading The Wicked + The Divine 16; The Morrigan’s inviting Baphomet into the Pantheon is equally selfish, if much more destructive in the long run than my boneheaded move.

(For the record, I did apologize, and he’s made me watch much worse)
Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 12

wicked and divine 12Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 12, originally released July 1st, 2015.

Spencer: In superhero comics, readers get used to seeing characters interpreted in myriads of ways. Everyone from Bill Finger to Frank Miller to Jim Lee has had their hands on Batman, and as a result, we’re able to accept Batman’s characterization in almost any incarnation, no matter how drastic the change. That’s great for accessibility, but much worse for consistency, especially when a character gets saddled with a less-than-stellar creative team. Indie books, on the other hand, allow for finite stories told by a single creative team, with some books (such as Saga) even deviating from a monthly release schedule in order to ensure that no fill-in artists will be needed. Throughout its first 11 issues The Wicked + The Divine stuck with a consistent team (Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, and Clayton Cowles), but issue 12 features Kate Brown as the series’ first fill-in artist. This artistic switch-up comes in the aftermath of the series’ most turbulent moment, and it’s the perfect way to illustrate how shaken-up the cast still is after last month’s sudden, tragic turn. Continue reading