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

International Iron Man 2

internat'l iron man2

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing International Iron Man 2, originally released April 27th, 2016.

Patrick: We hear a lot of grumbling about the ubiquity of original stories in superhero fiction. Hell, I do a bunch of it myself. Aside from the fact that we’ve basically seen them all before, one of the reasons these stories feel so unsatisfying is because there’s a huge leap in logic from traumatizing inciting event to costumed superheroics. A young Bruce Wayne sees his parents gunned down, and the only gaps between that and Batman that we ever need filled in are those that answer how he become such a physical bad-ass. But obsessions, passions and pathologies don’t develop in an instant — they grow over a lifetime. International Iron Man 2 explores more of what makes Tony Stark tick in those small, measured moments between dramatic reveals, even as Tony himself searches for answer he knows will be unsatisfying. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 10

wicked and divine 10

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 10, originally released May 6th, 2015.

You know what hope is?
Hope is a bastard.
Hope is a liar, a cheat and a tease.
Hope comes near you?
Kick its backside:
Got no place in times like these.

Ben Folds and Nick Hornby, “Picture Window”

Patrick: The world of The Wicked + The Divine posits that everyone wants something just beyond their reach. Fans just want to connect with the gods, the gods just want to live a little bit longer. Their goals always seem tenable, but for the simple fact that they aren’t. This extends directly to the reader — ten issues in and we should be able to speak more definitively about whether Lucifer killed that judge, but we can’t. This issue explores the gulf created by what the characters want, and only sheepishly celebrates what they have. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 7

Alternating Currents: The Wicked and The Divine 7, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 7, originally released January 21st, 2015.

Drew: Religion is such a weird thing in comics. Both of the Big Two feature actual gods in their publishing line, which opens up a whole host of ontological questions — Did these gods play a role in the creation of the universe? How did they come to exist? — but these characters largely aren’t designed to answer religious questions. Just like Superman isn’t really about the existential questions raised by alien societies, the likes of Thor and Wonder Woman aren’t really about mythology — goddom is just another avenue to explain why your characters would have superpowers. It was easy for me to confuse The Wicked + The Divine with this type of story — neither is ultimately interested in the religious implications of having gods up and walking around — but as the series’ themes continue to solidify, it’s become ever more apparent that the powers don’t matter, either. “God” is just an exaggerated stand-in for “teen idol,” and given the way our society treats celebrities, it’s not that much of an exaggeration. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 5

wicked and divine 5

Today, Suzanne and Spencer are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 5, originally released October 22nd, 2014.

Suzanne: Comic book solicitations bring out my cynical side. How can they so casually throw around phrases like “changed forever,” “new status quo” and “earth-shattering events”? Does every sentence need to end with an exclamation point?! I get that their purpose is for marketing and selling comics, really I do. But the end result is that readers expect instant gratification each month. Some of us lose sight of the bigger picture — story arcs need time to build dramatic tension and not every issue will (or should) end in a cliffhanger or a climactic moment. I’d go a step further and argue that smaller moments can be equally important to character and plot development.

The Wicked + The Divine 5 effortlessly combines shocking, “game changing” events with softer character reactions. The first four issues of this series laid the groundwork for this departure. Gillen and McKelvie gave readers hints of what these gods were capable of like Sakhmet’s fierce, primal aggression. But this issue invokes an awe and apprehension in readers that mirrors Laura’s fangirl reaction to The Pantheon. Continue reading

Wonder Woman 34

wonder woman 34Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Wonder Woman 34, originally released October 1st, 2014

“Hey mouse, say cheese.”
<Bart takes a picture of the Itchy robot, scrambling its circuits.>
“With a dry cool wit like that, I could be an action hero.”

Bart Simpson, Itchy & Scratchy Land

Patrick: It’s a good thing all of our action heroes have a team of writers working quietly behind them, because audiences hold this irrational expectation that heroic actions be punctuated by hilarious, insightful, precise quips. This is a trend that I’ve come to hate, largely because those pure little micro-tweets are so seldom earned. How do you put a character through the paces so thoroughly that acerbic wit feels natural tumbling out of their victorious mouths? They’re not poets or comedians or scholars — they’re warriors, but somehow they know to belch out a characteristically perfect “Yippy-kai-yay, motherfucker” or a “Welcome to Earth” or even a “get away from her, you bitch!” Thing is: those three examples all work because we’re there with Bruce Willis, Will Smith and Sigourney Weaver. It’s not just about having the dry cool wit, but waiting until the audience and the character need the release of such a quip, instead of handing them out willy-nilly. As Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang narrow in on their epic Wonder Woman conclusion, they’re cashing in on all those cheesy action movie beats. And they’ve earned every damn second — the result is unadulterated climax, satisfying on just about every level. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 4

wicked and divine 4Today, Spencer and Suzanne are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 4, originally released September 17th, 2014.

Spencer: Last year I had the privilege of spending a day working as a roadie for my favorite band, Saves the Day. I was extremely fortunate that the guys in Saves lived up to my expectations; they’re probably the nicest, most genuine guys I know and went out of their way to make me feel comfortable, but even so, spending time backstage with them and their crew felt like entering a strange new world, with culture and customs all their own. I couldn’t help but think about this while reading Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked + The Divine 4, as Laura gets to spend time in the private world of her idols. But while I had the best day of my life, Laura seems to walk away from the experience in much deeper trouble than when she started. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 3

wicked and divine 3Today, Spencer and (guest writer) Shane are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 3, originally released August 20th, 2014.

Spencer: When Patrick and I would discuss Young Avengers, our articles would often turn into debates about whether the dialogue was “too clever” or not (I’m thinking of this article in particular). I’ve personally always thought that something being “too clever” wasn’t possible — I love distinctive, clever dialogue and prefer that to dialogue that tries to be realistic and instead comes across as bland or boring — but I admit I caught myself thinking “man, this might be too clever for it’s own good” once or twice as I read The Wicked + The Divine 3. Fortunately, I think there’s some sound, character-based reasons for the “cleverness” of the cast (specifically Morrigan and Baphomet) that helps to inform how the title’s pantheon view themselves compared to the world at large — and how the world at large views them. Continue reading