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

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Magna Tolvan is Lovable, to a Distracting Degree, in Doctor Aphra 14

by Taylor Anderson

Doctor Aphra 14

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

The great thing about Star Wars comics is that we’re introduced to characters from the extended universe we would never meet otherwise. I mean, Han, Luke, Leia, and Darth are all pretty compelling characters, but forty years worth of stories surrounding them means there isn’t a whole lot left to say about them. Dr. Aphra, then, is a great series in this regard. Aphra herself is a compelling character, but the title is made so much better by the rich cast of characters that surrounds her. However, if these characters lose their charm or act in ways that don’t make sense then there’s not a whole lot for an issue to fall back on save for space battles and explosions.

Continue reading

Star Wars 38: Discussion

By Mark Mitchell and Spencer Irwin

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

Mark: As a Star Wars fan, the 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was exciting for a lot of reasons, but, in hindsight, perhaps the best thing to come out of the buzz surrounding the franchise’s cultural relaunch was the reemergence of Carrie Fisher into the public consciousness. Look, Mark Hamill seems delightful, and Harrison Ford’s turn into Curmudgeon With a Heart of Gold has become more tolerable with time, but Fisher was uniquely witty and genuine. Even if you’ve seen it before, please take a moment to watch her December 2015 interview on Good Morning America. Has there been a more perfect promotional tour interview? Fisher’s ability to simultaneously fulfill her corporate mandate and lampoon the absurdity of the situation while also being charming and warm illustrates just how much of a pro she was. She’s effortlessly charming in a way that immediately puts the lie to the transparently vacuum-sealed “Stars — They’re Just Like Us!” celebrities usually foisted upon viewers in the overenunciating hours of daytime television.

I don’t know how Fisher viewed her return to the role of Leia Organa, but I hope she was pleased. And if her likeness is going to be the property of the Walt Disney Company in perpetuity, than I’m glad she was able to portray General Organa in her later years, and that both versions of the character can continue to exist in the Star Wars comics going forward. Continue reading

The Futility of Action in The Wicked + The Divine 32

by Spencer Irwin

The Wicked + The Divine 32

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

Something Amateratsu said way back in the first issue of The Wicked + The Divine has always stuck with me — she said that the Pantheon exist to inspire. This implies that their direct ability to change the world, for better or for worse, is limited; like most creators and performers, their true strength is (or at least should be) their ability to move others through their art. This seems an especially significant point to keep in mind while reading issue 32, which finds the futility in all of its characters’ attempts at grand gestures or plans — but especially Dionysus’. Continue reading

An Ending (of Sorts) in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 12

by Michael DeLaney

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

Ah the finale: the last word a creator has on a particular story before they say goodbye. Some finales are literally the final word on a story, while others leave the door open for future adventures. Doctor Aphra 13 is an example of the latter — Kieron Gillen’s final story with Aphra before passing her on to writer Simon Spurrier. Continue reading

Fear as a Motivator in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 12

by Michael DeLaney

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

Fear is a powerful motivator, especially in the Star Wars universe. After all, Anakin Skywalker’s (misguided) fear of losing his wife transformed him into Darth Vader. In Doctor Aphra 12, the “good” doctor makes a lot of desperate moves in order to avoid one of her great fears: Darth Vader himself. Continue reading

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

Black Krrsantan’s Past Is Finally Revealed in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Annual 1

by Mark Mitchell

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

Doctor Aphra is a book built around taking familiar characters from the Star Wars universe and remixing them by removing their moral compasses. Chelli Aphra is the Han Solo who would have taken his reward at the end of A New Hope and never looked back as the Rebels attacked the Death Star. Her robot compatriots, BeeTee and Triple-Zero, are the lovable C-3PO and R2D2, but also they’re always looking for opportunities to murder. And Black Krrsantan? He’s always been a bit of a mystery, but Doctor Aphra Annual 1 revels in finally letting the audience in on his past. Continue reading

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 Joy of Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 10 is the Supporting Cast

by Mark Mitchell

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

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but Kieron Gillen and Kev Walker’s Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 10 once again illustrates that the joys of these Star Wars comics are frequently not in their ostensible stars. Chelli Aphra as a character is interesting enough to do no harm, but the real highlights of the issue are the supporting cast; Toov and his Iron Lung of The Future, the Ezaraa and their delusions of grandeur, BeeTee and Triple-Zero’s turning their boredom into dangerous tinkering, each is much more interesting than the mechanizations of the plot. Continue reading