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

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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

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 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 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

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