The “How” of the Reveal in The Wicked + The Divine 38

by Spencer Irwin

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

One of the things I appreciate the most about Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s collaborations is the way they handle big twists and reveals. Gillen and McKelvie rarely trade in big showy twists (and when they do — such as in the “I Am Ananke” moment — they tend to raise more questions than they answer); instead, major pieces of information are revealed with such subtlety that one could almost miss them, and usually have plenty of evidence pointing their way long before the theories are finally confirmed, rewarding loyal, eagle-eyed readers. The Wicked + The Divine 38 clarifies several major pieces of information this way, furthering the plot, deepening its characters, and taking advantage of this arc’s unique structure in the process. Continue reading

There’s No Escaping History in The Wicked + The Divine 37

by Spencer Irwin

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

History is an intrinsic facet of The Wicked + The Divine in multiple ways. Its story — and deities — have existed for the majority of recorded human history, and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have gone to great lengths to accurately reflect that throughout the series. History is also a far more personal thing in WicDiv, though. There’s not a single character who can escape the pull of their own personal history, be it the baggage of Ananke/Minerva’s own six thousand year long existence, or the brief-yet-intense history behind the Morrigan and Baphomet/Marian and Cameron’s complex, tragic romance. Both tales reach inevitable — yet very different — climaxes in WicDiv 37. 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 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 1831 1

wicked-and-divine-1831-1Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 1831 1, originally released September 21st, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

–George Santayana

Spencer: The Wicked + The Divine‘s Pantheon live in a perpetual cycle of rebirth: as the opening scrawl reminds us, these deities are reborn every 90 years, whether they like it or not. It’s unclear exactly how much the Pantheon can remember of their previous incarnations — if they remember anything at all — but I get the impression that however much they remember, it’s not enough. Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans use The Wicked + The Divine 1831 to give readers their first extended glimpse at a previous Pantheon, and it proves to be enlightening in many ways. Turns out the Pantheon are caught in quite a few perpetual cycles, and most of them are far more destructive than their rebirths. 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