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

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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

Effectively Establishing a Large Cast of Distinct Characters in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 71

by Spencer Irwin

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 71 is a masterclass in quickly establishing an entire group of distinct, memorable characters (seriously, Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Kevin Eastman, Dave Wachter, and Ronda Pattison should be teaching a class on it). This issue has the unenviable task of finally introducing the “Pantheon” in full, but it’s a challenge the creative team tackles with gusto, making each new character immediately distinct, their personalities and relationships with their siblings immediately clear. It not only makes a heaping helping of new information easy to digest, but fun to as well. 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 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

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