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The Wicked + The Divine

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alliterator professional crastinator from Southern California
professional crastinator
Jun 6th 2015 at 11:31:58 PM

So I want to make a thread for this awesome series, because issue #11 was a complete Wham Episode and holy shit.

So, in case you haven't heard of it, here is the basic premise: every ninety years, there are twelve people who turn out to be gods. They become famous, they get worshiped, and in two years, they are dead. This is called the Recurrence.

At the start of the series, Laura was a fan of one of the Pantheon and basically got roped into investigated a murder attempt (and framing) of the god Lucifer (or Luci). And then a bunch of shit went down and bad things happened.

Fast forward to issue #11 that just came out this week and holy shit.

Ananke shows up and tells Laura that she is the thirteenth member of the Pantheon, Persephone. Laura transforms and starts to sing...and then Ananke fucking kills her.

And then her parents show up and Ananke kills them too and explodes the house.

Clearly this isn't the end, but holy shit.

"What, you think I won't fight a dinosaur? Are you crazy? All I want to do is fight dinosaurs." — Squirrel Girl
Tiamatty X-Men X-Pert from Now on Twitter Relationship Status: Brony
Jun 7th 2015 at 12:04:28 AM

I've been loving this series. One of the things I like is just how diverse the cast is. Laura herself if mixed race. So is Cassandra, who's also transgender. Pretty much all the gods are pansexual.

It's funny, clever, and gorgeous. There's tons of drama and tragedy. Mc Kelvie shows that he is the best fashion artist in comics.

It really is an amazing series.

And yeah, the latest issue is pretty huge. I don't think it hit me as hard as it could've, because I'm expecting some degree of fake-out, at least for Laura. Her parents . . . not so much.

X-Men X-Pert, my blog where I talk about X-Men comics.
czhang from Canada Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Jun 8th 2015 at 7:13:25 PM

I was still in shock from Inanna's death because they're my fave, so I don't think Laura's death has really sunk in yet.

The body on the cover is pale skinned and not wrinkly, so I thought it ruled out all my faves except Cassandra, who had her danger moment last issue! I THOUGHT THEY WERE SAFE

Everything is perfect / it's falling into place / I just can't wipe this smile off my face
Tiamatty X-Men X-Pert from Now on Twitter Relationship Status: Brony
Jun 16th 2015 at 1:06:16 AM

Stephanie Hans will be doing an issue! That's amazing! She's my second-favourite artist of all time, behind only Emma Rios. She's worked with Gillen before - she did the covers for his Journey Into Mystery run, and she painted the final issue. They're also both doing Angela, but Hans is working with Bennett rather than Gillen, so it doesn't really count. She also does the covers for Angela.

Her artwork is gorgeous. It's stunning, beautiful stuff. So I am unbelievably excited for her issue of Wic Div.

X-Men X-Pert, my blog where I talk about X-Men comics.
LordofLore Relationship Status: Consider his love an honor
Rvdz Don't mock the shocker from in a bar, under the sea Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Don't mock the shocker
Aug 5th 2015 at 9:06:25 AM

Issue #13 is out. Has anyone read it yet? I'm not exactly sure what I think of it myself, but it was quite a gut-punch.

edited 5th Aug '15 9:18:18 AM by Rvdz

Sing the song of sixpence that goes burn the witch, we know where you live
Tiamatty X-Men X-Pert from Now on Twitter Relationship Status: Brony
Aug 5th 2015 at 2:11:10 PM

Tara. Fucking Tara. That was heartbreaking. The saddest issue of the series so far. Way harder than #11. The poor girl. I should've expected this, really. The whole series so far has been filled with people talking about how awful Tara is. (Fucking Tara.) So I should've known that Gillen would go completely the other direction with her.

Also, Tula Lotay's art is gorgeous.

X-Men X-Pert, my blog where I talk about X-Men comics.
Bocaj Funny, but not helpful from Here Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Tiamatty X-Men X-Pert from Now on Twitter Relationship Status: Brony
Aug 14th 2015 at 1:48:59 AM

Writer notes on #13. Re-reading the issue made me cry again. What a brutal issue.

In his notes, Gillen talks a lot about what inspired the issue. The Gamer Gate bullshit was a part of it. Also, a guy he knows got attacked hard by the Internet mob over something he did.

I kinda wonder how the people who get involved in celebrity-bashing and harassment and shit would react to reading this issue. Would any of them have, "Oh, yeah, this is really frigging wrong" realizations?

I hope if the Wic Div TV show ever happens, this issue gets included as an episode.

X-Men X-Pert, my blog where I talk about X-Men comics.
Rvdz Don't mock the shocker from in a bar, under the sea Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Don't mock the shocker
Dec 16th 2015 at 5:53:33 AM

I'm excited to read #17, but I'm also quite scared, because it's an arc finale by Gillen. The last two issues were good, but I do feel like this arc hit its peak with the Tara and Woden issues.

Edit: That was... alright? Didn't especially like the art and it felt really short. Also not sure how I feel about Sakhmet being a cannibal. Still, there was some good stuff, the beginning especially, and the 'inevitable cliffhanger' was great.

edited 16th Dec '15 6:26:09 AM by Rvdz

Sing the song of sixpence that goes burn the witch, we know where you live
Tiamatty X-Men X-Pert from Now on Twitter Relationship Status: Brony
Dec 20th 2015 at 12:01:08 AM

Yeah, the Tara (Fucking Tara) issue was unquestionably the stand-out issue of this arc. Absolutely. The Wodan issue was great, too, a look into a horrible mind. The Amaterasu issue had that gorgeous Stephanie Hans art. But the Tara issue . . . fuck. That issue crushed me. It still crushes me.

Just the same, I enjoyed the Sakhmet issue. She's such a weird character. It makes her fun. I loved the cannibal reveal. That is some fucked-up shit. Which is awesome.

X-Men X-Pert, my blog where I talk about X-Men comics.
Rvdz Don't mock the shocker from in a bar, under the sea Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Don't mock the shocker
Apr 6th 2016 at 11:36:20 AM

Issue 18 is finally out and it's a bit good. I'm not completely sold on some of the new looks the characters have, but that's really just a nitpick. It's actionpacked and it has some great moments. Brilliant final page too, as usual.

Sing the song of sixpence that goes burn the witch, we know where you live
Tiamatty X-Men X-Pert from Now on Twitter Relationship Status: Brony
TheHandle United Earth from Stockholm Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
United Earth
Jun 10th 2016 at 4:34:37 PM

I hate this comic. Above all, I hate those haircuts.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
alliterator professional crastinator from Southern California
professional crastinator
Jun 10th 2016 at 4:35:25 PM

Really? Or are you being facetious?

"What, you think I won't fight a dinosaur? Are you crazy? All I want to do is fight dinosaurs." — Squirrel Girl
TheHandle United Earth from Stockholm Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
United Earth
Jun 10th 2016 at 4:58:24 PM

To be precise, I have mixed feelings, and a very strong sense of annoyance. This comic, like its characters, is obnoxious and shallow, but at least it's interesting, in a novelty sort of way.

It's certainly no fucking Sandman, though. Not even an American Gods. Certainly not Pratchett-esque.

It's pretentious, high handed, judgemental, condescending, and tries way too hard to be nonchalant about it. It's a hipster tale in all the worst ways.

The things I like the most: Designated Villain Woden, the first character to have even remotely spelled out his motives in a coherent way. Or maybe I have a bias for his Daft Punk aesthetic. And Baphomet's awful puns. He and Sans could be great friends. And Tara, if they had only developed why the fuck people thought so badly of her, but I really hate that she was developed only to get killed.

Things I hate the most: Cassandra, who is a terrible journalist, the sort that confuses rudeness with incisiveness. She's constantly attacking everyone around her. And she doesn't pay her interns. Sekhmet. She's just made of squick. Ugh.

Baal is cool.

Overall, it's the kind of story where I desperately need to know how it ends, but I can't wait for it to fucking end already.

edited 10th Jun '16 4:59:38 PM by TheHandle

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
alliterator professional crastinator from Southern California
professional crastinator
Jun 10th 2016 at 7:00:41 PM

I don't think it's up there with The Sandman, but I do think it's a great story. Where you see hipsterishness, I see the story building characters using pop culture, similar to how Gillen did it in Young Avengers.

And the story itself is right now building towards the climax, with Persephone still alive and deciding to invade Valhalla.

"What, you think I won't fight a dinosaur? Are you crazy? All I want to do is fight dinosaurs." — Squirrel Girl
Tiamatty X-Men X-Pert from Now on Twitter Relationship Status: Brony
Jun 10th 2016 at 7:34:01 PM

Gillen and Mc Kelvie have both always had a fascination with pop culture and art, and their work together always plays off that stuff a lot. Gillen also has a fascination with terrible puns, so he includes plenty of them.

Gillen works tend to have a lot of layers to them. He's definitely a very smart writer, and he's always got things going on in the stuff he makes. What sets him apart from someone like Gaiman, though, is that he does also include a lot of bad jokes. And I think that might be what kinda alienates people. If Neil Gaiman wrote The Wicked + The Divine, it would be a very serious book, intellectual and dramatic. A few jokes here and there, but by and large, it would be serious. And because it was serious, people would spend more time reading into it, examining the themes and the messages and all that.

But Gillen and Mc Kelvie are poppier than that. Style is integral to their work, especially their work together, and they put in plenty of fun stuff. And I think, as a result, it kinda short-circuits the part of the brain we use when doing intellectual analyses of art. People are ready to think about themes, but then they see Baphomet lounging on a bone chair with the cockiest smile ever, in a panel whose theme is clearly "Baphomet is great." And I mean, his anger at being Nergal is something that actually does have a point behind it. It is, if nothing else, characterization, highlighting that he is, despite his badass veneer, a geek.

But because the series has so much fun, and so much style, I think that does somewhat distract from the themes. Because we're largely trained by pop culture to separate "fun" and "layered." A blockbuster movie might have a theme, but it's blunt and couldn't be clearer if the director popped on screen and yelled "THIS IS THE THEME!" The movies that are smart and layered are the arthouse flicks that nobody watches. They're dark and broody and they have shots that are just several minutes of staring at a field on an overcast day with nothing happening, or something pretentious like that.

So when something comes along that has horrible puns and exploding heads, even when we know there's a lot of thematic stuff going on, I think our brains rebel against it. And that leads to people calling it pretentious hipster crap.

And it leads to me wondering what an Official Wic Div Fuck-Pole would look like.

X-Men X-Pert, my blog where I talk about X-Men comics.
alliterator professional crastinator from Southern California
professional crastinator
Jun 10th 2016 at 9:44:27 PM

[up] I mean, there is a reason why the first volume of Gillen and McKelvie's Young Avengers is called Style > Substance.

Although I love the title of the third volume: Mic-Drop at the Edge of Time and Space.

"What, you think I won't fight a dinosaur? Are you crazy? All I want to do is fight dinosaurs." — Squirrel Girl
TheHandle United Earth from Stockholm Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
United Earth
Jun 11th 2016 at 2:19:27 AM

Gillen also has a fascination with terrible puns, so he includes plenty of them.

I love puns, a lot. Even when they're bad. "Shakespeare in the Dark" evil grin

And I mean, his anger at being Nergal is something that actually does have a point behind it. It is, if nothing else, characterization, highlighting that he is, despite his badass veneer, a geek.

I did not miss that. I just wish the execution was a bit less obnoxious. While Nergal shows up in a lot of stuff, none of it is very memorable, and he hardly has a fixed image in the popular psyche. In fact, that's a problem "demons" typically have. I don't see how Baal or Baphomet or even Lucifer are that much better. Yet the story treats it as something absolutely obvious. And then, when a contrast with a non-geek is introduced, it's by showing them not even knowing the difference between DC and Marvel!

But because the series has so much fun, and so much style, I think that does somewhat distract from the themes.

There's a lot of noise getting in the way, but I would argue the problem isn't style so much as irony and obfuscation. It's not like a Baz Luhrman film, where the style is overwhelming but the tale is transparent. It's more like a Thomas Mann novel, or maybe an F Scott Fitzgeral one, where the supremely delicate and finely-tuned prose constantly confounds and gets in the way of you getting through to the characters. Except when you do, your reward is getting to know a bunch of unlikeable assholes with a few redeeming qualities here and there, and said qualities are never allowed to truly shine, either.

Kind of the diametral opposite of, say, Undertale, where stupid jokes and styled aesthetics don't get in the way of communication, but reinforce it. Heh, "Death By Glamour".

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
alliterator professional crastinator from Southern California
professional crastinator
Jun 11th 2016 at 8:23:56 AM

And then, when a contrast with a non-geek is introduced, it's by showing them not even knowing the difference between DC and Marvel!
This is Truth in Television. A lot of my non-geek friends have asked, at one point or another, why they can't include Superman or Batman in with the Avengers.

"What, you think I won't fight a dinosaur? Are you crazy? All I want to do is fight dinosaurs." — Squirrel Girl
TheHandle United Earth from Stockholm Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
United Earth
Jun 11th 2016 at 8:46:52 AM Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
alliterator professional crastinator from Southern California
professional crastinator
Jun 11th 2016 at 9:25:48 AM

You and I know the difference between Marvel and DC, but to someone who doesn't read comics or read any comic news or watch the movies or anything, all the characters generally occupy a vague "comic book land" space.

It doesn't help that there have been crossovers between Marvel and DC, some of which explicitly take place in a universe where both company's characters co-exist.

(Also, Hawkeye is still canonically the only Avenger to also be a member of the JLA.)

edited 11th Jun '16 9:26:31 AM by alliterator

"What, you think I won't fight a dinosaur? Are you crazy? All I want to do is fight dinosaurs." — Squirrel Girl
Tiamatty X-Men X-Pert from Now on Twitter Relationship Status: Brony
Jun 11th 2016 at 7:09:03 PM

On a funny note: Gillen's original notes (written a while ago) had Laura asking why Spider-Man couldn't be in the Avengers. And then, well . . . Damn reality had to get in the way of a joke!

X-Men X-Pert, my blog where I talk about X-Men comics.

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