The Wicked + the Divine #19 Written by Kieron Gillen Art by Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson Letters by Clayton Cowles Published by Image Comics There are so many things that can be used to describe what happens in this particular issue of The Wicked + The Divine. Many of the expletive laden. For now, …
The Wicked + the Divine #18 Written by Kieron Gillen Art by Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson Letters by Clayton Cowles Published by Image Comics Persephone is back, and to paraphrase the theme of The Phenomenal One, Ananke don’t want none. After taking a three month break, The Wicked + The Divine returns with the …
Fans of the series should not miss Commerical Suicide, which gives deep character insight and thematic development to the questions of identity, personal and public, through disparate experiences and art that solidify the similarities inside celebrity and fan alike.
The fact Phonogram is ending is sad, but The Immaterial Girl was the story it needed to go out on. The final issue isn’t full of bombast or drama, but of goodbyes, uncertainty of the future, and new beginnings.
5. Paper Girls (Image) Paper Girls #1-3 Written by Brian K. Vaughan Art by Cliff Chiang Colors by Matthew Wilson Letters by Jared K. Fletcher Only three issues in, Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang’s Paper Girls has already piqued intense fandom. Grounded in the recognizably familiar–1988 Midwestern suburbia–with its head in the clouds–aliens on dinosaurs, time travelers, …
If it wasn’t obvious before, the “Commercial Suicide” arc of WicDiv is about the personal tragedies of the Pantheon members. If the first half was about misogyny, it seems like the second half is about the personal choices of women. This becomes fairly obvious in the final issue of the arc, which is about Sakhmet.
With David taking his bow and using the last of his power from Britannia, Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #5 feels like more of an ending than anything else we’ve seen from the Phonogram series. As Emily and David’s story shifts more into the “present” of 2009-2010, we see the closest they might actually get to growing up. For David, it’s learning how to be a decent human being. For Emily, it’s accepting her death. Morbid as it can be, Team Phonogram creates a story in this issue that gives the characters room to do that without sacrificing who they are at their cores. With the groundwork laid and with Emily running out of time, the finale looks to be a heart-racer and a heart-wrencher.
While it may initially appear irrelevant to the rest of the plot, Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4 may be one of Gillen, McKelvie, Cowles, and Wilson’s finest hours as a creative team. By using the tropes and tics of a popular and defining work, they manage to tell a story that both plays with the central theme of the arc and the central theme of the work referenced in astoundingly creative ways. It’s fun, electric, and even just a bit precious.
While not as explosive and bombastic as previous issues in this arc, the penultimate issue in WicDiv’s “Commercial Suicide” arc succeeds perfectly at what it sets out to be: a tragic teenage goth love story. Between Gillen’s strong and melancholy writing and Del Duca and Lopes’ dark and expressive art, the story of how Marian and Cameron became The Morrigan and Baphomet is one that feels all too real in a surreal universe. Now the question is will Baph continue to run from death or will he let it be?
At New York Comic Con, I had the opportunity to chat with prolific colorist Matthew Wilson about his colors and process on The Wicked + the Divine and Phonogram, his relationships with various artists as well as get a sneak peek of the upcoming Black Widow series he is working on with writer Mark Waid (Archie) and artist Chris Samnee (Daredevil). Wilson first came to prominence with his colors on Phonogram: Singles Club with frequent collaborators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie and has colored a variety of Marvel books, like Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Wolverine, and Secret Avengers. He recently finished a run on Daredevil with Waid and Samnee and is currently taking a break from the Eisner nominated WicDiv as guest artists draw and color this arc. Matthew Wilson is also the colorist on Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl and Paper Girls from Image Comics and Deadpool vs. Thanos from Marvel as well as the upcoming Mighty Thor and Black Widow from Marvel.
Gillen has said many times the series is about problematic people doing problematic things, and WicDiv #15 is no exception. With Amaterasu trying so hard to make her last years on Earth count for something, it makes her blind to people she could be hurting unintentionally. Well, not completely since she does listen to Cassandra when she tells her forming a giant fireball over Hiroshima is a really terrible idea. Still, with her time running out and her friends dropping off, it becomes a part of her own personal tragedy, which is what makes her in this issue so compelling.
Laura’s been our naive and unreliable narrator this whole time. She’s been our witness and audience analog since the beginning. But as of issue #11, page 22, she’s dead. Except maybe she isn’t. We aren’t the first to put forth this possibility. The germ of this article came from reviews of issue #14, “The Re-Re-Remix,” that included something like, “a new Valkyrie who may or may not be Laura.” But the evidence pointing to Persephone’s return in the form of Woden’s mysterious new companion is, in our minds, nearly incontrovertible.
Unless you’re a big fan of 1990s British pop punk and riot grrl music, the name Kenickie is just a character of Grease to you. (Only one of their songs is available to stream on Spotify, but some of their live performances and music videos are on YouTube.) However, the band plays a major role in the first issue of Phonogram: Rue Britannia as writer Kieron Gillen (making his comics debut) and artist/letterer Jamie McKelvie use them as a feminine alternative to the masculine power of the Brit Pop music that dominated the 90s and will play a major role in the series going forward. The first issue is about David Kohl, the series’ protagonist as he goes to Ladyfest in Bristol, England to leach off the magical energies of these “pop-feminist” artists, meet with a phonomancer named Lady Vox, and most importantly to him, pick up women. He is a toxic agent in a space meant to empower, and McKelvie dresses in him in all black with a dark grey Superman sigil or “pop icon” that Kohl wears for the masculine power of the superhero with none of his morality or hopefulness.
With its witty (and wee bit pretentious) conversations about musical trends, smart design and color choices from Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, and robust character work with Emily Aster, Phonogram #1 reads like if The Smiths weren’t utter drama queens and made another album after Strangeways, Here We Come. (The Smiths are my favorite band so this is a high compliment as far as music metaphors go.)
As comic book readership becomes ever more aware of problems within popular media, it’s been harder and harder to find a book that isn’t problematic. Kelly Sue DeConnick’s ongoing independent book,Bitch Planet, is a gem in the slowly improving realm of comic books and geek culture.
In The Wicked + the Divine #10, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie explore the fallout of Cassandra becoming the final Pantheon member while also giving readers their first glimpse of Ragnarock, which makes Coachella look like your set at the middle school talent show. Gillen, McKelvie, and colorist Matthew Wilson lay on the tragedy while also looking into the lighter, more wondrous side of godhood. This issue is a big turning point in Laura’s personal arc as she gets to reflect and act upon the fact that she’s left out of the Pantheon, and McKelvie does little things with her facial expressions and character acting to show her feelings towards the various gods and fans. These all happen while Gillen starts to wrap up the first arc’s murder mystery, reflect on the twisted, yet beautiful nature of fandom, and continue to show Baphomet’s turn towards the dark side.
So, The Wicked + the Divine is a very strange series. It’s not one that’s easy to review as the series often eye drops information to the reader though off hand bits of dialogue. The story so far follows a pantheon of various deities all whom reincarnate every nine decades in the form of super inspirational icons. In the 21st century, the pantheon find themselves as pop stars bearing blatant parallels to the likes of Daft Punk, Kanye West, and Prince. All of this is perceived (mostly) from the view point of Laura, a super fan whom is out to solve the framing of Lucifer for murder.
Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie write and draw this issue as one big party while adding some insights into each deity and Laura too. They closely work with colorist Matthew Wilson, or this issue’s true MVP, to make WicDiv #8 the most acid-dropping, bass popping closest thing a digital or physical comic has gotten to one of those illegal warehouse raves.
The Wicked + the Divine #7 Written by Kieron Gillen Art by Jamie McKelvie Colors by Matthew Wilson Published by Image Comics The Wicked + the Divine #7 is all about the world-building. In the “Faust Act” arc, the focus was predominantly on Luci and Laura, but in “Fandemonium”, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie slow down the pace (slightly in this issue) and …
Cullen Bunn is unique. If nothing else can be said about him, he is certainly unique. The Empty Man shows the full extent of Bunn’s ability. The series focuses on two detectives as they struggle to sort out the mystery surrounding a series of suspicious deaths and murders. The deaths are connected by the strange hallucinations experienced by the perpetrators, as well as their last words “The Empty Man made me do it”. The Empty Man is unpredictable because it follows so very few tropes. Nothing like this series has been seen before, and readers will be asking themselves the same question over and over: Who is the Empty Man? (Or “What the F*ck?”).
The Wicked + the Divine #6 Written by Kieron Gillen Art by Jamie McKelvie Colors by Matthew Wilson Published by Image Comics If there is one word to describe The Wicked + the Divine #6 (WicDiv from now on) it would be: somber. The book begins in dreary Brockley, South London, and Matthew Wilson’s bright, gaudy palette has been muted …
There are many of definitions of comics out there. One French theorist Thierry Groensteen decided to not define comics, but instead create a system for them. Part of this system is the frame. The frame is a panel and its boundaries including the margins and gutters. The frame has various (actually six) functions. One of the functions of a frame …
In The Wicked + the Divine #2, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie get down to business and start to explore the ideas of divinities as pop stars through the lens of their biggest fan Laura, the protagonist of the series and their biggest detractor, the aptly named Cassandra, a reporter and former comparative mythology student.