Archive for Wicked + the Divine

Santa Claus Kicks a Little Ass


Klaus #2

Things are still pretty grim in the town of Grimsvig, but we’re seeing some improvement, thanks to a barbarian who’s stealthily sneaking through the city and knocking out the guards. Not even the toughest or most thuggish of mooks seem to stand a chance against Klaus — and in the morning, all the kids in the city have incredibly awesome new toys. Will Lord Magnus and his spoiled son Jonah stand for this? By all that’s unholy and greedy, heck no!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice art, nice story. Fun to see burly, muscular Santa kicking up the badassery, and the stealth moments are some of the best in the story.


The Wicked + the Divine #17

Our focal character in this issue is Sakhmet, and our guest artist is the wonderful Brandon Graham. Sakhmet is a cat in human form, lazy and regal and bored and without cares and terribly, terribly dangerous — and really, the only way to keep her from going out and eating people is to make sure she’s sauced all the time. And hey, it’s the end of a storyarc — what’s the big game-changing cliffhanger this time? It’s not an earth-shattering one this time, but it’s still pretty good.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Sweet focus on the mysterious and lethal catgirl, and Brandon Graham seems like a weird artist for this series, considering Jamie McKelvie’s clean and gorgeous work, but it’s always fun to experience Graham’s squishy, detailed artwork.


I Hate Fairyland #3

As you might guess from that cover, things get a little tough for Gertrude in this issue. After she takes a terrific fall that knocks her out long enough for her to grow a beard and her henchbug Larry to build a house, get married, raise a family, get divorced, and lose everything again, Queen Cloudia talks to Fairyland’s Council of Elders and persuades them that Gertrude will never find the magic key to let her leave — so they should invite a new little girl in to take her place. And while Gert has axes and rage, bright-eyed young Happy has optimism and sweetness and terrifically destructive rainbow magic…

Verdict: Thumbs up, almost entirely for the lengthy section in the middle where Larry builds a new life for himself while waiting for Gertrude to swim back to consciousness…

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Gother than Thou


The Wicked + the Divine #16

Our main focal character in this issue is the Morrigan, with Baphomet as the secondary focus. Morrigan is imprisoned inside Valhalla, and she remembers her previous life as a mortal. She used to be Marian, and Baphomet was Cameron, a couple of goth kids dating each other and playing live-action “Vampire: The Masquerade.” When Ananke chooses Marian as the Morrigan, Cameron is lost — until Ananke is persuaded to promote him to godhood, too.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Loved getting to learn more about Morrigan and Baphomet, thought the LARPing segments were wonderful, and I really enjoyed Leila Del Duca’s artwork.


Harrow County #7

Country-girl witch Emmy just recently met her big-city twin Kammi, who is a lot more evil than Emmy is. She’s roaming the county, meeting the various monsters and haints, and working to recruit them to her side. Emmy suspects Kammi is up to no good, but is she going to find any allies of her own before it’s too late?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Kammi is an entirely horrible person. She goes out and finds the most awful critters in the forest, knows exactly what they want, and is probably a great deal scarier than most of them. Her picnic lunch in the woods, consisting entirely of rotting meat, is really something else. Yeah, this is the most fun, spookiest, creepiest horror comic on the stands today.

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Carnival Arcane


The Goon: Theatre Bizarre

Well, the Goon didn’t stay gone very long at all! He’s already back for this early Halloween special. He, Franky, and Roscoe, the orphaned kid-werewolf, are working as roadies for a carnival. They get lost and end up in the Theatre Bizarre, an ancient carnival of monsters, endlessly corrupt and malign and decadent, run by a monstrous death’s-head clown called Zombo. Of course, to Roscoe, it’s just a really cool Halloween party, and to Franky, it’s an excuse to look for hoochie-coochie girls. And to Roxi D’Lite, a real-life burlesque star who’s previously guest-starred in this series, their visit is her opportunity to trick Franky into taking her place at this Carnival of the Damned. Will anyone escape, or will Zombo own their souls for eternity?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A return to the madcap, hilariously offensive Goon comics we’ve all come to love, and a bit of a hint of where the series will go after this. Plus John Dunivant’s amazing artwork for the Theatre Bizarre (the Theatre is actually one of Dunivant’s art projects) is stunningly beautiful and spooky. Go pick it up for some Halloween fun.


Lumberjanes: Beyond Bay Leaf #1

While the girls are out for a late-night stargazing outing with Jen, Ripley runs off chasing a ghost pony. The rest of the main cast loses her but runs into an ominous ogre masquerading as a primitive hunter. She says her name is Sola and she’s chasing after the ghost pony because it’s the only one she hasn’t captured yet — and she notes that without Ripley, the Lumberjanes are “not a complete set.” What is Sola’s plan? Can Ripley help the ghost pony escape? Or will Sola imprison all of them for the rest of time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a wonderfully creepy story with wonderful, fun art and a ton of wonderful humor. There are a bunch of outstanding character moments, too. Plus, hey, double-sized Lumberjanes annual — I know you want to make sure you got this one.


The Wicked + the Divine #15

Our focus character in this issue is Amaterasu, the British girl with the power of a Japanese sun goddess. Everyone’s just discovered Tara’s death, everyone’s upset, and Urdr is not real accepting that, in her view, a British girl is cosplaying as one of the most important Shinto deities. Amaterasu takes Urdr to Japan, where they yell at each other, then have a heart-to-heart talk, and finally Amaterasu returns to her secret duty — prayers for the souls of the dead and dying — which includes all of the reborn gods…

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice story about a character we’ve never gotten to see much of, with some great dialogue and nice art by Stephanie Hans. Also, read the letters — they’re pretty good this time.


Doctor Strange #1

Marvel makes yet another try for an ongoing Doc Strange comic, this time written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Chris Bachalo. This one does a fantastic job of going into the day-to-day crises of Strange’s life — he doesn’t just fight Dormammu, he takes on simple battles on behalf of individual people, expelling a tribe of soul-eaters from a young boy’s body and patrolling the city for the few harmful parasites infesting New Yorkers’ souls. He pays a visit to the mystical Bar with No Doors to meet with his fellow sorcerers. Something big and terrible may be coming, and no one will be ready for it…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great writing and art, and I love Strange as a more personal superhero, fighting invisible battles and looking like a weirdo, but still able to be an action hero. Still haven’t decided whether I want to pick up more of this series, but the first issue is quite good.

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The Wicked + the Divine #14

An incredibly cool idea — this comic is a remix — nearly all the images are from previous issues of this series (a couple of pages have images from Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s “Sex Criminals” comic), all repurposed, often recolored, with new dialogue to tell the story. It’s especially appropriate for this issue, as we’re focusing on Woden, who’s been styled to look like one of the musicians from Daft Punk.

So what has Woden been up to during the chaos of the last few months? Well, he’s been Ananke’s servant. He knows all the rotten stuff she’s been up to — heck, she doesn’t even try to hide any of it from him. She holds him in complete contempt — and with pretty good reason, because Woden is a contemptible little worm. But he has secrets he’s keeping from Ananke — will they be enough to redeem him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A wonderfully audacious comic — you don’t see something this wonderfully experimental come along very often, especially in the middle of an ongoing story. And it just goes to show that this is one of the most amazing comics on the stands, and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie may be some of the greatest comics stylists of the last decade.


All Star Section Eight #4

Section Eight wants Wonder Woman to join their team — but as Wondy herself says, no woman in her right mind would join them. As bad luck would have it, Bator is busy making repairs to the bar and takes the exact worst possible moment to fall off a ladder and knock Diana in the head with a gigantic cartoon mallet. Freshly knocked entirely out of her right mind, Wonder Woman gleefully joins the team — despite almost everyone’s absolute horror at how completely ethically messed up this entire situation is — and helps plan the wedding for Bueno Excellente and Guts — rendered even more blasphemous than expected when the demonic Bator officiates the nuptials. Will this be able to be wrapped up with any dignity at all?

Verdict: Thumbs up. If it was anywhere other than this series, dedicated to deconstructing and making fun of superheroes and all the associated tropes — and if it didn’t include almost the entire team absolutely horrified at what was happening — we’d probably be burning DC down right now. As it is, it’s a very funny comic — and I dig the bike shorts costume John McCrea gives Diana — I always liked that costume option a lot, and it never gets used enough.

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Lady Sings the Blues


The Wicked + the Divine #13

We finally get to meet the elusive and mysterious Tara. So far, she has the most detailed — and ironic — backstory of any of the gods. She was once a beautiful college student, frustrated that her true talents as a musician and fashion designer were ignored because she was so attractive. Tired of getting unearned accolades based solely on her looks, she took to performing her music in mostly empty bars while wearing a mask. And then, once she’s turned into a god, she’s stuck in the same trap. She’s beloved for her looks and for her magical concerts — but the minute she brings out her mask and acoustic guitar to play the songs she wrote when she was in college, the crowds turn on her. She doesn’t even know which of the various divine Taras from different world cultures she may be. She’s frustrated with her divine life, frustrated with her fellow gods, frustrated with the hate heaped on her in social media for not being the right kind of celebrity. But Inanke has a way out.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Tara is a thoroughly wonderful character, and her story is a great study on unwelcomed celebrity. And Inanke is getting more and more dislikeable by the second, if that’s possible. The guest artist in this issue is Tula Lotay — her art has a high-fashion look about it, which makes it very appropriate for a comic about appearance and celebrity culture.


American Vampire: Second Cycle #9

It’s 1965, and Skinner Sweet and Calvin Poole are traveling on a secret mission to space, trying to keep the Gray Trader from ending the world, all while Skinner tries to fight off the Trader’s control. Meanwhile, Pearl Jones and Felicia Book are imprisoned in Area 51, betrayed by their military contact in the Vassals of the Morning Star because he thinks the Trader is about to win, and he wants to be on the winning side for once. Is there any way for everyone to get out with their skins intact?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent story, excellent art. Don’t know when the next issue of this one is coming out — but I hope they don’t delay too long.

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I Would Die 4 U


The Wicked + the Divine #12

The world is in turmoil because Baphomet has apparently killed Inanna — and then committed another murder of a family in London. (We know the second one isn’t true — but any more details would spoil last issue, and it was so good, I’m not willing to do that yet.) (And in fact, I’ve got my doubts about the first. Everyone assumes that Inanna is dead — but his look is based on Prince, and there ain’t no way His Purple Badness dies offscreen.)

Anyway, in this issue, we follow a filmmaker named Beth and her team of assistants — all similar to Cassandra, and in fact, Beth used to work for Cassandra before she got fired. Anyway, Beth is trying to make a film about the gods, but she’s got no documentary footage she’s happy with. While getting B-roll footage of mourning crowds at Inanna’s house, Beth encounters Baal and persuades him to give her an exclusive interview about Inanna in exchange for helping him find the Morrigan, who could lead him to Baphomet. There’s a huge fight that only ends when Woden makes the scene to drag the combatants away.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Although the main thing I dislike about the issue is a major turnoff — guest artist Kate Brown is an excellent artist, but she just doesn’t seem to fit this series. As if to play that up, there’s a brief one-page interlude inside the back cover that’s drawn by regular artist Jamie McKelvie — it’s a lot more resonant with the series than Brown’s more cartoony style.


American Vampire: Second Cycle #8

Skinner Sweet has been corrupted by the Gray Trader into one of his super-vampires — but his stubbornness and sheer cussedness lets him throw off his monsterizing influence and revert to normal. Now the only way to keep him from turning into a monster again is to keep him week by giving him an IV of gold — the only substance harmful to the American breed of vampires. And now he has to go up in the spacecraft to help sabotage Sputnik, because there’s no one left but him. Meanwhile, Pearl Jones and Felicia Book are traveling underground — literally — in an attempt to infiltrate the base before the Trader’s forces can get there.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Things ain’t quite as horror-tastic as they were back in the day, but it’s cool that Snyder and Albuquerque can still pop out a panel out of nowhere that’ll give you a nice little shiver of fear.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Hey, first things first — I won’t be posting again ’til this Friday. I’ve got a minor medical procedure to get taken care of this week, and I’m gonna give myself a few days to get over that before I try blogging on a schedule.
  • Comic cover artist Arthur Suydam appears to be a bit of a jackhole.
  • Legitimately sad article on delusional people who think they have pregnancies that no one else is able to detect.
  • Meet Killer Mike: rapper, community advocate, entrepreneur, and a man who scares the holy howling heck out of Fox News.

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The Wicked + the Divine #11

Shall I trust that you’ve all heard of Wham Episodes?

That’s what happens when you’re reading a story or watching a show, and there’s a plot twist so sudden and shocking that it marks a point where nothing will ever, ever be the same again.

Henry Blake’s death in M*A*S*H? Wham Episode. The destruction of Vulcan in the movie reboot of Star Trek? Wham Episode. “I did it thirty-five minutes ago” in Watchmen? Wham Episode.

In this issue, Baphomet tries to kill Inanna. He maybe succeeds, he maybe doesn’t. But that’s not the Wham Episode.

Everything that happens after that is the Wham Episode.

Verdict: Thumbs up. No, of course I’m not giving you spoilers. This is too good and too horrible. You’ll have to experience it for yourself.


Rat God #5

Clark Elwood has been blackmailed into going along with Peck’s plan to kill his father and take over the cult in the tiny, backwards village of Lame Dog, but they’re effortlessly found out and captured. Peck’s father ties them in the dungeon to be eaten by the rat god. The monster devours Peck, but Kito’s brother Chuk helps Clark escape before being killed by the god, but Clark and Kito are still being pursued by the rat god and the mad cult leader? Will they manage to destroy their foes? And even if they can, will they be able to escape from Lame Dog?

Verdict: Thumbs up. An excellent end to the series — and as always, amazing, glorious artwork by the great Richard Corben.

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Party Hard


The Wicked + the Divine #10

With her new powers as the triple goddess Urdr, Cassandra manages to uncover who tried to kill Luci at her high-rise apartment in the first issue — it was a couple of god fanboys, as everyone had started to suspect. Meanwhile, Baphomet has decided to kill all three of Urdr’s bodies during the Ragnarock music festival because he hopes he’ll be able to absorb the years still allotted to her so he can live longer. The attempt at deicide fails when the Morrigan interferes. Ananke is prepared to kill Baphomet, but Morrigan whisks him away to the underground. But the chaos has already pushed the crowds at the festival into a riot — Urdr moves to quash it by broadcasting her message of endless nihilism — but her bleak sermon just makes them love her even more. And Baphomet is still plotting to kill one of the gods…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful art, as always. More of a transition story after the shock revelations of the previous issue — it feels like we’re working our way toward some sort of climax.


Rat God #4

The clean-cut but still terribly rodent-like Mr. Peck wants Clark to kill his father, the leader of the town’s cult. Clark hilariously claims to be “a completely nonviolent person” after killing three of the town thugs. To get Clark’s cooperation, Peck offers to give him his beloved Kito, now strangely passive. Gharlena, the simple-minded innkeeper’s daughter, wants Clark for herself and is very upset by his continued rejections. Peck escorts Clark to a grand masked ball put on by the cult, where all manner of drunken and creepy misbehavior goes on — but someone already knows about their schemes.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Gloriously detailed and creeptastic artwork by Richard Corben. A fun penultimate chapter — can everything get wrapped up nicely in the next issue? Will Clark get what he wants? Or will Clark get what he deserves?

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The Apocalypse


The Wicked + the Divine #9

This issue has a lot of emphasis on Ananke, the elderly but immortal guide and guardian of the gods. She comforts 12-year-old Minerva and Baphomet, then conducts an interview with Cassandra Igarashi, Laura’s frenemy, crusading journalist, and rock-solid atheist. Ananke tells Cassandra that the gods and their incarnations on Earth created human civilization, and to make sure that future gods would have someone to guide them and show them the divine ropes, Ananke gave up her godhood and ability to inspire humanity so she could be their guide. And she reveals that it’s time for the long-awaited 12th god to appear. Who will it be?

Verdict: Thumbs up. An absolutely brilliant comic with a shocker twist and a thoroughly “Oh crap” cliffhanger. Are y’all reading this? Y’all should be reading this.


The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1

Well, this one is just complicated as heck.

Welcome to Earth-33, the world with no superheroes — supposedly, our Earth right here. But we’ve just created our own superhero, and his name is Ultra Comics — a conceptual hero powered by crazy science and dreamed into being by everyone. He’s somehow managed to have adventures during every age of comics. But his latest adventure in a ruined New York is a trap — and so is this comic book! Just by reading along, we, along with Ultra, are being ensnared by forces from beyond. Ultra demolishes a bunch of monster superheroes victimizing a bunch of kids. But there are other forces allied against him — cannibals, massive cosmic supermen, and the Intellectron itself. Is there any way to turn the trap around, or are we doomed to die with the Gentry eating our minds and souls?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A fantastically weird comic with heavy horror overtones. Everyone we meet in this comic is corrupted or destroyed by exposure to the Gentry — and the Fourth Wall is so thoroughly kicked down, from the cover image all the way through — so how lucky do you feel, now that the Gentry has stared into your soul?


Wytches #5

Charlie Rooks is shocked that his wife no longer remembers that they have a daughter — and when he realizes that Officer Petal’s name is on a list of the Wytches’ servants, he manages to get the drop on him and order him to take him to where they’ve hidden Sailor. Petal leads Charlie into the woods and tells him that, thanks to the deal he’s made with the Wytches, he’s unfathomably old and almost immortal. But he shows Charlie to the entrance of their realm, and Charlie readies himself to travel into hell — he arms himself with flares and tainted bullets and covers himself in a foul-smelling substance to mask his scent. Can Charlie make his way to the Cauldron, the deepest, darkest, hottest part of the Wytches’ lair? Can he find Sailor? Can he make it out without a horde of monsters chasing him down?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Dark, claustrophobic, intense horror. We’ve got Scott Snyder’s emotional, suspenseful, gut-wrenching writing combined with Jock’s astonishing artwork. Just one issue left, and it feels like there’s so much more to tell, too…

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Dance Dance Revolution


The Wicked + the Divine #8

Dionysus is the new god in town, and Laura has invite for his first big party. Dio is a cool cat with a wreath tattoo and the ability to give anyone he touches an intense but safe high and a minor hivemind with everyone else at the party. And just about everyone is at the party — most of the gods are there, all tripping on Dio’s power. Will Laura find out anything, or just get lost in the party buzz? And what’s Dionysus’ angle?

Verdict: Thumbs up. We talked a bit last issue about how great Matthew Wilson’s colors are, and they’re even better in this issue. Heck, without Wilson’s colors, this comic wouldn’t be nearly as awesome as it is. The “1, 2, 3, 4” theme that runs almost all the way through this issue is also really fun. And the non-high moments frame some really great story moments, too. Only thing that bugged me was that I haven’t been able to figure out who Dionysus is supposed to be. Lucifer was Bowie, Baal is Kanye, Inanna is Prince, Sakhmet is Rihanna — Dio has to be someone in the music biz, but I’m not familiar enough with the electronica/rave scene to identify him.


Gotham by Midnight #4

Gotham City is under attack by demons being fueled by alcohol, and Corrigan is finally induced to release the Spectre, who intends to subject them to his style of divine judgment — unfortunately, that may be exactly what the demons want. They want the Spectre to judge Gotham itself for its untold sins…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not my favorite issue, but we finally get to see the Spectre, and it looks like Batman is going to be showing up next issue, too.

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