Tag Archives: kieron gillen

Preview: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #3

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #3

(W) Kieron Gillen (A) Kev Walker (CA) Karmome Shirahama
Rated T
In Shops: Jan 18, 2017
SRP: $3.99

Aphra’s hunt for the Ordu Aspectu has led to the last place she wants to be… an Imperial encampment! The good doctor, her deadly droids and her Wookiee companion are in for trouble…

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Madison’s Favorite Comics of 2016

Last year I prioritized cutting back on cape books and diversifying the publishers and stories that I read. Though many of the comics I read weren’t published in 2016 (especially ones I read during Women’s History Month) I still found it hard to narrow down the list of ongoing series I particularly loved throughout the year.

Here are ten comics I couldn’t put down in 2016:

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10. Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams

This is a series I would have loved as a child. Goldie is the perfect mix of Nancy Drew and Eloise (of Plaza fame). Goldie Vance is great for a younger audience but doesn’t shy away from emotionally complex stories. Goldie and her friends are well-rounded characters with a wide range of interests who readers–young and not-young alike–will be able to relate to.

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9. Elasticator by Alan C. Medina and Kevin Shah

Elasticator is the kind of smart, political superhero comic I wish was more prevalent. The writing is fresh and interesting and Shah’s art is lively and animated with great colors from Ross A. Campbell.

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8. Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung

Lottie Person is just about as far away from Scott Pilgrim as you could get, though they do, at times, share a similar self-absorption. Snotgirl quickly became one of my favorite series of the year, because while not many people can say they’re successful fashion bloggers, they can likely relate to Lottie’s personal problems. Leslie Hung and Mickey Quinn provide gorgeous, vibrant visuals and the best wardrobe in comics, to boot.

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7. We(l)come Back by Christopher Sebela and Claire Roe

Reincarnation? Check. Assassins? Check. Shadowy organizations? Check. A+ fashion choices? Check. Reincarnated assassins in love running from other assassins who are trying to assassinate them? …Also check. What more can you want from a story?

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6. Shutter by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca

Shutter is one of Image’s most underrated titles. The story follows Kate Kristopher, the daughter of legendary explorer Chris Kristopher, and her discovery of some little-known family history. The comic is consistently interesting not only because of its plot, but because del Duca and colorist Owen Gieni are constantly experimenting with narrative structure and using different techniques to influence how the story is read.

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5. Clean Room by Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt

Clean Room is a creepy psychological horror comic about journalist Chloe Pierce’s investigation of self-help master Astrid Mueller, who Pierce suspects is more cult leader than anything else. Or is she? Mueller is a fascinating character, and the unknowable question of which side she’s actually on only adds to the story’s suspense.

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4. The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

What if you could be a god, but you’d die within two years? Consistently equal parts entertaining and heartbreaking with consistently incredible art and color from Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson. You’ve probably heard of this one.

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3. Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Sean Parsons, and Ibrahim Moustafa

One of the few superhero comics I read this year, Mockingbird was one of my absolute favorites. Cain writes Bobbi Morse as confident and smart, and the result was a fun mystery thriller with gorgeous art. The series also featured some of my favorite colors and covers this year, by Rachelle Rosenberg and Joelle Jones.

By the time I write my 2017 list, I might be over Mockingbird’s cancellation.

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2. Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Val DeLandro

2016 was light on Bitch Planet–only four issues were released throughout the year–but continued to provide insightful and relevant commentary in what turned out to be a period of rapid change in the real-life political landscape.

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1. Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

Monstress started strong in 2015 and only got better. The main character, Maika, is a teenage girl living with a monster inside, something she learns to live with and use to her advantage as the plot develops. Monstress is full of unrepentant female characters set in a stunningly rendered fantasy world.

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2016

Some amazing comics came out in 2016 from both the Big Two and the indie ranks. This was the year that I had a lot of fun reading the books that came out in the “margins” of Marvel and DC that didn’t feature their top characters, but had idiosyncratic, top notch visuals, or just a good sense of humor. Black Mask continues to be my go-to for hard hitting indie work, and the whole BOOM! Box imprint continues to be as fun as ever.

Without further ado, these are my personal favorite comics of 2016, the ones that stimulated and entertained me the most in this difficult year.

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10. Kim and Kim #1-4 (Black Mask)
Writer: Mags Visaggio Artist: Eva Cabrera Colorist: Claudia Aguirre

Kim and Kim was a super fun sci-fi miniseries with some wild and wacky worldbuilding, rollicking action scenes, and lots of hilarious interactions between the two leads, Kim Q and Kim D. Writer Mags Visaggio put their friendship front and center giving the comic a strong emotional through-line between bounty hunter shenanigans. Also, Eva Cabrera excels at drawing attractive humans as well as strange aliens, and I enjoyed Claudia Aguirre’s pastel-filled color palette. It was also nice to have a story starring two queer women not end in senseless death.

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9. Jonesy #1-8 (BOOM! Studios)
Writer: Sam Humphries Artist: Caitlin Rose Boyle Colorists: Mickey Quinn, Brittany Peer

Every year, the BOOM! Box imprint seems to churn out a new title that captures my heart. Jonesy is a fire cracker of a comic starring a teenage girl, who can make anyone fall in love with anything. Unfortunately, that power doesn’t work on her personally, and it gets her into a lot of trouble. Sam Humphries’ writing has as little chill as his protagonist, and Caitlin Rose-Boyle’s art evokes the zines that Jonesy loves to make about her favorite pop star, Stuff. The hyper-stylized plots and faces that Jonesy pulls kept me laughing while Jonesy’s struggles with finding someone to love her and her strained relationship with her mom in the second arc gave me the feels. Her and her friends’ unabashed passion for life is kind of inspiring too.

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8. Ultimates #3-12, Ultimates 2 #1-2 (Marvel)
Writer: Al Ewing Artists: Kenneth Rocafort, Christian Ward, Djibril Morrisette-Phan, Travel Foreman Colorist: Dan Brown

Ultimates and Ultimates 2 were the gold standard for team superhero book at both Marvel and DC, and not even Civil War II could stop this title’s momentum. The Al Ewing-penned comic was more of a science fiction saga that happened to star a diverse cast of superheroes than a straight up team book as they tried to find productive solutions to problems like Galactus and the Anti-Man instead of just punching things. And like all good team books, there’s some great interpersonal tension like when Black Panther puts Wakanda before the team, Ms. America defies Captain Marvel, and Spectrum and Blue Marvel start smooching. Ultimates also has some wonderful tapestry-style double page spreads from artists Kenneth Rocafort, Christian Ward, and Travel Foreman that match its multiversal scope. It’s an entertaining and esoteric comic.

 

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7. Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1-2 (DC)
Writer: Sarah Vaughn Artist: Lan Medina Colorist: Jose Villarrubia

In 2016, DC really stretched its wings genre-wise with the Young Animal imprint and comics, like a satirical take on the Flintstones. But, the best of this quirky bunch was a Gothic romance take on Deadman from Fresh Romance‘s Sarah Vaughn, Fables‘ Lan Medina, and atmospheric colorist Jose Villarrubia. The main character, Berenice, can see ghosts, including Deadman, who are trapped in a haunted British mansion. There are secret passageways, mysterious backstories, and an epic, bisexual love triangle, but mostly, Deadman is a meditation on mortality and relationships, both platonic and romantic with some jaw-dropping scenery from Medina and Villarrubia.

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6. Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #2-13 (Marvel)
Writer: Kate Leth Artists: Brittney Williams, Natasha Allegri Colorists: Megan Wilson, Rachelle Rosenberg

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat is a comic that acknowledges how annoying getting your life together can be for twenty-somethings, who live in the city. Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, Megan Wilson, and Rachelle Rosenberg also throw injourneys to Hell, guest appearances from Jessica Jones and Jubilee, telekinetic bisexuals quoting Hamilton, and nods to the old Patsy Walker romance comics to a quite relatable comic. Brittney Williams’ Magical Girl and Chibi-inspired art is great for comedy purposes, but she and Leth also had some emotional payoffs throughout Hellcat thanks to the relationships developed between Patsy, Ian Soo, and She-Hulk, especially when she reacts to She-Hulk’s injury in Civil War II. Hellcat is fierce, high energy comic that is the best of both romance and superhero comics with the occasional trippy scene shift from Williams, Wilson, and Rosenberg.

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5. Mockingbird  #1-8 (Marvel)
Writer: Chelsea Cain Artist: Kate Niemczyk, Sean Parsons, Ibrahim Moustafa Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

Mockingbird was experimental, unabashedly feminist, pretty sexy, and just happened to star a former West Coast Avenger and be published by Marvel Comics. Thriller novelist Chelsea Cain plotted a pair of mysteries, involving cosplay cruises, doctor waiting rooms, corgis, and Marvel Universe deep cuts that were engaging thanks to detail filled art from Kate Niemczyk and inker Sean Parsons. Loaded with background gags and subtle foreshadowing for future issues, Mockingbird certainly has “replay” value as a comic and is triumphant, messy, and funny just like its lead character, Bobbi Morse and was a coming out party for Marvel’s next great colorist, Rachelle Rosenberg.

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4. Love is Love (IDW)
Writers: Various Artists: Various

I just reviewed this comics anthology a few days ago, but Love is Love is the 2016 comic that affected me personally the most as it showed the effects of The Pulse shooting on the LGBTQ community in a variety of ways. I latched onto stories about the vibrancy of the queer community in Orlando, the sanctuary effect of gay clubs that provided some of the anthology’s best visuals from Jesus Merino, Alejandra Gutierrez, and Michael Oeming, and the use of superheroes like Batman, Midnighter, and Supergirl as simple analogues of hope in the middle of heartbreak. Love is Love saddened me, but it also inspired me to continue to uplift my LGBTQ siblings as the racist, sexist, homophobes Trump and Pence take the office of president and vice president. It was also cool to see so many talented creators using their gifts to help raise money for Equality Florida.

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3. The Wicked + the Divine #18-24, #1831 (Image)
Writer: Kieron Gillen Artists: Jamie McKelvie, Stephanie Hans, Kevin Wada Colorist: Matthew Wilson

In WicDiv‘s third year, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson went a little blockbuster with big battles, splash pages, and an unexpected character death. But, the comic is still about the journey of Laura (Now Persephone.) from fan to artist, and how it has changed her life and relationships. And, in time honored tradition, WicDiv wasn’t afraid to get experimental with an issue featuring a Pantheon of Romantic poets and writers, like Mary Shelley and Lord Byron with lavish guest art from Journey into Mystery‘s Stephanie Hans, or the magazine issue with professional journalists interviewing Kieron Gillen roleplaying as Fantheon members with beautiful spot illustrations from Kevin Wada. As WicDiv enters its “Imperial Phase”, McKelvie and Wilson’s art is both opulent and disarming while Kieron Gillen has started to expose the personalities behind the explosions and drama of “Rising Action”.

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2. Giant Days #10-21, Holiday Special #1 (BOOM!)
Writer: John Allison Artists: Max Sarin, Liz Fleming Colorist: Whitney Cogar

Giant Days is funny, true, shows the value of a good inker in Liz Fleming to nail a face or gesture, and reminds me of a weekend I spent in its setting of Sheffield over two years ago. John Allison and Max Sarin have developed the personalities and mannerisms of the three leads: Susan, Esther, and Daisy that any situation that they’re plugged into from music festivals to housing selections and even cheating rings is pure entertainment. Allison, Sarin, and the bright colors of Whitney Cogar nail the ups and downs of college life with a touch of the surreal, and the series continues to be more compelling as we get to know Susan, Esther, and Daisy better as people.

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1. Midnighter #8-12, Midnighter and Apollo #1-3 (DC)
Writer: Steve Orlando Artists: David Messina, Gaetano Carlucci, ACO, Hugo Petrus, Fernando Blanco Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Steve Orlando’s run on Midnighter and Midnighter and Apollo has the most bone breaking action, the coolest panel layouts from David Messina, ACO, and Fernando Blanco and yes, the hottest kisses and other sexy stuff as Midnighter and Apollo are back in a relationship. Orlando shows his passion for the DC and Wildstorm universes by bringing in obscure or neglected characters, like Extrano, and making them instantly compelling or frightening in the case of Henry Bendix. Watching Midnighter skillfully take down opponents from the Suicide Squad to subway pirates or demons is an adrenaline rush, and Orlando tempers these action scenes with plenty of romance and personal moments. Midnighter and Midnighter and Apollo aren’t just the best superhero comics of 2016, but the best ones period. Come for the one-liners and shattered limbs and stay for the self-sacrificing love.

Preview: Love is Love

Love is Love

Phil Jimenez, Cat Staggs, Steve Orlando, Dennis Cowen, Paul Dini, Ming Doyle, Brian Michael Bendis, Emma Vicelli, Ed Luce, Kieron Gillen, Jay Edidin, and many MANY MORE! (contributors) • Elsa Charretier (c)

The comic book industry comes together to honor those killed in Orlando this year. From IDW Publishing, with assistance from DC Entertainment, this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talents in comics – – mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world.

All material has been kindly donated, from the creative to the production, with ALL PROCEEDS going to the victims, survivors and their families via EQUALITY FLORIDA.

Be a part of an historic comics event! It doesn’t matter who you love. All that matters is that you love.

FC • 144 pages • $9.99

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Preview: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #2

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #2

(W) Kieron Gillen (A/CA) Kev Walker
Rated T
In Shops: Dec 21, 2016
SRP: $3.99

BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT!

Following the blockbuster finale of Darth Vader #25, the fan-favorite character begins a new journey in STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #1 – the new ongoing series coming this December! From superstar writer Kieron Gillen (Darth Vader) and fan-favorite artist Kev Walker (Marvel Zombies) comes Marvel’s first ongoing series starring an original character created in the comics!

Following her time in the clutches of Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra has barely escaped with her life. If he ever learns of her survival, he’ll hunt her to the ends of the galaxy. But for now, it’s time for a return to what she does best. With the droids 0-0-0 and BT-1 in tow, she’s off in search of rare artifacts from the galactic center to the Outer Rim and everywhere in between. Aphra’s got debts to pay after all. Just as long as she can stay one step ahead of the Empire, some Bounty Hunters and just about everyone else in the galaxy!

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Review: The Wicked + The Divine #24

tumblr_ohs9labcrg1uxdbsko1_1280As we head into a new year, the Gods are heading into theirs. Well, the beginning of 2015, but it has been a year since Laura found herself wanting everything Amaterasu had. Now she does, but at what cost?

A lot of The Wicked + The Divine #24, the first traditional issue back, is a lot of quiet reflection of where the Gods are now a year later now that Ananke is gone and they’re on their own. In the letters section, Kieron Gillen talks about how the Gods are very much in the same boat as the readers in that they don’t know what happens next. This seems especially true for Persephone, who spends a lot of this issue in her own head. While Amaterasu seems rather excited about the future (and no longer feeling ‘boring’ if her kiss with Persephone on the ledge of the Strand is anything to go by), the rest of the Gods seem less sure.

One of my favorite things about this issue is how much it captures the feeling of New Year’s Day. While the beginning of the issue captures a brief look at the revelry of New Year’s Eve with Matt Wilson’s glowing fireworks and a kiss, most of the issue is the eerily quiet hangover of the first day of the New Year. Some of it is literal with Persephone waking up in Baal’s bed with Sakhmet with Minerva warning her not to hurt Baal. Other parts of it are atmospheric, with the grey morning Persephone rides into past an adoring crowd and the silent work of Cassandra and the Norns in the ruins of Valhalla. It feels like that long, deep breath, where you seem to not just be recovering from the night before but the entire year, and taking a long pause before you tackle the rest.

Besides the atmosphere, the fashion in this issue is on point. It has to be a tough act to go back into the regular flow of the issue after the lush interiors from Kevin Wada on #23, but Jamie McKelvie is solid as usual creating fitting and believable street wear for Persephone, but also giving Minerva bright and youthful fashion befitting a 13-year-old in 2015. You have to wonder if her new fashion is a reflection of her new independent state, since she is not only without Ananke but without her parents. She also manages to be the most mature member of the Pantheon, but that’s probably to be expected with the Goddess of Wisdom.

Speaking of fashion, so much of this issue is what the kids would call “hair porn.” Persephone’s hair was the showstealer of this issue, even when it was messy the morning after a roll with Baal and Sakhmet.

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However, the quiet doesn’t last for long as Persephone and Cass confront Woden, who all lay their cards on the table, leading to the most silver age-esque closing scene of the issue.

As the “Imperial Phase” begins in earnest, The Wicked + The Divine #24 is much like the day it takes place on. A deep and quiet breath before jumping into the deep end. The calm before the storm. And if the last page is any indication, there are high stakes in play in this brave new year.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with  a FREE copy for review.

Preview: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1

(W) Kieron Gillen (A) Kev Walker, Salvador Larroca (CA) Karmome Shirahama
Rated T
In Shops: Dec 07, 2016
SRP: $4.99

BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT!

Following the blockbuster finale of Darth Vader #25, the fan-favorite character begins a new journey in STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #1 – the new ongoing series coming this December! From superstar writer Kieron Gillen (Darth Vader) and fan-favorite artist Kev Walker (Marvel Zombies) comes Marvel’s first ongoing series starring an original character created in the comics!
Following her time in the clutches of Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra has barely escaped with her life. If he ever learns of her survival, he’ll hunt her to the ends of the galaxy. But for now, it’s time for a return to what she does best. With the droids 0-0-0 and BT-1 in tow, she’s off in search of rare artifacts from the galactic center to the Outer Rim and everywhere in between. Aphra’s got debts to pay after all. Just as long as she can stay one step ahead of the Empire, some Bounty Hunters and just about everyone else in the galaxy!

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The Wicked + The Divine 1831 One-Shot Gets a New Printing

Image Comics is pleased to announce that The Wicked + The Divine 1831 one-shot by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie will be sent back to print in order to keep up with increased customer demand.

The standalone The Wicked + The Divine story travels back to the nineteenth century, to see what became of the Romantic poets one infamous night on Lake Geneva… The critically-acclaimed issue showcases work from Stephanie Hans.

The Wicked + The Divine 1831 one-shot, 2nd printing (Diamond Code SEP168790) will be available on Wednesday, December 7th.

You can read out review!

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A First Look at Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1, Out this December

Because you demanded it! Following the blockbuster finale of Darth Vader #25, the fan-favorite character begins a new journey in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 – the new ongoing series launching December 7th! From blockbuster creators Kieron Gillen and Kev Walker comes Marvel’s first ongoing Star Wars series starring an original character created in the comics!

Following her time in the clutches of Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra has barely escaped with her life. If he ever learns of her survival, he’ll hunt her to the ends of the galaxy. But for now, it’s time for a return to what she does best. With the droids 0-0-0 and BT-1 in tow, she’s off in search of rare artifacts from the galactic center to the Outer Rim and everywhere in between. Aphra’s got debts to pay after all. Just as long as she can stay one step ahead of the Empire, some Bounty Hunters and just about everyone else in the galaxy!

This December, the Star Wars galaxy expands into thrilling new directions as Doctor Aphra makes her explosive solo debut.

Featuring covers by Kamome Shirahama, Elsa Charretier, Jamie McKelvie, John Tyler Christopher, Salvador Larroca, and Rod Reis.

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Review: The Wicked + The Divine #23

tumblr_ocdihkx6kh1tuoa2wo2_1280Before the start of this latest arc of The Wicked + The Divine titled ‘Imperial Phase (Part I),’ writer Kieron Gillen told readers to expect decadence as the Pantheon finds a newfound freedom in the wake of Ananke’s destruction. Well, decadence was certainly right on the button as we enter the Imperial Phase with a world building issue from Pantheon Monthly. Because of course, there’s a monthly glossy mag dedicated to the Pantheon.

The structure of this issue was mostly done as a way for Team WicDiv to collaborate with Kevin Wada, whose gorgeous and fashionable art has graced many a comics cover and a Twitter feed, but has never been interior for a comic. Instead of making Wada’s style conform to traditional comics format, we instead see a format suited for him: drawing the gods of the Pantheon in the way of a fashion shoot spread. Even Morrigan gets in on the action, which a beautifully gothic set that adds a pop of color to the None More Goth goddess. In fact, all of Wada’s pieces capture the Pantheon’s individual style in such a way that we usually don’t get to see in the regular issues. This is not as a diss to Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson, who still get to shine in this issue with their “advertisements” from Baal and Persephone, but rather highlights how strength in drawing fashion can mean different things with different artists.

The issue pushes the magazine format even more with Gillen taking on more of an “editor” role and asking several of his journalist friends to write interviews with the gods. The results are astounding, from beginning to end. Leigh Alexander’s interview with The Morrigan is especially haunting, not just for the dark imagery Alexander captures, but for how she manages to humanize The Morrigan as someone she could have known back in school. While we as the readers will remember Marian’s backstory from the ‘Commercial Suicide’ arc, this piece is presented as the first time people in the world of The Wicked + The Divine have seen press for The Morrigan. Alexander strikes that balance well, alluding to the backstory of The Morrigan without delving information that isn’t known in that universe.

My personal favorite interview though had to be Laurie Penny’s interview with Woden, titled “Sympathy for the Nice Guy.” Penny constructs the interview as an unwilling assignment, preferring to talk to a “nice” God like Amaterasu or Dionysus and getting the reviled Woden instead. I’m not certain how much of his reviled status is an allusion to his status as the most hated character in WicDiv or is a true in-universe fact, but it’s good to know everyone hates him. Penny throughout the interview tries to understand Woden at least in the way he thinks, but also doesn’t give him quarter for his actions either. Reading it was fascinating and unsettling, and I was worried that something was going to happen to Penny by the end of it. It doesn’t, but it does end with a highly ironic remark from Woden regarding the more problematic aspects of Game of Thrones. Problematic, says the sexist sociopath…

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Through the interviews and notes from our “editor” Kieron, we start to get an idea what life is like for the Pantheon so soon after Ananke’s death. It’s a lot of mystery and growth, with Valhalla being abandoned for The Strand and Baal assuming de facto leadership of the Pantheon since he was the first of the gods to “ascend.” Minerva is struggling some with the death of her parents and the other gods are trying to find balance in the wake of it all. The presence of Persephone worries Woden especially, but you have to wonder how much of that is Woden and how much of that is Persephone. You also get some fun little background details of the gods, such as Amaterasu becoming a god on her birthday/the winter solstice and running to tell Lucifer while she’s in an interview with Mary HK Choi. It was an unexpected surprise to get those kind of details, to say the least.

Early reviews of this issue harkened it to Watchmen in terms of how deep it lets the story run. While I don’t know if I can make the same comparison just yet, the way that The Wicked + The Divine #23 builds the universe of the comic while letting others play in the sandbox is kind of mindblowing. Wada’s art alone justifies the existence of this issue, but the articles by real journalists writing about their interactions with these fictional characters is what makes the issue shine in those spaces between the art. If Pantheon Monthly was to return for another arc, this The Wicked + The Divine faithful would certainly not argue.

Story: Kieron Gillen, Leigh Alexander, Dorian Lynskey, Laurie Penny,
Mary HK Choi, Ezekial Kweku
Art: Kevin Wada, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson
Story: 9.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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