Effigy is a rather grim title for a book that opens with the brightly-lit stage of a space-based children’s show. An “effigy” can simply refer to a statue or model of a person, but more often it refers to a statue or model that is made specifically for destruction, usually in protest or some other method of expression. It may be too early to interpret the true meaning of the title, but the idea of the destruction of a person already seems close to the book’s heart. Our protagonist is Chondra Jackson, former child star turned police officer in training, back in the remote hometown she once vowed never to return to. But despite the end of her career, it seems her former life has followed her back home- in an especially deadly way.
Sleater-Kinney released an album called No Cities To Love on Tuesday. This is relevant to WicDiv for two reasons; one, I first discovered Sleater-Kinney through the official WicDiv playlist, and two, it’s hard not to conflate an album with lines like “Exhume our idols! Bury our friends!” with this book. With that said, it’s interesting that this issue of The Wicked + The Divine takes that idea and turns it on its head. In this story, we’re killing our idols- we were from the first issue- and we don’t have friends (it’s better to have enemies, as Laura would say). The way people react to fame is at the forefront of this issue as Laura becomes a VIP guest at the convention London Fantheon, and for an issue where she’s surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people, her special status marks it with moments of surprising intimacy.
It’s with those words in the title that Zeus opens up this week’s ODY-C, cradling the image of a grimacing head as the beginning of its insides form from a cascade of blood coming from where her genitals are- less gross of an image than it sounds, actually, unless you describe it the way I did- and it’s those words that summarize this week’s issue of Fraction and Ward’s intricate, beautifully realize space romp. I could have called it their take on the Odyssey, but if this issue shows anything, ODY-C has already grown enough within its first two issues that it’s barely recognizable compared to its source material. That’s not a bad thing.
By what standards do we measure a child becoming an adult? It’s always been obvious The Woods would be a coming of age story- the plot is literally “children leave high school and their parents and must learn to survive in a strange new environment”- but now that we’re out of the titular woods, at least for the time being, how that idea will play out has become more ambiguous. The kids have arrived in New London, a surprisingly bustling metropolis, where they’re being treated quite well, and it’s easy for them to adjust happily to the monotony of life there. But it’s also evident that New London may not be the paradise it’s meant to be, especially in a world fraught with so much danger. That peace is an illusion, and danger lurks in plain sight.