“If you exist, you’re staring at me.”: The Wicked + The Divine, Issue Thirteen

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THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #13 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: TULA LOTAY WRITER: KIERON GILLEN
BONUS ART: JAMIE MCKELVIE & MATTHEW WILSON LETTERER: CLAYTON COWLES
DESIGNER: SERGIO SERRANO EDITOR: CHRISSY WILLIAMS

(Spoilers!)

Compared to many forms of media, comic books (and books in general) have one feature many can’t advocate: immersion. When you’re reading a comic, you have to hold it in your hand, to study it, to linger on it, to briefly become part of it. As more and more comics go digital, one would think that feature would unfortunately fade- but not if the creators of The Wicked + The Divine are going to help it. With guest artist Tula Lotay, Kieron Gillen and the rest of Team WicDiv spend this month’s issue exploring the elusive Tara, previously unseen- and with it they present a terrifying, somber look at our world today, particularly the natures of fandom and social media, using a number of clever formatting tricks to truly help us understand who Tara is.

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The Social Event of the Season: Morning Glories, Issue Forty-Seven

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MORNING GLORIES #47 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: JOE EISMA WRITER: NICK SPENCER
COLORIST: PAUL LITTLE LETTERER: JOHNNY LOWE
COVER ART: RODIN ESQUEJO DESIGN: TIM DANIEL

Real talk, fellow former high schoolers: did you ever go to any killer parties? I sure didn’t, so the setting of most of Morning Glories #47 is a bit foreign to me, and I can’t confirm whether or not the idea of rockin’ dance parties in secret places is legitimate. Fiction tells us it is, though, and Morning Glories has had so much fun doing its own spins on high school cliches (especially this season) that there’s no way the book would have gone on without one. Of course, this isn’t just a party- we’re nearing the end of Season Two, and that means we need to cover our bases.

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“You just have to know what needs fixing.”: The Woods, Issue Fifteen

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THE WOODS #15 BOOM! STUDIOS
ARTIST: MICHAEL DIALYNAS WRITER: JAMES TYNION IV
COLORIST: JOSAN GONZALEZ LETTERER: ED DUKESHIRE

There was a point, reading The Woods #15, where I wondered if I was watching a very good episode of, say, Teen Wolf or One Tree Hill. It’s during the scene where, in the space of five pages, we have Calder telling everyone they’ve got to go back to the titular woods, Sanami giving an exposition dump, Ben and Isaac breaking up, and the group rapidly forming a plan. It was an odd feeling, but it wasn’t inherently negative, as The Woods’ writing was for the most part as good as ever- rather, it seemed like the result of the book’s new status quo. For most of the cast, Karen’s kidnapping by the Children of the Sun is the first major event relating to their alien overlords after a full year; before this, their main priorities were relationship troubles and student elections. Teenagers are known to get emotional over their problems, but when those problems involve cosmic horrors, it’s a whole new kind of trouble.

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The Gospel According to Esaw Goings: Southern Bastards, Issue Ten

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SOUTHERN BASTARDS #10 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: JASON LATOUR WRITER: JASON AARON
LETTERER: JARED K. FLETCHER

Southern Bastards #10 certainly comes off a bit less rounded than most of the issues preceding it, character-wise. When we focused on Earl Tubb, Euless Boss, and finally Sheriff Hardy, we saw complicated men, some better than others, but all coming from conflicted perspectives and backgrounds. But that’s blatantly not the case for Esaw Goings, and Jasons Latour and Aaron want you to know it. Esaw is simply flat-out horrible, and that means some tweaks are required to make an issue about him work- the addition of poor kind bible-thumper Donny Ray, and the loss of any small amount of nuance the book usually has. That may seem a bit disappointing at first, but there’s no other way to go about depicting Esaw; if there’s a most Bastard-y bastard in this book, it’s him.

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An Education: Saga, Issue Thirty

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SAGA #30 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: FIONA STAPLES WRITER: BRIAN K. VAUGHAN
LETTERER/DESIGNER: FONOGRAFIKS

(SPOILERS!) 

Not many books make it to thirty issues, independent or otherwise, and the ones who do can hardly ever expect the continuing success that Saga has. Over the weekend it won Best Continuing Series and Best Penciller/Inker (for Fiona Staples) at the Eisners, at a point in its run where many books are near-forgotten. With that said, it’s interesting to see how Saga #30 both completely changes the book’s game while returning other things to their roots.

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Requiem: Gotham Academy, Issue Eight

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GOTHAM ACADEMY #8 DC COMICS
ARTIST: KARL KERSCHL WRITERS: BECKY CLOONAN & BRENDEN FLETCHER
COLORISTS: SERGE LAPOINTE AND MICHELLE ASSARASAKORN LETTERER: STEVE WANDS

Tone is a hard thing to nail. It’s one of the most necessary parts of good fiction: if you can’t make a sad scene feel sad or a happy scene feel happy, then nobody will be able to get invested in what you’re creating. In many forms of fiction, nailing that tone is also a team effort. Bad acting can ruin what’s supposed to be the biggest moment in a film, for example. That’s how Gotham Academy #8’s greatest flaw kicks in. In the aftermath of Sybil Silverlock’s death, Karl Kerschl and colorists Serge LaPointe and Michelle Assarasakorn provide us a dreary, somber setting fitting for the funeral that occurs wherein. But that setting contradicts the lighter, more romance-focused story, which misuses the grieving Olive and makes the issue seem clunky and misguided.

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Left Behind: The Wicked + The Divine, Issue Twelve

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THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #12 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: KATE BROWN WRITER: KIERON GILLEN
BONUS ART: JAMIE MCKELVIE & MATTHEW WILSON LETTERER: CLAYTON COWLES
DESIGNER: HANNAH DONOVAN EDITOR: CHRISSY WILLIAMS

(Spoilers!)

It’s an odd time for The Wicked + The DivineThe end of its first year wasn’t just the end of a year of issues- it was truly the end of the book as the readers knew it, as it suddenly killed off its narrator and another main character and permanently altered the expectations of its readers. To have usual artists Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson take a break now may seem odd, but as it turns out, it’s an excellent choice going into the book’s third arc, Commercial Suicide. Not only does it reflect the book’s shift in perspective to a different cast of characters, but it’s also a reflection of how the book has expanded its scope. In fact, this month, the focus isn’t even on the death of Laura- it’s on the aftermath of Inanna’s death, through the eyes of both the people who cared for them personally and the people who just want to soak up the gossipy aftermath.

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