Monday, July 15, 2024

Saga and The Wicked + the Divine Continue Their Promising Plots

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It is the first week of 2017. As it is, any new year’s dawning days are a time to pick up the pace. Shake off the drowse, go nimble and the like. I’d say this time we’ll do it with a vengeance. We’ll either be cleaning up the broken dishes from last year, or we’ll need to prepare for some new disaster. On the other hand we’re getting cool video games this year, Twin Peaks’ 3rd season, and Image is not getting any slower. So, open wide, 2017 with the Fandomentals is going to fucking aces.

Saga #3 “We’re fucking ghosts”

Things are looking dire for our heroes. Marko lay dying on the forest, Alana is without sufficient means of defence, and she has a child in her arms. The red ghostly kiddies, the Horrors, are closing in. But are they? No, not quite. As a departure from the spectral children literature and television has taught us to dread, these guys seem fairly peaceful. Hazel’s in extrema res narration sheds some truth on the way children are often nurtured. Parents play a grand part, but friends and acquaintances, and even the very context do the rest. In this particular instance, ghosts do too.

As a further subversion of the trope, these kids deconstruct their reputation as Horrors. Turns out these big-eared ghostly entities are indigenous to the habitat, after a fashion. After the death of the locals, they live on as “spiritual defence of Cleave”, presumably retaining the form they had upon death. Here is when some fridge horror comes into play, look at that ghost girl’s state. Having your guts hanging about can’t possibly hint at a peaceful death. The war between Landfall and Wreath has sucked Cleave into it in a particularly gruesome manner.

As soon as Marko stirs into life, one of the ghost kids identifies him as the one that burned his village. This flawed assessment falls into a metonymic reductionism by associating the terrible deed of a collective to one individual. This is a very palpable dynamic in the world we inhabit post 9-11, which results in the kids being unwilling to help Marko. Not the ghost girl, though; she appears to be the only one who remembers they’re intangible. Marko manages to utter that the one healing spell he can use for this wound necessitates snow. It’s kind of tricky to find snow in what appears to be a tropical forest, but the ghostie-girl can get them snow. She will help them if they take her with them out of the planet. There’s a catch though, she needs to be bonded to the soul of a living native to leave the planet, as you do. Hazel is the only one who can do this. Go baby.

Meanwhile, baddie Prince Robot IV gets an audience with a “moonie” prisoner to ask about Alana. In response, the Wreath-born spits on his face/screen. The Prince doesn’t seem to be all that upset, which is a bit unnerving. Anyway, he starts his questioning by inquiring about Alana’s favourite novel, which he bought. I reserve any comment about the obvious tropes pertaining to this novel, judging by its cover. No dice. He then asks about the Wreath-born and he learns that he’s named Marko. The prisoner then taunts Prince Robot IV about the battle he survived, which makes him lose his cool. Until this moment, the Prince’s PTSD was kind of slightly-ish hinted at, but now we see the extent of it.

Back to Alana and company, she’s chosen to carry her husband all the way to an elevation where she might find snow. She didn’t accept the gutty ghost girl’s offer, who now introduces herself as Izabel. Hazel starts crying, but Alana had just fed her. Izabel instantly figures that Hazel’s not hungry, but gassy. She then tells Alana, much to her annoyance, how to make the baby belch. Being the oldest of seven, possibly dead, kids would make Izabel a magnificent babysitter. Reluctantly, the new mum is starting to consider taking the offer. Plus, Marko’s looking pretty un-alive by now. As for the one who’s responsible for that; she’s not looking too good either.

Encroached on by the local wildlife, The Stalk calls The Will. In his spaceship, he refuses to answer. He’s too salty and busy eating cereal while shirtless, as we all do. But the Lying Cat knows better. She always does. The Will picks up and engages in that awkward catching up everybody hates. The Stalk offers him an opportunity for partnership in hunting down Alana and Marko. He’s not interested, and it turns out that they do have some deep history together. Apparently she broke his heart. So ends the call, and The Stalk is on her own.

Back to our heroes, Izabel leads Alana, Hazel, and limp haemorrhaging Marko through a fire mirage. As they cross the obstacles lain out by the spectres of the land, we learn that Izabel’s parents were militant rebels. It’s not surprising, given the galaxy’s outlook. Izabel died when stepping on a random landmine set by either side. She never wanted part of any war, just what we all do – some peace and some fun. Alana finally accepts her offer to soul-bond with Hazel. She asks if it will hurt, to which she responds with one of my favourite replies ever. “Only on the day it ends.” Ain’t that truth, Miss? Hazel’s narration confirms what we all want: Izabel will tag along. However, before she can fulfil her end of the deal, Marko starts speaking his death woes. “Please tell Gwendolyn I loved her so much.” Alana is not pleased.

Just goes to show how troublesome it can be talk in your sleep or in your death rattles.

The Wicked + the Divine #3 “Killing you is too quick a thing. Better to destroy you.”

We all get excited it comes to our own personal darkhorses. It just so happens that my darkhorses for WicDiv are pretty dark. Well, what else can be expected from braving the deep subway in search of the Underworld Gods? After the fiery close to last issue, we got quite an introduction waiting for us. This issue’s cover features The Morrigan in the same style as previous issues. Yet, the first page after the recap greets us with a near-identical presentation of her head, recently severed and dull-faced. Surely, this early can’t be the way to go for the Queen of Death.

Baphomet greets his “inherited” audience daringly. Everyone looks pretty freaked out as it is when Morrigan’s disembodied head comes alive. The beheaded lovely starts spewing a verbal torrent of bullocks and truths: such as the fact that T.S. Eliot is an anagram for ‘toilets’, and that puns are excellent. Above all, “she” assures everyone that Baphomet is definitely not fucking with them. As this goes on, a dark figure discreetly enters the scene, only to burst into a murder of crows. The Morrigan herself has made her entrance, under the red-headed persona of Badb, the war aspect of Morrigan. She’s pretty upset about Baphomet’s shenanigans.

If you’re familiar with Celtic mythology, you’d be right to assume that Morrigan has another aspect yet unseen, a gentler one in opposition with furious Badb. For now though, let’s enjoy Badb as she’s ready to throw down with Baph. The fray between Gods will most certainly compromise the safety of the audience. That’s when Laura jumps in and makes use of the mock-head to do her best Hamlet Act 5, Scene 1. Morrigan chills and reverts to her raven-haired aspect. She and Baphomet acknowledge that they’ve been behaving badly.

Thus, they did their performance, which involves blacking the fuck out of everything. The fans fall into sort of a death-trance. As the darkness recedes and the audience starts waking up, the cops show up – which is always bad news. One of the coppers shoots Baphomet down with a non-lethal projectile, which irritates him. Baphomet sets the cop on fire in retaliation. The officer is pronounced dead, but the Morrigan’s third aspect has a different say. Meet Gentle Annie; she’s the chiliest of them all. After reanimating the fallen officer, she reverts to menacing Badb to keep the cops unwilling to detain her.

Laura follows after Morrigan, certain that Baphomet killed the judge back on Issue #1. The Three-fold Queen debunks this since the two were together making love during that time. Before disappearing into the dark, Morrigan states that she will be an ally to both Luci and Laura. As for Miss Wilson, she is arrested. Upon getting home, Laura gets into an argument with her understandably concerned parents. She storms off upstairs, grounded. Curiously, this bit unveils a lot about Laura. Her internal narration speaks ambivalently on her ways.

On one hand, she seems to stage her outrage as a means to paradoxically get her parents’ eyes off her back. A facade of an angry adolescent carries a most peculiar plausibility. Yet she also appears sincerely distraught about her lying to her parents. Going off their appearances so far, they are very good parents; accepting and concerned. Thusly, her scheme to aid Lucifer is not without its sourness. Nonetheless, she meets up next day with Cass in secret to update each other on their progress. We learn thusly about Luci’s relations to the rest of the Pantheon. This is also the first ‘glimpse’ we get about the rest of the known Gods.

Tara, Amaterasu, Ananke, Inanna, Sakhmet, Woden, Minerva, and Baal. Possible suspects thus far, but none quite fit the deed. However, there is some drama going on there. Lucifer slept with Baal’s boyfriend, Inanna. Ball and Inanna had a pretty bad fight because of this. From this theorising, the arrow seems to point at Baal, who has proven belligerent and emotional. Alas, speak of the devil (As Baal himself came to be known as after Christianisation), and he shall appear. Meet Baal Hammon,”Carthaginian God of Fuck You”. He dresses fancy, and he is not happy.

So, lesson of the day, kiddies? Temper can trip the fuck out of you. Chilling is good, as is eating cereal while shirtless; I recommend doing that often. Baddies close in on heroes, and arrows point at suspects. Whatever the future holds, it will not boring. Absolutely not.

Published by Image Comics
Saga: Written by Brian K. Vaughn, Illustrated by Fiona Staples
The Wicked + The Divine: Written by Kieron Gillen, Illustrated by Jamie McKelvie

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