The Wicked and the Divine Funnies Special # 1
The Wicked and the Divine is skewered, roasted and just generally meta-mocked in this delightful set of short vignettes from a wide gamut of creators. The whole affair is absurd, meta and of course Gillen manages to get in several ‘bad’ puns; we have the pantheon as dogs, the pantheon as chairs, colorist Matt Wilson’s secret recruitment video, a ghost mystery in the moors, Gentle Annie getting jobs, and so much more.
As the main WicDiv saga races to its final conclusion (the final arc starts next month), this delightful stress reliever arrives to serve as both a palette cleanser and a summation of sorts of the saga so far. All the shorts generally achieve an acceptable level of funny, though I find that the standouts are the ones that extend the premise of the character or concept being roasted to its most absurd extreme.
It’s always comedic gold when series creators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie become the ‘star’ of skit as in ‘The Lost God’ by Chip Zdarsky, hilariously chronicles how WicDiv colorist Matt Wilson gets recruited by (we think) fictionalized versions of Gillen and McKelvie. A couple of ‘up and coming’ swing/ska musicians (and I have a perverse desire to actually hear what that may sound like) watch footage of the actual pantheon in action in London leading one of them to decide that he may actually be a member of the pantheon. In walks Kieron and Jamie to disabuse him of this notion, with Gillen acting as a pompous ‘none more goth’ prat and McKelvie as a brainless musclebound dolt. Gillen’s line about ‘sexy waters’ was a funny treat, along with the finger snapping ‘signal’ to attack given to a Jamie McKelvie who seems more attack dog than human being. The funny is just enhanced by just how utterly unlike these ‘characters’ are from these two creators, as far as I know. Though, perhaps Zdarsky is on to something here? Could he possibly just be lifting the curtain on these two supposed gentle souls? We’ve been warned. Zdarsky’s aesthetic is also particularly well suited to this kind of meta-riffing on the real world type of story. His depiction of likenesses doesn’t go for fidelity, but more of a just-off uncanny valley like approach, which fits the story perfectly.
‘Gentle Annie vs. The World’ by Chrissy Williams is another highlight. The author/artist places Gentle Annie (1/3 of the Morrigan) into four different real world situations where her usual way of speaking creates absurd situations. It’s a funny and somewhat different take on the fish out of water trope, as the humor of the situation consists not so much in Gentle Annie making mistakes or bumbling about in unfamiliar territory (is there such a thing for a god after all?), but rather in everyone around her not understanding what she’s saying. She could very well be saying all the right things, but we just don’t know. All the peons’ reactions to her words is what makes this short story pop, while the insight the story provides about the nature of the pantheon’s role in the ‘real world’ provides some chewy fodder for thought. Perhaps, this is exactly why the gods always reincarnate in the influential, though not as outright ‘threatening/impactful’ cultural arena of pop culture/music?
’13 Go Mad in Wiltshire’ by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris is a lovely mash-up of WicDiv and Scooby Doo as the our deities get driven by Ananke in the ‘Vantheon’ to an inn near Stonehenge to solve a ghost mystery in order to save an Inn and a music festival. The story hits all the familiar Scooby Doo tropes (young people solving a mystery involving an old person in some kind of supernatural mystery involving a real estate claim) while skillfully (and hilariously) ladling in elements of the WicDiv mythos in just the right amount and frequency so as to not distract and take the reader out of the story. I enjoyed how all the characters particular ticks manifest themselves in delightfully Scooby Doo-ian ways here: Luci’s concern for ‘fun and sexy’, Cassandra and Ameterasu spatting, Persephone going on and about her ‘crushes’ and a ‘subtle’ glance shared between Athena and Ananke. The story even gets illustrated in a recognizable Scooby Doo style!
But, my favorite short in the issue is probably ‘5 Things Everyone Who’s Lived with Sakhmet Will Understand’ by Hamish Steele. The whole ‘Sakhmet is a cat’ thing has been played with a lot in the main series, sometimes for comedic and sometimes for far more serious and scary effect, This short story may be the first time where we really take this concept to its full and absurd conclusion. This is still the same scary, narcissistic, utterly unhinged Sakhmet we all know and love (to hate?), but somehow Hamish Steele’s more stripped down, cartoonish and infographic style just renders our cat lady’s typical homicidal and emotionally traumatizing antics as the stuff of feline funny delight rather than horror. At any other time the panel should be horrific…but it instead just made me laugh out loud while sipping my coffee at Panera.
There’s a lot of funny to be had in this final WicDiv special. Neither characters nor creators are spared from the delights of being roasted. What’s especially great is the way it manages to find the funny in the absurd and dense mythology that WicDiv has managed to build over the span of forty issues. This is a nice pause at the apex before this roller coaster ride starts to barrel towards its conclusion next month.
The Wicked and the Divine Funnies Special #1 Dogs, Chairs, Mysteries and Cats OH MY!
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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