Month: November 2014

Tim + Alex Get TWATD #2.1: Luci, Bat for Lashes, Superheroes

Once again, we return.Every ninety(ish) days, two handsome young writers return to this blog. They read the last three issues of The Wicked + The Divine, and they write three essays each. This time round, we’re focusing on issues #4 and #5 – and as you might expect, there’s a big focus on Laura and Luci’s relationship. Spoilers abound. Elegy for the Devil In many ways, Luci was the apotheosis of Gillen/McKelvie characters – a morally ambiguous, razor-witted woman with mythical powers, fantastic fashion sense and an asymmetrical haircut. In her swaggering DNA, we can find the traces of Emily Aster, Loki, Astrid, Silent Girl, America Chavez and more. Of course she had to die. Even in the world of The Wicked + The Divine, gods are defined by their stories. After all, while the deities manifest for only two short years, their influence stretches far beyond that. Their role is to inspire, to trigger something lasting from their brief time on Earth, and that means leaving behind tales that will drive people to obsession and fanaticism. They are defined by their stories – the ones they live, and the ones they leave. Woden must hang upon his tree. Minerva must enter the world fully formed. Lucifer must fall. So what caused Luci to fall? One could point to a number of emotions, both those that track with classical depictions and those very much unique to the book’s setting and interpretation, but in the end, I think it comes down to fear. Laura’s final visit to Luci’s cell, just before her escape, strips away all the illusions the character had held. She will be left to rot in jail for her sins until she dies, cut off from those who worship her, unable to wield any influence, alone and forsaken. Her fellow gods do not care if she is guilty or not, if she is a good person or bad, all that matters is that the (super)natural order is maintained. There is no justice. She will die, and leave little trace upon the world. It’s the throughline of the series, the Big Message Laser focused upon one character. Read that page as she comes to term with the news. Is that a tear she wipes away? We’ll never know. Look at the slow push McKelvie draws, boxing Luci in more and more. “You’re told you’re going to die…and some part of you just defiantly doesn’t believe it.” “It was never going to be okay.” In the end, it isn’t fear of death that triggers Luci’s escape, and subsequent demise, it’s fear of a death without meaning. It’s dying without a chance to make an impact on the world, to write her name in fire and blood and headlines. The Wicked + The Divine isn’t just about death. It’s about what we do with the knowledge that death is coming. Lucifer has to fall, but she has to go to war with heaven first. And of course, in those final moments, we see the young woman she originally was shine through, the one who doesn’t want to die before she’s 20. That small “Don’t”, a prayer and a plea against the inevitable. But then Lucifer is finally crowned with her halo, first one of fire, then one of blood, and her life comes to an end. But her story? That will last a lot longer.                    More Than A Superstar Bat for Lashes’ Laura is a song about loss which also finds the time to toy with ideas of glamour and fame. If you’ve been listening to it as much as I have over the past few months, you may just about be able to spot some connections with The Wicked + The Divine. There’s a good reason for that. In the Writer’s Notes for issue #1 of The Wicked + The Divine, Kieron Gillen says that Laura is one of the key songs – if not the key song – that inspired the series. It’s where our cheery (currently not so much) fangirl protagonist got her name. It’s the song Gillen posted on This Is My Jam the day issue #5 dropped. “You’re the train that crashed my heart/You’re the glitter in the dark.” The lyrics contain a pretty good summation of where we are at the end of #5 – I don’t think it’s much of a stretch so say that, in the film adaptation, it’d be the song that plays as that last scene fades to black – but it features a dark promise for the future, too:  “Laura, you’re more than a superstar/You’ll be famous for longer than them.” The end of issue #5 suggest that maybe Laura could take her place among the pop-pantheon. But the previous issues have also gone out of their way to establish that’s she different from the gods. Their fate – infinite fame, very finite lifespans – was foisted upon them. Laura seems to be actively planning for it – no friends, no A-Levels, just a dream that makes everything else not worth living through. Maybe Laura will fill one of the two remaining openings in that wheel of symbols, but I’d bet that if she achieves her dream – and it’ll be interesting to see how much she still wants it all now she’s has her first bitter taste of fame – it won’t be as a god, omnipotent and disposable, but something else. Something more, according to the prophecy of Laura. In order to rise above your influences and become something truly great in your own right, you have to kill your idols, as the saying goes. The downside of that, of course, being that your idols end up rather dead. “You say that they’ve all left you behind/Your heart broken, the poverty died.” We’ll see how that one pans out.                    Every Superhero Needs His Theme Music It was the suit that did it. Jamie McKelvie has an […]