Once again, we return… to Wicked Intervention, your best source for deep dives into “The Wicked + the Divine.” As we near the final arc of the series, we’re going to take a look at all the major characters, what they’ve been up to, and some of the ideas that went into making them (so FULL SPOILERS ahead!!). We’re also going to celebrate some amazing work from one of the best cosplay communities of all time. Then we are going to scrutinize the final few issues in exhaustive obsessive detail as the series comes to a close. It was never going to be OK.
aka Minnie, aka …ANANKE!?
The Story So Far: The Minerva story is either really simple or really complicated depending on how you look at it. As the youngest member of the Pantheon, Minerva’s parents were a big part of her life as a god. And they were awful. Just the worst stage parents you can imagine, charging inordinate sums of money for Minnie to dole out “blessings.” She didn’t really enter the story proper until Brunhilde attacked Woden. Minerva rescued Woden by blasting ‘Hilde out of the way, seriously injuring her in the process. When Brunhilde was recovering in the hospital, Minerva paid her a visit. She’s a good kid.
The only really positive relationship Minerva was shown to have was with Baal. He looked after her like a little sister, and treated her with gentleness and respect. Being the goddess of wisdom, she was turned on to the whole Ananke is evil thing a bit before the rest of the Pantheon, springing the Morrigan from captivity. Still a kid at heart, Minnie wasn’t willing to escape without her parents, so she returned to retrieve them. That… did not go well. Ananke showed up and murdered Minnie’s parents right in front of her, then kidnapped Minnie and dragged her off to the mysterious and bad news machine that Woden (well, actually Mimir) had been building. The rest of the gods stopped their fighting to come and rescue Minerva.
But unbeknowst to the Pantheon, they were too late. Ananke had already swapped places with Minerva. In fact, this was a recurring part of the recurrence. There has always been a Minerva, and Ananke always transfers into her body. The old lady walking around calling herself Ananke was the last Minerva back in 1923. Though the Pantheon thought Minerva was still around, this seems to be the end of the line for her.
The God: Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom. Perhaps you know her better by her greek name, Athena. You know the story. Zeus (Jupiter) swallowed her, and then got the worst migraine. When the gods opened up his head to see what was wrong, out burst Athena/Minerva, a smart and precocious baby. She was the patron goddess of Athens, and a popular character in many Greek myths.
The Romans kept the worship up, though they arguably weren’t as into her as the Greeks. That’s maybe putting too fine a point on it. Minerva got a week of celebration every year, and was featured on many Roman coins. Those Romans really got into the whole owl motif. Minne of the comics also dug owls, she had a magical robot one named Owly. Though the wisest of the gods, Minerva was never depicted as old, and her commitment to virginity was consistent in both Greece and Rome. There are lots of takes on Minerva, but comic book Minnie operates in the “wisdom beyond her years” mode.
The Icon: Minerva has got that cool jacket, which is a dead ringer for the Beatles look on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The military-style jacket has been a mainstay in pop music, including in perennial WicDiv favorite My Chemical Romance’s Welcome to the Black Parade. If you look at the variant covers, Minerva has a real hippie motif going on, rocking a lot of tie-dye and those John Lennon shades. It’s interesting that of all the gods of this version of the Pantheon, Minerva has the oldest style. David Bowie and Prince are much older than most of the other pop stars represented but the Beatles and the hippie movement and older still, and Minerva is the youngest one. It makes a weird sort of sense though. Have you ever known a too smart little kid who claims they really get the Beatles in a way their parents never did? My childhood was filled with kids like that. I was that kind of kid too come to think of it.Continued below
The Playlist: Young, poppy, too clever by half. It’s gotta be “Royals” by Lorde.
aka Necessity, aka Maiden, aka Crone
The Story So Far: Hoo boy. Here we go. Ananke’s story is shrouded in mystery and 6,000 years long. She claims to have been a big, big fan of the gods, but she traveled around the world chopping their heads off and sticking them in a bag. She eventually tracked down her sister in a desert with the intention to kill her, but the two of them knew that they would meet again through the recurrence. They establish a set of rules. They agree that every ninety years there will be twelve gods, but after two years they must all be dead. Her sisten then reincarnates last as Persephone, and Ananke tries to kill her again. I know, I know, those rules are weird and messed up. There’s still a lot that needs to be clarified. But whatever the specifics, they stick ti them for all of human history.
Every ninety years, the recurrence happens in a different place and the gods usher in a “cultural golden age.” Unless the Great Darkness triumphs, which seems to lead to bad things, like plagues or instability. Of course, a rebellion for some is a revolution for others, so “Great Darkness” seems a little bit judgey. One evident ertainty is that in every cycle, there is always a Minerva. Through an unknown process, probably involving dark magick and machinery, Ananke steals the body of young Minerva. By the time the next recurrence rolls around, she’s way old.
In the 2010s, Ananke awakened a new generation of gods starting with Baal. When Lucifer started acting up, Ananke murdered a judge and framed Luci for the act. Luci’s escape and rampage led Ananke to steal her head. Baphomet was the next to start acting up, and Ananke encouraged his bad behavior. She used this as a cover to steal Inanna’s head and blame Baphomet for the murder. The next stop on her killing spree was the Wilson household. She awakened Laura Wilson as Persephone (her sister? The mechanics are a bit unclear) and tried but failed, to kill her. Wanting to leave no mortal witnesses, she blew up the Wilson house, definitely killing Laura’s parents (but was Laura’s sister Jenny in the house!?).
The next victim of Ananke was Tara, who was deeply depressed. Ananke encouraged her to kill herself and when Tara asked for help, the lady of necessity was happy to oblige. Sort of. She stole her head. Which makes three. The anti-Great-Darkness ritual required one more head but before that, Ananke had business with Minerva. She had Woden build a scary-ass machine. When Minerva started to crack Ananke’s secrets, her parents were murdered right in front of her and Ananke took her down to the machine. Unbeknownst to the gods (and to the readers for the longest time), Ananke swapped places and took over Minerva’s body. Moments later, Persephone murdered an old lady, but Ananke lived on in Minnie’s body.
Which is hella creepy eh? Suddenly Minerva was acting up and being a real bratty team. Baal officially adopted her, and Persephone acted as a de facto mom figure (double creepy!). While all the other gods were running wild, Ananke gathered her heads and prepared for the end of her ritual. When Sakhmet got to be too much, she shot her in back of the head, then acted really shook about it. But she wasn’t shook, she was pissed. It was a waste of a perfectly usable head. That’s where we find Ananke now, in the body of a little girl, preparing to kill Persephone and complete her ritual.
The God: Another figure from Greek myth, Ananke is the daughter (and lover!?) of Chronos (father time, not father of Zeus). She has control over all of fate, and in many regards is the most powerful figure in Greek Mythology. The three sisters of Fate are her daughters, and she is the only one who can command them. You might be unsurprised to hear that more than a character with a lot of stories to her name, Ananke was largely thought of conceptually, making her a favorite amongst philosophers. She definitely had a shrine in Corinth, where she was actively worshipped.Continued below
As the bearer of fate, comic book Ananke is practically excused from needing any rationale. All she has to do is sigh and say “necessity.” Add to that her old age, and she’s a fascinating representation of the mysteries of adulthood. She’s constanty acting on behalf of the young gods “for their own good.” Her whole attitude screams “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” Every truism, every hypocritical abuse perpetrated by a loving parent, that’s Ananke. Since she chooses not to share her rationale, trusting Ananke is an act of faith. And considering that nearly every issue reminds you that she’s “a bad ‘un,” it seems WicDiv has a bone to pick with the idea of unshakable destiny.
The Icon: Ananke pre-dates the concept of pop music. She probably pre-dates the concept of written usic. I can’t find the creators of WicDiv citing any reference for Ananke, except for a meta-reference that happens in the text where Ananke is credited with inspiring Robert Graves to write The White Goddess. But there is a figure in pop music Ananke roughly corresponds to- the manager. She discovers the talent, books the gigs, and collects the profits. Unlike the producer gods, she’s not here to remix or advise on performances in any way. She simply picks the acts and reaps the rewards. Necessity.
The Playlist: “Pretend That We’re Dead” by L7? Lol, no, but that is her favorite thing to do. “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper? She probably loves that song (because literally who doesn’t) and like, yeah. But I think I’m going to have to give it to “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele. So much seething tempetuous vengeance and regret. Read any page that Ananke appears on, take a deep breath and then… “We coulda had it aaaaaaaalllllllllll…”