Welcome back to another edition of Wicked Intervention, Multiversity Comic’s monthly annotations for Image’s “The Wicked + The Divine”. This week, we meet the 11th member of the Pantheon, throw a little party, and dance our way through the fourth wall. As always, spoiler alerts are in effect.
Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself – The Cover Gallery
Our issue’s cover spotlight falls on the newest god: Dionysus. The classical Dionysus was the Greek god of wine, ritual madness, fertility and theater. Essentially, he was the fun one of the Mount Olympus crew. He came about when Zeus had an affair with a mortal woman (of course) who was driven mad by seeing Zeus in his full godly glory and croaked. The woman, Semele, was pregnant when she died so Zeus took the fetus from her womb, sewed it into his thigh, and gave birth to Dionysus through his leg a few days later which proves the pro-life movement was weird back then too.
Dionysus would then proceed to faff about for a while, meeting some king named Midas and helping him out with his gold fetish. The Greeks would worship Dionsyus with a festival called Dionysia where the greatest playwrights of the times would write and perform plays for audience that were really worshipping the god of wine if you know what I mean. The winning playwright of this competition would then win a crown of laurels because Boston Market gift cards hadn’t been invented yet.
Dionysus wasn’t just all fun, wine and fertility though. He once exacted revenge on someone who didn’t believe in his divinity by luring him to a group of Dionysian worshippers who were in “divine ecstasy” who proceeded to tear the man to shreds which was awkward since one of the worshipper’s was the poor guy’s mom. And when another king tried to imprison Dionysus’s worshippers, Di drove the king insane and caused him to chop up his own son. Dionysus loves to throw a party, but the minute that anyone tries to shut it down or take his name off the flyers, shit will go down.
On our modern WicDiv Dionysus, you can see those same laurels from the festival tattooed around the man’s head. That and the grapes on his symbol, as commentator phuzz noted last time, isn’t just grapes. They’re pills.
I’m none too sure whether or not Dionysus is based off any modern musician like the others but he does fit the raver-EDM archetype. I googled EDM artists to see if there might be one that particularly inspired Dionysus’s design but all I found was a bunch of dirty millennials. C’est la vie.
After last issue’s final page flyer, Laura and Inanna are checking out Dionysus, The Dancefloor That Walks Like A Man. Members of the Pantheon have their different types of temples (Morrigan’s tube station, Woden’s Valhalla) and Dionysus’s is a warehouse party.
Inanna’s not wrong about a Dionysian Saturday Night loosening people up. We’ll talk about this when the molly hits the fan, but “Ritual Madness” is going to be a huge part of this issue.
Also, props to Dionysus for having wild powers right from the gate. Here, he immediately possesses the security guard to allow Laura in with no hassle. That’s such a convenient and versatile move from getting through security to making annoying strangers go away. Heck, you could probably possess a couple of your own fans to go out and snipe at some people at a party… Oh.
Well actually, since Dionysus later mentions that he was at The Morrigan’s performance in issue #3, he wouldn’t have been in the Pantheon game during the events of the first issue so it’s unlikely he was in hiding like Baphomet was.
The proper way to pronounce that is to scream “YOLOOOOOOOOOO!” until the heat death of the universe.
So far there seems to be a major correlation between people who were fans of the Pantheon before it was cool and gods who are pretty nice people. I can’t tell if this is because these people are more like Laura so she’s more prone to befriending them or all the other gods are just posers riding the Pantheon bandwagon.Continued below
Speaking of the Morrigan/Baphomet performance, Gillen confirmed on his Tumblr that you can see Dionysus in issue #3. I’ve gone back and looked, but there’s enough slim guys who could have shaved their heads and turned into the living dance floor we now know.
We’re three pages in and Dionysus has already exhibited mind control, portal powers, and a very responsible understanding of consent. The “South American Frog” line is a reference to toads from South America that are fairly well-known for causing hallucinations. Family Guy did an episode about them if you’re into that kind of thing. Family Guy, not hallucinogenics. Laura touching Dionysus’s hand, meanwhile is similar to her taking some sort of MDMA. As I say in approximately every one of these columns, subtlety ain’t exactly WicDiv’s strong suit.
To sound like a tired cliche, let’s get this party staaaaaaarteeed.
At this point, the art team should really be given a standing ovation for a whole issue that’s basically just one big fourth-wall breaking rave. You don’t need an annotations column to tell you this, but everything from the numbers fading in and out and the discoloration is just sublime and something I don’t think I’ve really seen in a comic before. More props go out to Team WicDiv for pretty accurately depicting what doing ecstasy feels like (the drop, the high, the coming down.) Not that I would know. Multiversity Comics has a wellness policy after all. Don’t do drugs, kids.
The magic numbers 1-2-3-4 also make a comeback as Laura dances throughout the issue. They’re also working as a beat throughout the issue to keep us grounded. Kind of like good dancing. The panels will jump around and the EDM noises will seem all over the place, but if you stick to some sort of rhythm (1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4) then you’ll be fine. It’s kind of weird to think that the Pantheon’s powers all seem to work on a 4/4 signature, no?
But that’s not all that’s going on. I mentioned before that Dionysus was the good of ritual madness and that certainly applies to his powers here. His rituals in Greek culture resulted in something called “telestic madness” which is like a divine obliteration of the self. Not only is Laura giving into the party and the atmosphere, but she’s letting go all resistance and, like everyone else at a good party, giving into something greater than herself.
1-2-3-4. 1-2-3-4. 1-2-3-4.
For a medium that is incapable of expressing audible noises, WicDiv does an excellent job of keeping a beat. Also, Dionysus’s attitude seems pretty reflective of his lifestyle. Tobacco is kind of a sad drug, one you smoke outside of shitty concerts and after shittier one night stands. That’s not what he’s going for here. He’s happy and you’re going to be happy too. So take some more E.
As a reminder, Multiversity Comics does not advocate illegal drug use among its readers. And if a comic book column encouraged you to try ecstasy then your self-control problems manifested way before this post did.
We have now reached the point where the collective hysteria brought on by Dionysus’s rave has torn through the title pages. Again, Dionysus is wildly overpowered.
Also, ‘sup Annie.
I find it so interesting that we always find our way back to Laura’s parents. For a medium that often focuses on absent or dead parents, establishing a family that Laura’s come from does wonders to set up the foundation for her identity. Also, the couple of a raver mom and a boring electrician dad is beyond adorbs.
Quick question: anyone got an ID on Laura’s necklace? I don’t know if it’s a symbol or just really cool looking but it certainly sticks out.
As for the wires coming out of everyone, I think they’re the partygoers’ connection to Dionysus. Even if they don’t directly connect to him, they’re still a tether of sorts to the party.
And now the rhythm has turned into a heartbeat. It’s dug deep into the very essence of the partygoers. Or it just looks cool.Continued below
The story Cassandra (yay!) is referencing is when Orpheus, who had basically poo pooed on every god save Apollo, went to Dionysus and was torn to shred by his followers. Morose joke or morbid foreshadowing? #YouDecide.
I don’t know about Laura, but I know which 50% of me wants to dance with Baal. Ha cha cha. That would probably be the creepiest part of this column but Woden’s “I don’t dance. I watch” easily out creeps me.
Cassandra’s rant reflects something that Kieron brought up in our NYCC interview. Basically, the Pantheon doesn’t actually work with music, so much as they emit some godly energy that throws people into spasms. Telestic madness and all that. Non-believers like Cassandra can’t get into it the same way your grandparents can’t get into Screaming Females. To your grandparents, it’s just noise. To Cassandra, it’s a bunch of dirty millennials spasming about.
Alas, poor hetero Ammy.
I’ve no clue what Woden told Cassandra but it can’t be good. Did he give her a lead into what’s going on with the Pantheon? Did he feed her false information on the judge’s murder? Did he remove her ability to wield Mjlonir? Find out in “Thor” #1 by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman this October!
I’m totally fascinated by the coloring in this crowd. Most of the dancers are washed with some sort of pink while Baphomet and Sakhmet have a deeper red. Annie’s green and so does Laura, along with an electric blue hairdo. This may just be a way to signal whose an important character in this scene and whose not, but there’s a case to be made for the characters reflecting certain auras. And if the Pantheon have special dance-colors, why does Laura?
Also, to no one’s surprise, Baphomet’s still an unspeakable cock. And now Morrigan’s off the list of people who are 100% reliable. Okay, 50%. She does live in a subway people with two other personas, after all.
ANNIE/BADB, NEITHER OF YOU ARE NOT HELPING YOUR CASE.
Poor Gerard Way. I did some lurking on the internet and found that other people think Minerva’s aesthetic is also influenced by Michael Jackson and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Band era Beatles which I guess is the type of thing you think when you don’t listen exclusively to MCR.
Inanna’s reputation precedes him, considering we learned about his extracurriculars with Baal’s now-ex before we even met the man back in issue #4 from Luci, who we see here in a post-coital flashback. If anyone at home wants to take that as a band name, please feel free.
That “Ethical Sluts” quote from Luci is a reference to a book of the same name on consensual non-monagmist relationships. Poor Inanna. He only wants to express the love inside of him. Inside of other people. It’s not a flawless thought process, okay?
And before Inanna can even begin to get remotely mopey about his situation with Baal, in comes Happy Happy Dionysus. We Say Die, He Says Party.
Frankly, I’m not totally sure where this sequence was going. Is this Inanna morphing into everyone else in the Pantheon? Is everyone coming up to Laura and taking their turns yelling? I think this sequence may have something to do with that annihilation of the self I mentioned. We’ve reached past the point of people in a crowd and found a crowd made of people. Think the ending of “The Invisibles” where everyone turns into a singular love-child higher organism composed of different identities, but less permanent. What we’re seeing here is less everyone talking, and more one message that runs through all of them. “To make each other’s lives better. That’s all we can do. The end is coming faster than we-”
I imagine we’ll see the rest of that message at some time or other.
Oh, and spoilers for “The Invisibles”, I guess.
Page 24Continued below
And Dionysus’s consent clause from the beginning comes into effect as he immediately takes Laura out of the party! What a swell guy. A swell guy who can condense time into 24 hours. Again, his potential at this point seems unlimited.
Plus, Laura saying that Dionysus is one of the good ones while he says “heh” is highly suspect. There’s no way that Gillen writes someone genuinely complimenting another person’s character without them eventually regretting it. Honestly, it’s this scene that makes me not trust Dionysus, not his wild reality breaking powers.
This doesn’t help either.
Another one of WicDiv’s subtle music references.
Wicked Intervention has gone full circle from annotation column to reaction image database. For the next column, I’m just going to make a bunch of Douchebag Woden memes.
I love how Baal’s idea of showing his growing affection for someone is to start referring to them by their name. Also to ride in on his LITERALLY ELECTRIC SPORTS CAR so she doesn’t have to go on public transport on a late weeknight. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
And that’s it for this month’s edition of Wicked Intervention. Join us next week for a baaling morning after. If there’s anything we missed you’d like to bring up, feel free to do so in the comments or on Tumblr behind my back.