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    Wicked Intervention: Laura Wilson, Persephone

    By | January 2nd, 2019
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    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. Maybe, somehow, it will be okay?

    Persephone
    aka Laura Wilson, aka the Destroyer

    The Story So Far: Once again we return. Laura Wilson was born in May, 1996. She loved in the Pantheon and believed in their return years before it happened. In 2013, she argued with David Blake (who would one day become Woden) and accused him of faithlessness. When the gods started to appear, Laura went to every single show she could. She was a completionist, going to see Baal, Inanna, Sakhmet, Tara, Lucifer, Minerva, and The Valkyries.

    On New Years 2014, Laura attended an Amaterasu concert (in cosplay!). She was invited backstage by Lucifer, and was present when gunmen opened fire and the gods. She attended Lucifer’s trial and witnessed the murder of the judge, which was pinned on Lucifer (but was really committed by Ananke). Laura visited Luci in jail multiple times and vowed to find the real murderer. Through their visits, the two of them grew to be genuinely close. Laura also connected with journalist Cassandra Igrashi, and the two of them pooled their resources for the investigation. But before they could prove Luci innocent, she busted out of prison and went on a rampage. The other gods tried to stop her, but mostly succeeded in causing a lot of property damage. Finally, Ananke seemingly killed Luci right in front of Laura, Cassandra, and the national media. (In fact, Ananke stole Lucifer’s head for a dark ritual, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing). Laura sank into a depression, but to her surprise was able to magically light one of Lucifer’s cigarettes. Wha-huh!?

    Due to her relationship and proximity with Lucifer, Laura became moderately famous. Which sucked, becuase who wants to be famous for standing next to a friend as she gets murdered? But the rest of the Pantheon came out to support her (in their own weird ways). Inanna befriended Laura and offered her a much needed hug. Baphomet and the Morrigan took her out for some angsty Karaoke. When Dionysus recieved his powers, Laura attended his rave. She made an appearance at the Ragnarock festival. Then she was approached by Ananke, who asked her if she wanted to be of the Pantheon. Despite everything, Laura’s answer was still yes. And did Ananke have some news for Laura. She was secretly the secret thirteenth god, Persephone. Laura had one single moment of delight before Ananke tried to kill her. The murder was stopped by the unexpected arrival of Baphomet and Innana, the latter of whom was killed by Ananke. Then, for good measure and presumably “necessity,” Ananke blew up Laura’s house, killing her parents and sister.

    If you thought Laura Wilson was sad, the new depths of despair she reached as Persephone were unbelievable. Baphomet tried to treat her with kindness, but this just led to inadvisable sex. Wanting revenge, Persephone played her first gig (“Persephone’s in hell”) and attracted the attention of the gods. This is believed by many to be the inciting incident of Pantheon: Civil War. Persephone stormed Valhalla to get her revenge, backed up by Dionysus and Baphomet. Ananke was protected by Woden and his Valkyries, Sakhmet, Baal, and Amaterasu. When Cassandra (now the goddess Urdr) got to the fight, she negotiated a cease-fire and had the gods work together to rescue Minerva, who Ananke had in her clutches. The Pantheon found Ananke feeding Minerva into a very upsetting looking machine. Urdr and Baal tried to convince Persephone to spare Ananke, but when she remembered her sister Jenny, she snapped her fingers and blew Ananke to little meaty pieces…

    Continued below

    Well, her body anyway. Unknown to them, Ananke had already completed a ritual and was now in Minerva’s body. The Pantheon didn’t know this though, and without Ananke to boss them around, they started their ‘Imperial Phase’ where every could do “whatever they want.” As it turned out, this was largely to give into their worst impulses. Persephone, now an orphan and a murderer, really started to lose it, and sunk into her deepest depression yet, which she tried to numb with sex, drugs, and parties. She entered into something like a conventional relationship with Baal, while also having a lot of sex with Sakhmet. She made out with Amaterasu, and slept with Baphomet again. Ananke had called her “the Destroyer” (which is one translation for “Persephone”), and Laura leaned into it, getting her new fans to call her that.

    Around this time she learned about the Great Darkness. Aparently, all of this freaky business Ananke had been up to was to prevent the rise of the Great Darkness. Persephone learned that shadows had murdered Baal’s dad, and without Ananke around, they were emboldened to strike again. The shadows tried to snatch Minerva (actually Ananke in Minerva’s body), and Persephone, Amaterasu, and Baal fought off the Great Darkness. The next day, the Pantheon had a really tense meeting, deciding how to move forward. Some of the gods wanted to charge in to a fight, some wanted to learn more about their enemy, and some wanted to ignore the problem and keep up all the partying. The deciding vote went to Persephone, who chose anarchy, pissing off Baal and ending their relationship.

    So Persephone leaned into the hedonism of the ‘Imperial Phase’ even further. She slept around even more, and formed an open relationship with Sakhmet. She learned that Morrigan had discovered that she had been sleeping with Baph, and was taking it out on him violently. Then Sakhmet went on a killing spree, and Persephone got caught in the middle of the investigation. At first she covered for Sakhmet, but eventually gave away her location to Baal, who sent Ammy to go pick her up. This didn’t end well for Ammy, who ended the night with her throat torn out. The gods caught up to Sakhmet at Persephone’s apartment. Words of anger and affection were exchanged and it seemed like Sakhmet was about to kill Persephone, but at the last moment she was shot from behind by Minerva (who again, it should be noted, was really Ananke).

    Could Persephone sink any lower? Well, she had a confrontation with Baal, and learned that he was not Baal Hadad as he had claied, but Baal Hammon. Oh, and he had been murdering babies for magic powers. It was not a happy moment for anyone. Then she ran into Urdr (probably her best friend at this point), and learned that Dionysus was in a coma and would never wake up. Urdr and Persephone had a lot of unresolved beef, and it all came to the surface in a screaming argument. Things were thrown, revealing a secret room in Valhalla, a prison. In it, they met Jon Blake, son of David Blake aka Woden. Jon you see, was the real god, Mimir, and he had been enslaved by his dad and forced to build magical gadgets that made him seem like a god. Woden showed up and imprisoned Persephone and Urdr, stating his intention to kill the former. Mimir threatened to stop making gadgets for his dad if he did a murder, and Woden just sort of sniffed and said “we’ll see about that,” and left to go take care of nefarious business. Laura and Cassandra, using their given human names, had a bit of a reconciliation. Then, Cassandra summoned the other two Norns to free them from Woden’s prison.

    In her confrontation with Baal, Laura revealed she was pregnant. Baal looked like he was pretty sure he was the father, but it just as easily could have been Baphomet or one of many anonymous guys Laura had been hooking up with. It doesn’t matter though, because Laura decided not to keep the baby. It is notable that way back in the day, Ananke told her sister (the OG Persephone) that she would be the maiden and crone while Persephone would be the mother. How Laura’s experiences relate to that prophecy only time will tell. Ananke is still out there in Minerva’s body, and though his son has been freed, David Blake is still at large. Her enemies are out there, her friendships are crumbling, and her time is running out. As the series comes to a conclusion, we will see if anything will ever be ‘Okay.’

    Continued below

    The God: Persephone is eternally popular with ancient greeks, goths, and teenage girls alike. She’s the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of nature, but Hades, the god of the underworld, took a fancy to her and sucked her down to the underworld. He offered her a big feast without making clear the rules- that anyone who eats the food of the underworld can never leave the underworld. For whatever reason (Hunger? Spite? Attraction? She just really likes pomegranates?) Persephone eats six pomegranate seeds. The loss of her daughter threw Demeter into a deep sadness and she stopped coming in to work, bringing about winter. Zeus intervened and went to his brother and was like, “bro, this is not gonna work. Demeter is falling apart.” They reached a compromise that Persephone would spend six months on Earth and six months in Hell. Demeter takes this poorly every year, hence winter happening every year.

    The story itself probably pre-dates Greece and goes back to Mesopotamia (involving our old pal Ereshkigal from the myths of Inanna and Nergal). Even within WicDiv, the story is older than Laura Wilson. Unlike most of the other gods, Persephone recurs in every cycle. It’s an eternally popular story. It also inspires a lot of revisionist takes. Though the Greeks referred to the story as “The Rape of Persephone” a lot of re-tellings cast Demeter as the villain. Hades and Persephone share a mutual attraction in those stories, but overbearing mom Demeter doesn’t approve.

    All of that fits for Laura Wilson. She’s surrounded by potential lovers and overbearing parental figures. A lot of the time, she just wants to sleep around, and a lot of the sex she’s just having frankly looks pretty unhealthy. There’s a great second wave vs third wave feminism debate to be had there. Does Persephone need to be rescued from Hell by a responsible mother figure? Or is it her right to make her own choices, even the bad ones? Laura Wilson has proven to be a deeply relatable and mutable protagonist throughout the series, and Persephone is one of the most enduring myths in the whole canon. Comic fans will be reinterpreting and arguing about Laura Wilson for a long time to come.

    The Icon: There are two phases to her style: the Laura phase and the Persephone phase. Laura Wilson is a stylish girl, but her style is deeply informed by the other members of the Pantheon. When we first meet her, she’s not dressed in her own look, she’s wearing an Amaterasu costume. “The stranger in the mirror looks back,” she says. “I wish I was her. She looks like a god.” While some fans devote themselves to one style, one artist, Laura devotes herself to them all. That’s not because she’s some kind of fashion slut, it’s because her interest is in the power behind the style. From the get-go, she’s attracted to the transformative power of fame. She emulates each of these gods not because she likes self-indulgent goth shows, or arrogant rap, or dropping acid at a rave, or any one thing. She likes them because they are gods. That’s the attraction.

    And then she becomes one. The god influences are almost more striking than the musical influences: Persephone is never without vines and skulls (and abs. So many abs). Her style has been described as part MIA, part Siouxsie Sioux, which I see. MIA has a versatile sound and a versatile style. She always looks deliberately unkempt, favoring a DIY look to the impossible theatricality of Rihanna or Lady Gaga. And its impossible to not evoke Siouxsie Sioux when you’ve got that many skulls.

    But really, Laura Wilson is an expression of her creators. Jamie McKelvie is a fashion genius, and Persephone’s style is all him. Just look at his body of work, from “Phonogram,” to the “Captain Marvel” redesign, to “Young Avengers” (especially “Young Avengers”), to “X-Men Season One” and even “Cable.” This is a guy who thinks about how clothes express characters in everything he does, and Laura Wilson might be his most effective creation. And he and Kieron Gillen have been writing a trilogy of sorts, that starts with “Phonogram” and goes into “Young Avengers” and culminates with “Wicked + Divine.” It’s about being a fan of something, of loving it so much that it becomes a part of you and you become a part of it. It happens to David Kohl, and to Kate Bishop, and to Laura Wilson. Looking back at their collaboration (so far!), Laura Wilson is their thematic mission statement made into a character.

    Continued below

    thesupremequeen.tumblr.com

    The Playlist: The first track on the WicDiv playlist is “Pink Summer” by Summer Camp. I knew the band but not the particular song before the playlist was created, but I think it would have become the theme song for “The Wicked + the Divine” anyway. It’s musically and lyrically perfect. “The Wicked + the Divine” is Laura Wilson’s story, so “Pink Summer” is Laura’s song.

    From the beat of my heart to the tips of my fingers
    From the length of my hair to a warm warmth that lingers
    In the days where it gets to hot to be happy
    All the moments with safety a blanket wrap me

    From the seas where we ran in the water that’s blue
    All the planes where I fell asleep next to you
    And maybe this will kill us
    And maybe this will kill us
    What a way to die
    What a way to die

    It’s not how much you love
    It’s how much you are loved
    It’s how much you are loved

    My parent’s house memories float in the corner
    Your best friend’s waiting where the sun spills over
    To those we feel we don’t know anymore
    Or friends we know we couldn’t love anymore

    In the basement filled store you’re sicced and patted
    A band wrapped so tightly you can’t help but snap it
    And maybe this will kill us
    And maybe this will kill us
    What a way to die
    What a way to die

    It’s not how much you love
    It’s how much you are loved


    //TAGS | Wicked Intervention

    Jacob Hill

    Jake is from New York. He currently lives in Ohio. He's one of those people who loves both Star Wars and Star Trek. He also loves talking comics anywhere, anytime! Come say hi to him @Rambling_Moose or at a con!

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  • Annotations
    Wicked Intervention: Minerva + Ananke

    By | Dec 19, 2018 | Annotations

    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 […]

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