Gods, clones, superheroes and flappers: this weeks reading

After the disappointing filler of Wicked and the Divine V3 the series gets back to form with THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE: Rising Action by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McElvie. It turns out Ananke’s murder of Laura, the groupie recently turned into Persephone, didn’t take; Persephone’s back but can she convince the other gods that Ananke has an agenda they need to stop? As odd and absorbing as always — though it suddenly struck me how odd it is one of the deities is Baphomet, as he wasn’t any sort of a god (confused crusaders identified him as the god worshipped by Muslims, but he was never actually worshipped by anyone).

X-23: Family Album by Mariko Tamaki and Juann Cabal was an exercise in frustration: the character bits are good, the action scenes are good and the creators are capable but the whole thing is less than the sum of its parts. Partly that’s because the plot (pitting X23 and her clone sister Gaby against the Stepford Cuckoo Clones of Doom) never made a lot of sense (it’s also really hard to sort out one Stepford clone from another), partly because clone angst is just as annoying as mutant angst; as one clone in DC’s Power Company put it, nobody in the world ever chose to be born so just suck it up.

ASTRO CITY: Aftermaths by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson wraps up the long-running series not by resolving the plotlines in Broken Melody (I presume that will in one of the planned graphic novels) but with three stories dealing with loss, and what happens afterwards. A two-parter spotlighting the man-Corgi superhero G-Dog made me cry (admittedly that’s no great accomplishment when it comes to stories with dogs); a three-parter catches us up on Michael, the protagonist of The Nearness of You in which he learned the wife he loved had been erased from history as collateral damage a cosmic time war. He’s running a support group for people who have similar losses, but how will they react if they learn his story — especially when there’s no way to prove Miranda ever existed. The one part story dealing with a woman learning her father’s final fate was minor, though I do like the idea of a superhuman whose response to police brutality or government overreach is purely defensive (as opposed to Magneto like militarism).

FLAPPERS: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell is not the book I thought it was (my fault for just going by title and not reading the flyleaf) — rather than an overview of the flapper generation, it’s six biographies of prominent artistes of the era, from Zelda Fitzgerald to Josephine Baker to Russian emigre painter Tamara de Lempicka. As a collection of biographies it’s good, as an exploration of flappers in general it isn’t (though it does have a lot of general cultural perspective in the early chapters). And while I agree Zelda and Brit party girl Diana Cooper could reasonably qualify as flappers, I can’t see Baker or de Lempicka making the cut.

Oh, and over on Atomic Junkshop I have a post up about my fondness for DC’s largely ignored 1990s superhero Gunfire.

#SFWApro. Cover by Alex Ross, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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