The Wicked + The Divine #15 by Kieron Gillen illustrated by Stephanie Hans
I’m new to the WicDiv fandom. I got into it between issues fourteen and fifteen. It was a tumultuous affair full of late nights and longing looks. We could just spend hours together…
Anyway, as things got more serious, I thought I recognized something in a panel and used a search engine to see if anyone else had. I learned that Mutiversity Comics had done annotations for the first twelve issues and then stopped. I learned that the author publishes notes for each issue, but doesn’t necessarily reveal all of their secrets.
One of the things we enjoy doing here at The Dinglehopper is looking way too closely at stuff we like. We mined a little over a season of Once Upon a Time. Erin has been dissecting Bitch Planet since the first issue. We’re sort of always doing it and sometimes we write it down.
So, when the preview pages for the Amaterasu issue went up, I decided to carry the annotations torch for a little while on Tumblr. Today’s post is the collected version: every page; every panel. We’re using our first ever jump to protect the innocent from spoilers. Below that jump is nearly six thousand words along with associated image and video references.
Issue #16 arrives tomorrow. If you need something to distract you while you wait, this might do it. Enjoy!
Cover A (Jamie McKelvie)
Standard format for the “Commercial Suicide” arc: 2/3 body shot with quarter inch margin and 4.5″ title circle with alternative palette.
Amaterasu appears in reds, pinks, and yellows cradling the sun in her palms. If you’re feeling generous. She might be ready to release a flaming Hadouken. Depends on the point she wishes to make.
The secondary palette is essentially the same in twilight, shadowed or eclipsed conditions. Which is cool. It’s a contrast that comes up within the issue as well. I like how it’s been related to the story. Tara’s was like a photo negative and Woden’s was in black & white.
Cover B (Stephanie Hans)
The alternate cover puts the sun before Amaterasu and the shadows behind her. This recurs throughout the issue, with the sun shining on Ammy’s face. Her tiara has twelve jewels: one for each member of the pantheon, living or dead.
She’s in the same pose we first encountered her in.
Artist Stephanie Hans posted a step by step look at creating the cover on her website.
Inside Front Cover
The logos, pun intended, and text are identical to issue 14′s, with the addition, “Unknown to all, Woden conspired with Ananke… and it was Ananke who killed the Judge… and Woden believes Ananke will be killing again soon.”
The summary’s been bothering me for awhile and it really grates here. The reader knows Lucifer didn’t kill the Judge, but the ambiguity stubbornly remains only to be subverted with the final line. It’s an unusual place to have unreliable narration. Makes you wonder what else is subject to change.
Tweenaged Hazel Greenaway and her private school classmates. The sun shines on her and the other two foregrounded youngsters. I point it out because it changes.
The boy falls into shadow and less distinct lines. Hazel remains bright, saturated, crisp.
Good doggy. Crazy bitch. We see some of the misogyny from the past three issues sustained here. Hazel cum Amaterasu is quick to anger and use the abilities she has to achieve the outcome she wants.
Remember when she was protesting her inability to have killed Lucifer? I really like how Hans seems to have drawn on existing material to explore her character.
The sun shines right on top of Hazel’s head. Her friend has gone from blonde hair and fair complexion on the previous page to white on blue-black. Like Urðr later, her adult, “put away childish things,” position is no fun at all.
Okami (shown here:
Gillen’s editor Williams’ copy)
There’s a sense that the folks who identified with a member of the pantheon or godhood in general were found earlier or more easily. According to Woden, Baal’s been doing this the longest. And according to Baal, he said he was a god before he knew he was one. So Hazel’s strong connection to Amaterasu apparently influenced her apotheosis.
Oh, wow, that was four years ago. And she was already, like, into herself.
“The Good Doggy,” may refer to Amaterasu’s relatively meek public face through issue fourteen. She’s often depicted looking down or giving her interlocutor a deferential side-eye. It obviously references the disparagement on page 1. And it’s certainly true that Ammy’s just a ray of sunshine; she makes people feel good.
I have a feeling that after all this time the toy’s something of a fond memory. “The Dog Days are Over,” as it were. There’s some specific stuff about her mother and her father coming up. And the final page is, well, I guess I hope the implications don’t cleave too closely to the lyrics.
The Images that transcend the panel structure and seep into the gutters in the following sections are memories. That’s why the palettes are different and their edges are fuzzy.
Hazel, probably “Emi,” visited Japan with her dad. This was one of the places on their tour. Meiji Shrine is a tourist destination. I don’t know enough about Shintoism to make any bold statements. But I know how to research and the notable takeaway here is that this place has little or nothing to do with Amaterasu. She’s not visiting because she’s a god. She’s visiting because she’s kind of a weeaboo and she misses her dad.
She’s crazy powerful and powerfully crazy. Gnawing on a classmate would get most folks expelled or sent to juvenile detention. Ammy gets to be a god. It’s probably a metaphor.
Someone needs to explain to me why “Walking on Sunshine” isn’t on the playlist. Seriously. If she’s going to step down sunbeams, there better be a song on there that better articulates it that I’m just forgetting.
She descends outside the torii because she’s trying. In a couple senses. The shrine is, like, sacred, so she couldn’t just bop in wherever. Never.
There’s a contrast here between respectfully passing through the gate and walking in like she owns the place, rising sun on her face. Oblique angels problematize the scene. Here it’s not her mental state but the action itself that’s slightly off.
Her phone rings. The one she brought into the sacred space. Trying and failing. The ringtone is profane inception.
Ōkami was a formative experience for this character. Everything from her obsession with her namesake to her participation in the Pantheon fan community to her diminutive for the previous recurrence of Amaterasu comes from the game.
This is for Amaterasu. Not for the rest of the Pantheon. In a very real way it doesn’t matter where she is since she can travel anywhere else there’s a ray of sunlight to slide down. But it doesn’t matter because it’s none of their business.
Or anyone’s. There is nobody else here. She comes alone. Is this clever timing? Is it a creepy part of her power to erase folks whenever it’s convenient? is it a Laura Thing?
There’s a flat line there because Tara’s dead. Issue 13 ends shortly before this issue and this one takes place on the same day as well. Oh, the image has righted itself. There’s serious business going on in the west. She doesn’t know Tara’s prior name, but she cares.
There’s no sense of how much time passed. I think we’re meant to experience the transition as immediate. The time difference between Tokyo and London is such that, well, y’know, I bet a wizard did it. Nothing good comes of saying this can’t happen when it clearly did.
That wizard. Or she’s noting the oblique angles again. Or memorial reverie.
Probably the latter. Here’s another flashback. I’m guessing her dad died here.
Concentrate, Ammy. This traumatic stress may be worse than I thought.
Bold steps. Ready. Okay, to the stage. They’re all always performing.
Dramatic entrance. You see the difference in her face from two panels back? She’s put this on, bracing against door and jamb, eyes wide, mouth relaxed.
Stephanie Hans posted a series of images taking this page from sketch to finish. Check it out.
Beautiful. What’s going on here? Dionysis is giving her the side-eye. Woden and Sakhmet are looking right at Amaterasu, the pov for this shot. Baal’s looking at Tara’s shrouded corpse. And Ananke’s got her guilty hand on it.
Amaterasu is the second character to be recognizably reflected in Woden’s helmet. Her odds of being number 4 have increased.
Which of them made the call? Baal’s the most expressive, thus necessitating a, “Calm down.” Woden would be concerned about where she was because she’s not wearing the surveillance jewelry.
Baphomet happened. Except he didn’t. It’s a frame-up, see. #fuckingtara is dead, long live #fuckingbaphomet.
Surprsingly dense for a title page.
We learn that this is the same day Tara was murdered and the same day Woden delivered his monologue to Mystery Helmet.
Gillen writes* that the title is: “Spoonerised Dying Of The Light, from Dylan Thomas.” My partner noticed this before I did because, well, I guess I think it’s overused. We all wear blinders.
This might be the most appropriate, puns intended, usage I’ve ever seen. There are subtle references to Dionysus, Woden, Baal, Amaterasu, and maybe even Baphomet if you look hard enough. And that’s exactly what appropriation encourages. Hard looks.
The poem was reputedly written for Thomas’s dying father, which speaks to Ammy’s loss. And it was written in Florence, which is weirdly meta given her visual template. Perhaps most importantly, though, the refrain, “Rage against the dying of the light,” mirrors the mission statement of the Pantheon. And the reversal illuminates their purpose. It also adds a note of adds a note of melancholy appropriate to the scene and an important theme of the issue.
The day before the issue came out, Gillen added “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys to the Spotify playlist. While it’s probably worth a discussion of its own, it’s worth noting a particular correspondence. Brian Wilson said about his vision for the song, “It’s like being blind but in being blind, you can see more.” And Thomas’s line, “ Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight”
*all of the notes after page 6 take into account Kieron Gillen’s notes on the issue
Ananke’s scene. Panel begins off the page.
Ananke cover’s Tara’s corpse. Literally and symbolically. “We lose another before her time,” because so far the old lady has only killed women.
This is a reiteration of the story she told Cassandra in issue 9, so we know it’s the same one the Pantheon gets, too. If snuffing out the light early allows the shadows to creep in, then Ananke is helping them.
She’s calling the sides. Lucifer, Inanna, Morrigan, Baphomet, Dionysus, and unbeknownst to everyone but her, Persephone, are all marked as cthonic. She’s painted a target on a guy who’s standing right there.
Here we go: “Children of Darkness.” But why is she conflating them with the underworld gods?
Really? Are we looking at her? ‘Cause that’s an extreme close up. Just sayin’
Actually it’s worth noting that Baphomet’s little buddy doesn’t show up until he has a moral crisis while contemplating murdering Urðr.
The war, on the other hand, seems to be something Ananke is more certain than afraid of. And she seems to be engineering it.
Oblique angle. Bisected by a shadow. Loss of focus. This is noir. Bottom of the panel is off the page.
Hans has painted Dionysus slump shouldered, nearly dragging the coffee cup. So both his dialog and his posture are long suffering. As far as we
know, he hasn’t slept in four months.
And Manichaeism tastes as bad as the stale adrenaline.
Issue fourteen showed us just how involved Woden was in all this. And how effective. He immediately starts handling the other gods.
Any mention of another god is noteworthy. Tara’s being compared to Christ.
Dionysus may not know Woden, but we know him a little better. Apparently his helmet doesn’t hide as much as he might imagine it does,
He knows he can’t reach Woden. And that makes him dangerous.
He knows Tara’s dead. He knows Baphomet’s been judged in absentia. He knows the Morrigan’s been kidnapped and imprisoned. He knows Ananke marked him. And he knows they’ve got nothing to say.
Tell me Baal’s voice isn’t John Stewart (Phil LaMarr) from Justice League.
Baal’s been a talker since issue two. Dionysus is driven.
She didn’t even fight back. No Badb.*
Woden and Baal sharing a significant look. Amaterasu, coming back into focus after fading in the background, is nonetheless literally in their shadow(s).
*Dionysus sent an email to his subscribers with his take on this encounter:
No, can’t fake it. Sorry, but Brother Dionysus is just got back from seeing Tara.
It’s a mess. I’m so… angry?
I didn’t exactly do myself proud there. Ended up saying some shit I regret. Only to Woden, but I still regret it. I stay away from Pantheon business. I really do. I’ve got my work, they’ve got theirs, and I’m about being there for as many as I can until this is all over. Together, we’re immortal. The night’s not so dark when we can see by each other’s light. You’re there for me. I’m there for you.
Wasn’t there for Tara though, was I?
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
I can’t believe it was Baph. I know half of you will hate me for that, but I can’t. I still can’t.
You ever been let down that bad?
Maybe I’ve always just been rainforest frog carrying a scorpion on my back. What a surprise! It stabs me.
Standing there, I wanted to fight them all. I’m not a fighter. I’m a lover. I’ve always stayed away from the Pantheon. The stink of Woden in that place. Hate it. They came to me, and in my church we’re all equal. They’ve been barred since they’ve locked up the Morrigan. They don’t get my communion if they act like that.
None of you know what they did to her to bring her in.
I only came to them at because of Tara. Sorry, girl. Never met you. Can’t but help feel it was my fault.
I wanna be your messiah. It’s not complex, guys.
I want you to go and call a person you love who you haven’t talked to for a while. Call them and tell them that you love them and your life was better for having them in it.
If you don’t have anyone like that, just hug yourself, even if you don’t love yourself. You should. You’re better than you give yourself credit for.
I’m not joking. Life’s too short to worry about cool.
God. Got to get back to the floor. No time for this. Coffee is kicking in at least. Up and down a lot these days. Can’t be a surprise, right?
LET’S SEE YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR!
As it makes it easier to pull a T-shirt on. Try sticking your T-shirt on with your hands by your side. Just won’t work.
For sale at New York Comic Con. October 8th-11th. $25 each. Artist’s Alley. X1 or X2.
No idea if they’ll be available anywhere else. The guys say they’ll see where they are the end of the weekend. Suggest you talk to friends who may be there, because I said you should talk to friends, right? Right.
Okay. I’m done. Peace out.
Sleep when you’re dead.
If what they needed to talk about was Baal’s discomfort with the dead, I can see why Dionysus left.
Amaterasu is looking out the window. Checking the time by the sun.
Most of the Pantheon seems to cleave to the notion that their fate is out of their hands. Tara and Cassandra are notable exceptions. They’re also the only two who’ve cried following performances.
If that’s the case, Sakhmet’s just being herself, here. It’s no more or less meaningful than Woden’s objectification or Baal’s self aggrandizement,
Baal can’t control Dionysus, so maybe Sakhmet? Power in all its forms. Contrast with Woden’s method.
“Actual Kitten Heel,” has become my favorite line, I think. Kitten Heels are slender 1-2″ women’s shoe heels. Did one of Baal’s nicknames miss the mark and provoke a lecture? Do they have routine style arguments?
No, don’t tell her what to do. Goddess of war, punisher of sins, spreader of terror; whose breath is the hot desert wind.
You can’t control people. You can live without regrets.
This is all bravado. He wanted to leave anyway and this is a convenient excuse. One of his hands is even still in his pocket, casual.
No surprise, then, that Amaterasu finally finds her voice. Her character’s dialog tree has an option for this interaction.
Here’s how Amaterasu works. Baal tried to prevent folks from leaving, so when he left she tried to stop him. She appropriates on micro and macro scales.
A slice of the truth that confirms all their prejudices… A lot of people will read this as Woden just being cruel. But he’s also keeping an incredibly powerful member off balance and preoccupied.
This panel. Stephanie Hans, y’all. She’s all Hazel here. Alone. Confronting everything Woden planted.
Cut-scene. Sorry, flashback. Viewing the body.
Almost sidling out versus the epic entrance. Position, posture, and color almost reversed.
Nothing to say to Tara. No one to say anything to Tara for.
Oblique angle for mental distress. Looking for a living audience, she visits Brunhilde.
This is a big beautiful shot that takes up 2/3 of the page, cradling all the other panels in its embrace. This is the comfort and companionship Ammy was looking for.
Toni, Robin, and Beth waiting for something to happen. Remember this?
Minerva holding Kerry’s hand as she sleeps has an element of creepy to it that shouldn’t be ignored just because she’s 12. She cautions Amaterasu for quiet.
How to eliminate the threat of gods of wisdom:
- Enlist them, like Woden
- Manifest them in children
- Treat them like children
They wouldn’t let her in to see Tara because she can intuit something rotten in Denmark from the absence of information. She could probably look at Tara and clear Baphomet.
On the other hand, Hazel can empathize with seeing an intimate corpse as a tween. It had a rather profound affect on her.
In fact, both had a rather profound affect. And of course she agrees with their decision. She’s still all Hazel, here. Feeling powerless and adrift.
Minerva’s eyes. These two talking is sort of amazing. Amaterasu tries to be the elder sister without knowing how. And Minerva is twelve and understands everything.
Watch the owlphone throughout the page. Here it’s looking at Amaterasu.
Gallows humor. About Woden: Gallows god. Gillen is Baphomet.
Luci and the Morrigan don’t add up. Presumably Innana and Tara do, so she’s buying the Baphomet explanation.
The owlphone is looking right. at. her.
Oh, Minerva, you beautiful cinnamon roll. Who made that owl? Why is it watching you while you say this?
Amaterasu finds her footing. Take solace in your godhood. Ignore those confusing twelve year old thoughts about dying so young and nearly killing someone. Everything happens for a reason, right?
And it works. Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day.
Oh. That font. Where have you been Cassandra?
And this is all anyone’s talking about. It’s the inciting incident for the rest of the issue. And it’s a distraction. But not just from the unraveling mystery.
Beth is looking right at Minerva. Beth is working for Woden. Beth is not there sit vigil over Kerry. Beth is there to document the Pantheon.
Right here I was sure Minerva was next. I’ve calmed down a little. But only a little.
Oh. And now the owlphone’s looking at Cass. Meaningful or not, it’s a nice detail.
Couple things. Beth is definitely responsible for selling out Cassandra and Laura when they were only just beginning. Beth is probably responsible for Ananke and her two thugs ambushing Luci. Again by selling out Cassandra. So.
This was worth noting ahead of time, in the notes on pages twelve and thirteen.
Cassandra and Beth aren’t yelling, but they are bickering. This sets up one of Amaterasu’s frustrations with Cass later. Beth’s offended Cass on a moral and an intellectual level.
This is literally just Amaterasu doing what Minerva did when she burst in all talky. Trouble is, she starts off calling Cassandra by the wrong name…
Which she’s not terribly fond of. So she strikes back in kind.
This panel is terrifying. It’s a cross between feral Hazel from page 1, panel 3 and Issue 1, page 12, panel 3. The eclipse eyes enraging rather than enrapturing.
It’s the first glimpse of Hans’ work pushing the color palettes against one another.
And, of course, Cassandra bringing their relationship full circle. Referencing the conversation from issue one as well as the art.
In a quarter page paired with its opposite above panel depicting the divine aspects of the characters in conflict. I like this page.
Now the kids are yelling. Minerva’s chagrined, distressed, and angry. Amaterasu’s powering up. Deformed panels and oblique angles denote her instability and the instability of the situation.
Quick answers to Amaterasu’s questions: no, no, and sometimes. This is her at her clueless apogee. Her own grasp of Shinto is precarious at best, garnered via vacation and video games. Her Amaterasu persona is projected by a public relations machine regardless of its… er… Pantheon truth. If Tara wasn’t clear on who she’s incarnated, then basically it’s Ananke’s word, right?
What about my feelings, but never mind that I’m ignoring yours…
The thing about Cassandras is that they’re always speaking truth in a way that no one accepts. Case in point, Cass’s dialog here is undeniable. But only a few of us would welcome that presentation and fewer still would use it around a hospital bed.
Amaterasu’s fully powered. Because, and let’s stress this, the appropriate response to terse words is physical violence. She’s learned a lot since she was a kid.
Turning the panel itself into a slanting sunbeam is lovely.
Look at how surprised Cass is by the hand on her arm. How much more surprised is Verðandi? Look at the joy on Amaterasu’s face, reveling, confident this is how she can make herself heard.
Why, yes, she did just shatter glass all over three civilians, a patient, and Minerva. So when she talks about caring about hurting people later, it’s worth remembering that.
This panel is technically the whole page. So the sunbeams halfway up on the right are more or less analogous to panels four and five. The action is fast. And Amaterasu’s actions were premeditated.
Genbaku Dome, Peace Park Memorial, Hiroshima, Japan.
She chooses to bring them high over the city for a throw.
Because Amaterasu was a character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as well.
Oblique angle counterpoised with an oblique panel increasing the impression of ground shaking impact. The Norns are pretty much indestructible.
Iconic Superman imagery. Not just a superhero. The solar superhero.
It’s not like Cass was asking to be afforded the opportunity to visit her country of ethnic origin.
The Norns appear to be more strictly nonviolent than the Morrigan. Sure, Badb is capable of violence, but she’s mostly the threat thereof so far. These three don’t have a scratch on them, but nonetheless won’t lift a finger.
“Culturally appropriative Avengers,” is as much an indictment of herself as Amaterasu. All of the gods we’ve seen if we’re being picky. Except maybe Baphomet, if he’s the Crowley version.
The color contrast that framed page 14 comes into direct contact. Their aspects are literally, visually, pushing against one another. The Norns are speaking with one voice, no longer allowing Cassandra to do all the talking.
Ironically, they are superheroes. That’s been clear from issue one. The Norns’ issue is that Amaterasu acts like a comic book, or more appropriately, video game, character. Teleporting across the world and hurling them from the sky.
Amaterasu knows they are but what is she.
Digitally, pages 16 and 17 look good. In print, they’re amazing. The framing vertical panels provide a sense of motion and momentum. But the interior panels do some subconscious work to anticipate panel 5, parallel borders rising with slightly more blank space at the bottom of this page.
Gillen said these were done Marvel Method; so kudos to Stephanie Hans, here.
Gillen says Captain Marvel Hands. I thought of Sunfire mostly because we were already on the subject of questionable portrayals of Japanese culture. Similar powers and palettes.
I’m tempted to call Amaterasu’s statements gibberish, but that’s unfair. The three sentences run from probably true to manifestly false. The people they care about aren’t the same is all.
The Norns Kant even. As readers we know “Ammy” is literally indulging in childhood fancy with at least part of her persona. And Cass has repeatedly pointed out the troubling nature of what she’s doing. Even so, they don’t just say, “Grow up.” They exemplify the moral behavior of idealized rational beings and expect folks to get it.
Then they call her Hazel. Which is intentionally provocative.
Oops. Sakhmet with fire coming out of her mouth looked more approachable than Amaterasu does, here. Again, the blind rage Hans give us is fantastic.
Reversing panel 1 from the previous page. Cass is scared.
This is actually one of Amaterasu’s abilities in Okami. If you’e a Cassandra fan, you’re always worried she’s gonna die, so it’s nice that this wasn’t a two page spread or something. And this is the antithesis of the Pantheon’s keep the miracles on the DL policy. I suspect one of the reasons for the font was to emphasize that.
This is August 18th. Less than two weeks after the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony. Why on earth would Amaterasu come here, now, and do this? No, Cass, she has no idea.
Existential horror. However short lived. See, Cass, sometimes people listen. Sometimes they understand.
Flashback. Borderless and transcendent. Emily and her father are solid, real. The Genbaku Dome is an outline. A destination on their tour. This is the Japan she knows.
“Oh God.” G-O-D God. Nothing to do with Shinto. See page 1 panel 1. The eclipsed eyes take on a whole new meaning. Hello, Hazel.
For the folks on the ground, this might not be as reassuring as it is to us. Nuclear explosions go panel 1(blinding flash), panel 6, characteristic mushroom cloud.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park aerial view.
Just lying on the beach in an impact crater. Like you do.
In the writer’s notes for issue 9, Gillen wrote, “Generally speaking, that full-row ¼ page panel is reserved for key lines in WicDiv. We use it a bunch.” Here’s a ¼ page borderless panel in an issue where the borderless panels are almost exclusively used for flashbacks; but it’s the immediate present.
It made me wonder if it was pointing to anything in the series’ past. So it drew a parallel between Cass and Amaterasu. Same words used to explain vastly different behavior. Amaterasu going ballistic over Hiroshima versus Cass’s harsh words to Beth, conveniently reiterated earlier in the issue.
Ellipses connecting one panel to the next to direct the reader.
Like, before Cassandra was Urðr. Before Hazel was Amaterasu. Before Zahid was Inanna and Eleanor was Luci? So Laura wasn’t the only ascended fan. We knew that already – Inanna, Dionysus, Urðr – but it wasn’t clear how tight the in crowd seems to have been.
Before the issue came out, ashandthorny wasn’t registered on Twitter or Tumblr. Now both have squatters.
Hazel was creating and posting Okami fan art in addition to following the Pantheon. Completely reasonable, really; especially considering Amaterasu was a member of the last one. But how exactly does her obsession converge with her incarnation?
“This is a fucking Fantheon.” Everybody laugh. Good joke.
Hey, Cass is on to something, here, I hope nothing derails this like she derailed Minerva.
Of course Hazel changed her name. We knew that from page 1, but it’s made explicit here because you need to see both how she and Cassandra are similar and how they’re different. They’ve both had three names. The one they choose is a matter of identity. Not even Ananke can rename Cass.
Emily’s druidy phase is a reference to The White Goddess. Hazel, Oak, and Ash are letters in one of the alphabets Graves discusses at length. Teasing meaning from it is probably best done elsewhere. She goes all in.
“You’re doing this wrong,” is the pull quote for the issue. Again this is the tragedy of Cassandras. Nobody understands.
They all sing the same refrain. Ananke didn’t mention it in the interview with Cassandra, but this is so common among the Pantheon that it has to be in the manual. But in Amaterasu’s case, it’s not just her argument; it’s her message.
Ammy’s been searching for identity, for meaning, since she was Minerva’s age. Younger even. Moving from one faith to the next to the next. Now she is faith. And she still doesn’t know…
This issue informs that first appearance and provides, along with what we know about Cassandra/Urðr, confirmation that the person, not just the god, has some bearing on how the glossolalia is interpreted.
Slightly wider than panel 3. Expect nothing less from gods of order.
Slightly taller than panel 2. Everything just happens. We only have each other.
There’s probably a better place to talk about Cassandra having no idea how her music affects people. But it’s true. She’s seen every member of the Pantheon and felt nothing. Rare and cursed, Ananke called her..
Amaterasu is making memories. Page 12, panel 2. Page 19, panel 1. This one. Remember when we were watching the sunset after falling out of the sky that time?
The sun’s setting. Great talk. If Ammy wants to make it to that shrine, she’s gotta motor.
She may not feel anything, but watching a miracle is still watching a miracle. Verðandi and Skuld catching up.
“You don’t care that your ideals are hurting people. You don’t care that people are hurting.”
Yah, you had that quiet moment of acceptance and then she left you stranded far from home. There are a lot of places this could take the narrative, but I suspect she’ll just get back in a day or so.
Kieron Gillen: “The whole issue takes place in the time just before sunset.” At first glance I’d just assumed page 4 was morning and page 20 was evening. But the camera has actually swung around and moved inside the shrine.
She’s in a hurry so the business about respectfully entering isn’t important this time. This is all about her peace of mind rather than proper observance.
Explains why she wanted to get there before sundown. She’ll be stuck in Tokyo herself, but she’s not without resources.
In all the photos I’ve seen, nobody’s kneeling. This is some Ammy specific syncretism. It puts most westerners in a prayer frame of mind.
In addition to her mobile, she’s got a hoard of ema in her bag, which hasn’t left her shoulder until now. Right after the issue came out, there was a post, since deleted, that discussed the appropriateness of supplicating her father at this shrine in this way. The tl:dr was that she was doing it wrong. A point that’s been made and appears in big letters on the back cover.
Does she do this every day? She does this every day. That’s why she stranded the Norns in Hiroshima. she’s not flighty; she’s obsessed.
There’s a lot going on here, which is what you want from a single image that takes up the whole page. So, the basic structural stuff. The speech bubbles are arranged in a circle, evoking both her tiara and the title page. Nine bubbles for the nine living gods and twelve gems on the tiara for the twelve members of the Pantheon, just like Hans’ cover.
Which leads to slightly deeper structural stuff. The image is an inversion of Hans’ cover. Standing versus kneeling. Inside, nominally, versus outside. The sun on her face with shadows behind versus the sunlight on her back with shadows before her.
Which, y’know, prayers for the dead. Maybe the dying.
Tara was called Aruna prior to her apotheosis. Ammy says, “I think,” but Gillen more or less confirmed it. Is it clear that names are a big deal in this issue? She sparked the conflict by insisting on calling Cassandra Urðr, but she’s denied the dead gods their Pantheon names.
Except… Okay so this last bit is a sort of an interpretive dance. Who’s going to die next? I’m not laying money on any of these, but they’re worth mentioning.
“Help the dying. Help Cassandra.” Praying for Cass and calling her by her mortal name in this context kind of marks her for death. Baphomet tried to kill her once already. and she’s a potential threat to Ananke if she wises up.
Doing some irresponsible image comparison, arrange the bubbles over the remaining gods. Starting in the upper left and putting that one over Baal. The most faded bubble goes over Minverva. Who is actually wising up. And whom Beth appears to be surveilling.
Finally, Amaterasu herself. The pinks behind her are from Ananke’s palette for this issue. She’s just made the greatest possible spectacle of herself. On the other side of the world, which may or may not be significant. Do they perform outside Britain? And her legs…
Amaterasu’s prayer fades out like a song, like her song, as the light of the day too fades away.
Gillen: “I suspect I was thinking about the Shellac song, except not really.”
I thought of “Prayer to God.” The not really is sort of comforting, but how much so I’m not sure.
There are two people here, and I want you to kill them
Her, she can go quietly, by disease or a blow
Him, just fucking kill him, I don’t care if it hurts
Page 31 (Videogames #3)
I’ve been trying to use Emily, Hazel, and Amaterasu appropriately depending on the panel and Ammy where it’s mostly irrelevant. She picked up even the diminutive for herself from Okami. And applied it to the 1920s incarnation. Lucifer apparently wasn’t very fond of her best friend’s choice, there.
Ammy jerked her hand back. She’s not that kind of girl.
Brunhildy… Woden’s a pervert. Insecure. And all the girls hate him. Surprise me.
Except that’s out there and the scene in issue 9 was probably planned for a long time.
I wonder what that powered fist does to a person?
Kerry’s slightly less sympathetic, now, I guess.