There are a lot of ways for this week’s edition of Comics Disassembled – my column that looks at ten things I liked or didn’t like from the past week in comics – to begin, but when it came down to it, it felt only right to begin at the end.
1. WicDiv, Ending Snappily
It’s been a big year for endings at Image Comics, as three of the publisher’s biggest titles – first The Walking Dead completely out of nowhere, then Paper Girls, and now The Wicked + The Divine – came to an end in the past couple months. As noted many times before in this column and beyond by yours truly, ending a long-running series is one of the hardest things you can do in comics, especially when your title is a success. There are certain expectations that come along with that popularity.
That’s why it’s such an incredible achievement that this week’s WicDiv finale in issue #45 makes it three for three in nailing the ending, as the long-running title from Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles and friends stuck the landing completely. I’m not going to go too deep into it as I know this is a title that’s heavy in trade waiters, but what the team came up with was the perfect way to conclude the series, delivering a ton of emotional payoff and closure with this cast we’ve come to love over the years. It was also largely singularly unexpected, as the story the team delivered didn’t match at all what I had in my head. But it was so much better than what I expected, so I’m more than happy to be wrong.
I will say in particular that the final four pages of this comic – and for those that have read it already, I mean the actual final four pages – are on my short list for the best concluding pages of any comic I’ve ever read, as they’re perfect for what the book was all about. It…even made me surprisingly emotional? It’s a beautiful conclusion, and one that highlights the abilities of each creative within its four simple panels. Well done by everyone involved, and hey, way to keep that streak going! Three for three on good endings is a heck of a thing!
Related but unrelated: congrats to John Allison, Max Sarin and the rest of Team Giant Days on the final regular issue – but not the final final – of Giant Days dropping this week as well. I trade wait that comic, so I can’t say anything qualitative about that comic, but I’d wager it was brilliant as per usual.
2. Marvel, Going to School
When I received an email this week about Marvel partnering with Scholastic for Avengers related stories, I immediately became a living reflection of that Jack Nicholson nodding gif. I was so into it. “Finally!” I thought. “Marvel is committing to making young readers comics, and they found a partner that makes way more sense than IDW!” I was so in.
But then I kept reading the press release and I saw these weren’t comics or graphic novels at all, but prose novels. And then the disappointment hit like a hammer. They were so close to an amazing idea, as a partnership with Scholastic Graphix would make an unbelievable amount of sense. Avengers comics from Scholastic Graphix would be sales monsters, and I was very hopeful that Marvel realized that themselves. Alas.
I will say, though, that this is still a good idea. More Marvel content for young readers makes sense, and Scholastic is obviously a huge producer of things young readers love regardless of medium. Beyond that, the name of Preeti Chhibber’s Avengers book is straight genius, as it’s called Avengers Assembly, which is hilarious and perfect. So this will be a good thing. But why not graphic novels?! It boggles my mind, even if I end up supporting the move overall. So close to even better.