[Cover by Paolo Rivera]
You might have been able to tell that I, like many others, am a fan of Curse Words by Charles Soule and Ryan Browne, based on my previous review of issues #1 and 2. Happily, the book has grown quite a fanbase and gone to multiple printings and increasingly hilarious variant covers. But to recap in case you haven’t yet read this book, Curse Words features a nearly omnipotent magical being, Wizord, who is sent to earth by some kind of dark deity to destroy it, gets distracted by the ways in which he finds it amusing, and stays. On earth, he shows off his powers in various comic and horrifying ways (like shrinking down an entire stadium and taking it with him to prevent bad press about himself), and gradually begins to become a friend-of-sorts to earth, shying away from his original mission. Also he has an animal familiar, the talking koala bear Margaret who is a Twitter favorite.
[Cover by Ryan Browne]
What Curse Words does is bring in various fantasy elements from many traditions, interweave it point for point with modern concerns and absurdities, and continue to move through a plot that features a Loki-like somewhat evil character trying to decide if that’s what he really wants to be. But, in truth, it’s pretty deeply ingrained in him to be vain and self-loving, and that’s very theatrical to watch in action. The magic and spectacle may get you–and Ryan Browne’s artwork is outstanding on the series– but hopefully the humor will keep you reading, too.
[Warning! Mild spoilers for issue #3 below! If you don’t want to know anything about this issue, stop here.]
However, in this issue, #3, things branch out even more widely as we explore “The Realms of the Hole World” where the dark lord Sizzagee rules, and Wizord’s former love Ruby Stitch still remains–for now. Spending so much time in this realm allows us room to see Ruby Stitch in action, including charging up the power on an incredibly powerful ruby sword, and also to see a couple flashbacks which clue us in on the nature of her relationship with Wizord. Spending time in this Kool-Aid colored realm also really lets colorist Michael Garland go crazy in a comic that’s already very bright and energetic.
It enables us to see Wizord more clearly for the creators to develop the character of Ruby Stitch for us–she’s our main point of comparison now for how to judge his qualities as a native magician of the same realm. She’s unfailingly loyal to her dark lord, as we see. She’s also a force to be reckoned with in military might, and someone who has rejected close relationships. We don’t know that for sure. You could interpret her rejection of Wizord as a judgement on his qualities–maybe she thinks he’s a goofy weirdo, who knows–or as a rejection of sentiment and attachment altogether.
By contrast, this creates sympathy for Wizord. And this issue, where we meet him in the human world drowning in sorrow having been shorn of his powers, it is a fair amount about sympathy. Suddenly Wizord is a kind of defenseless refugee on Earth having been all-powerful previously. He’s now the underdog. But his mind, actually, is still pretty sharp despite the booze. He points out that Earth now has no protector and Sizzagee will soon destroy it. And he’s right. Wizord was, we realize in retrospect, actually the good guy. All of these situations in this issue reinforce that–and so we start to rally to Wizord. He’s down, but is he out? Is there anything else he can do to regain his powers? Leave it to Margaret to conjure a little magical thinking.
Coming up in the series, we are told that we’ll learn the “terrible cost of Wizord’s power-ups” and that there’s going to be Curse Words Wizord Van Tour this summer from Team Curse Words, so stay tuned for those locations–shops where they’ll be stopping.
Curse Words #3 is currently in shops. Curse Words #4 will be arriving in shops on April 19th and is currently listed in Previews World with item code FEB170636.