Charmed #5 is out today!
Under the cut you can read my interview with Pat Shand talking about the events of the issue.
Please note that the interview contains spoilers so please avoid to read it if you don't want to be spoiled.
Click "Read More" below to continue.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: What would happen to Cole if he had decided to join Belthazor and accept his offer? Would he continue living and become half-demon again?
PAT SHAND: That’s something I purposely left ambiguous. Belthazor’s plan was desperate and there’s no proof that it would’ve worked, or if the conversation really happened at all. Which is a bad way to word it, for sure, but I’ll circle around back to that. There’s that quote from the final Harry Potter book, where Harry is between life and death, talking to Dumbledore. He asks Dumbledore if what’s happening to him is real, or if it’s all in his head. Dumbledore says, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” It’s a beautiful moment that worked both for that scene in Potter, but also for the readers. I didn’t draw on the comparison between Cole’s death and that scene until later, but I was moved when I thought of it. Even if the Belthazor scene was an effect of Cole’s mind dying – which I’d never say, totally up to the readers – it still gave Cole something vitally important. A choice and a final fight.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: While Cole taking the hit for Coop was a heroic act, it was a split second decision as you described in our #4 interview. In #5 he has a chance to cheat death once more and doesn’t take it. Was denying Belthazor the true step to Cole’s redemption?
PAT: It was more of a statement than a step toward redemption. If Cole lived, he’d live the rest of his life (unlife? Pseudo-afterlife?) working toward atonement, knowing that it’s his actions that give him purpose and that atonement, for him, isn’t an end goal, isn’t the light at the end. It’s not something he can grasp. I want to be clear that he didn’t do this for atonement, not for himself. He did it for Phoebe.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Why did Valen say “This is how it feels like to win” before he died? His goal was to completely destroy the Charmed Ones and he failed. While he managed to kill Cole, Cole was never really his target.
PAT: He wanted to destroy the Charmed Ones, sure. He wanted to destroy at least one of them. In his mind, he did. Notice the beat he takes to look at Cole’s dying body before he lets himself realize that he’s won. He’s reveling in his destruction of Cole, and his perceived destruction of Phoebe as a result of that. In his mind, he got what he wanted.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: While I think it is clear, just to make sure, was Valen’s soul destroyed after he lost the shillelagh or was he vanquished?
PAT: Yeah. I do want to avoid the word “soul” with demons, though, because the soul/essence semantics got a bit fuzzy. The Athame destroys who you are, the core of your being. Even demons have that. And Valen’s? Destroyed.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: In the Nexus, why don’t the Charmed Ones and Coop notice the message on Prue’s tattoos? You would expect a “Why is this written on your arm, Prue?” comment from someone. Can they see the tattoos?
PAT: The tattoos come and go. That was made clear when Prue is trying to talk to her arm, asking who is trying to communicate with her through them. And they flash on and off fluidly. They’ve never appeared to any of the Charmed Ones on panel, but if they did, they’d be perfectly visible.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Prue and Coop’s hug was surprising. We have never seen them truly interact and it is nice to see they are close. Or was this just a way Prue thought to give him Benjamin’s soul?
PAT: The latter. I mean, in the time that’s passed between Season Nine and now, they’ve interacted a good amount off panel. They’re not particularly close, not closer than Prue and Henry are for example, but they’re family. The hug didn’t feel weird for me at all. Prue just lost someone close to her, and family came to comfort her. In any case, though, Prue definitely used that moment to slip him the orb, and that’s why we visually drew attention to that interaction, rather than just having it as background or focusing on something else.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: The sisters felt really uneasy while in the Nexus. Prue suspects there is something going on. Whatever it is, do the husbands and especially Coop know about it?
PAT: They know about the way the sisters feel, yeah. To an extent.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: I find this parallel between issues #4 and #5 interesting: In #4 Phoebe can’t sleep because of her conversation with Cole and now in #5 it is Coop the one that can’t sleep because of what happened with Cole. Will Cole’s death drive Coop’s story forward more than it will Phoebe’s?
PAT: It’s hard to make the distinction. Coop’s story arc is driven by Cole and Phoebe, certainly. Phoebe’s is too, though. They both have a mutual starting point and they’re going to go in very separate directions.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Prue says Cole saved her life, too. In what way is she saying this?
PAT: That’s a good question.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Why would Prue entrust Coop with Benjamin’s soul? Is Coop maybe the only person she feels she can trust at this moment? What can you tell us about their unlikely cooperation?
PAT: It’s nothing big or shocking that’s going to be explained much or delved into much. I think it’s all right there, and also in #2. There’s clearly something going on between Prue and the Charmed Ones – something big that we’ll get to. That makes their relationship strained, is one. The other? Prue herself thinks that Cole’s plan to resurrect his father is idiotic. She knows her sisters will agree. Coop, on the other hand? Coop feels indebted to Cole, and Prue knows this. Prue is left alone, so far away from anyone else, and the only person who stayed by her during all of this is dead. She is compelled to do something for him, to help him in a way even though she fundamentally disagrees with it.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Will next arc be the “Benjamin Turner” arc? Without a villain in sight, it feels like the next big plot point.
PAT: There’s so, so much happening next arc. #6 tells its own story, as does #7, but 7 also reveals a major threat that’ll be here for the rest of the season. The second arc, 8 – 12, that will certainly deal with Benjamin Turner. Most people already figured out that he’s the REDACTED part of the title for #10. But that arc introduces a new race of magical beings, reveals what Prue has become, delves into the mythology of the Demonic Wasteland, introduces a new romance, brings someone back from the dead (kind of?), and a whole lot of other stuff. It’s also the arc that begins the slow burn toward introducing the Big Bad of this season… the Biggest Bad the series has ever had.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Any teaser or hint you can give us about next issue?
PAT: There’s a flash-forward at the end, which I’ve currently been catching up to in the writing.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Also, assuming you’ve seen art from #6, can you talk to us a bit about Daniela Di Matteo’s (the new artist for #6) art and how it works with your script?
PAT: Sure. I actually see art through all stages, give notes on the pages, etc. Daniela came to me through a good friend and collaborator of mine, Tina Valentino. CBS approved her for these two issues while Elisa works on the next arc. She’s really good. Dynamic, fluid, and whimsical. She’s heavy at work on #7 now, and it’s looking great. I’ll probably post some stuff from #6 this week now that it’s going off to print.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Thank you very much, Pat!
PAT: Thank you! Let’s do it again for #6.