Charmed #6 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.
Click "Read More" below to continue.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: At the beginning of the issue we find Phoebe missing her life before magic, when she was in New York. Later we follow her thoughts again and she seems to be focusing more on Cole. She even mirrors Cole’s words from #4 “I, too… wonder”. What part of her life is Phoebe really missing?
PAT SHAND: I don’t see those things as separate. There’s a lot going on in the issue, but the core of the story is the idea that Phoebe feels lost – which made the will o’ the wisp an easy pick for the metaphorical baddie.
She’s remembering (and maybe idealizing?) times in her life that, with distance from actually living them, seem easier to her. She’s come down with a bit of anywhere but here – anywhen but here? – though I do think that PJ helped ground her in the end.
The will o’ the wisp story was initially not part of Season Ten. I pitched it as a three-issue miniseries focusing on Piper and Melinda, which would take place ambiguously during Season Nine. I pitched that fall of 2011, and it ended up being the pitch that got me the job. When I learned that we weren’t doing miniseries and, instead, I’d be responsible for the entirety of Season Ten, it seemed like the story wouldn’t be right for the route I wanted to take Piper as a character, so I scrapped it. But then, when I figured out where Phoebe was going, both in her character arc and physically, it felt like the wisp was kinda calling out to her. So it fit!
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Why are the Cupids suspending Coop? Just bringing the kids there when there is danger doesn’t feel like enough of a reason.
PAT: There’s a lot more to it than that, and it’s a longterm arc so I’ll have to be a bit dodgy about what I say here. However, even what you mentioned here, what we know so far – to me, that’s not a minor offense. If Coop thought the kids were in danger, it follows logically that anyone protecting the kids would be in danger. We already saw that Valen used his stolen magic to move between planes of existence – Coop, it could be argued, and the Charmed Ones endangered Cupid’s Temple with their actions.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Kareem is introduced in the issue. What can you tell us about this new character?
PAT: That he’s super fun to write, and some of the scenes with him and Tyler in the next arc are my favorite things I’ve done with Charmed.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: The wisp reveals that the Old Ones, the root of all fear and evil, are coming. The way she connects them with those who killed Cole and those who burned her (who I assume were human) is enigmatic. What is the connection?
PAT: It’s not a very tight connection in a way that will retcon Valen’s power or the way Cole was killed. It’s more that the blackening of magic at its roots, as the Old Ones prepare to rise to power, is causing a shift in the delicate balance of good and evil. When the scales tip in the favor of evil, those who embrace the dark magic are on the “winning side,” I guess is a way to look at it.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Was the release of the wisp a new branch of Phoebe’s empathy?
PAT: Not really something new, rather than an interesting way of using what Phoebe already has. The wisp is a spirit, a broken spirit. It’s essentially a remnant of a person, energy – a feeling made sentient. Phoebe is an empath, so just her act of feeling the wisp’s loss as hard as she did allowed the wisp to dissipate, letting Phoebe shoulder its grief.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Could just be me but reading the issue I thought P.J may be an empath like her mom. Is there any truth to this? Is this something you hinted at?
PAT: No, that’s not something I was hinting at here. The kids have rawer power, and I don’t think there’s an reason to settle on what they can do yet before they really know who they are.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: In the last page we see a flash forward coming “soon”. We haven’t seen one before in the comics. What made you include it?
PAT: It felt right. We haven’t seen Prue so much, so jumping ahead to a darker time to sort of hang this question over her arc – I thought that would let us all wonder about what she’s doing, leaving us time to catch up to that moment.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: In the same page we see Prue asking a silhouette what she has become. The silhouette seems familiar. Is it The Angel of Death?
PAT: You couldn’t have thought that I’d answer this question!
CHARMED COMIC FAN: The blackening of magic sounds like a big deal to say the least! Are the Old Ones responsible for it?
PAT: Partly, yeah. A big part of this season, though, is fallout. Consequences. Reality has been altered an almost bizarre amount of times in Charmed, with not much in the way of hard consequences. I think that adds up, and it’s going to get ugly.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Talking about the Old Ones… Going back to #1 we see Gaxageal, an Old One, trying to devour the power of three in order for the Old Ones to rise. At the same time Gaxageal is around. What can you tell us about the status of the Old Ones in general? Are they hiding; are they not as powerful as they maybe were in the past; are they “asleep”?
PAT: This is basically what #7 is about. We’re going to learn things, specifically about Gaxageal and the attacks at the Manor from #1, that will shed light on the status of the Old Ones.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Going back to the rotting of magic. Is Prue directly being affected by it since she is in the Nexus of the All and its conduit? Is this the reason she gets “all sorts of creepy” as the summary of the next issue says?
PAT: I’m not going to address the “all sorts of creepy” question yet, but I think what she said at the end of #6 is already pretty creepy. She’s holding the Ancient Athame in a way, using it to threaten someone – and I definitely don’t think her sisters brought the most powerful weapon in the world to Prue if they could’ve imagined her doing that.
But Prue is being affected, sure. Just not in a way that can really be predicted before we reveal what’s really happening to her. If I answered this, it would directly spoil that big reveal, because of the nature of the question here. After #10, we’ll talk about this again, because you’ll see what I mean then.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Next issue is also a one-shot. Issue 6 is based on Phoebe. Will #7 be centered on one sister too?
PAT: I was thinking about trying to do that, to make the one-shots focused on the sisters, one for each. But then when I was trying to force #7 to be about Paige, it just wasn’t the story that it needed to be. So it’s a little bit about Paige, more about Piper, even more about Leo, and a little about Phoebe. And a lot about Knox. I’m trying to worry less about making the season equal and balanced, character-wise, and more focusing on telling the best stories and taking the core characters to places that make me feel something.
CHARMED COMIC FAN: Thank you, Pat!
PAT: Thank you!