The Wicked + The Divine is a mirror image of its namesake. Descriptively, it can be called both wicked, and divine with a hard emphasis on the latter.
As we have come to know now, I am still quite green to the world of comics. So green in fact, that I can count on one hand just how many titles I have read. But my plan is to change that! I want to be able to use two hands! Diving into this massive realm of books has been exciting and intense for me. There is research involved and recommendations to consider, but I knew immediately upon seeing the cover of The Wicked + The Divine Vol 1, that I would be reading this entire series all the way through. And thus far I have kept my word and for good reason, it’s pretty great. From the stunning visuals that flow seamlessly with the writing, to the downright crush-worthy characters; This comic is enthralling, even if the storyline and some of the characters are a bit askew.
What’s This All About?
Every ninety years, twelve gods re-incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. This is how we are introduced to the Pantheon; a group of youngish kids that become vessels for these deities, which somehow miraculously makes them more famous than even Beyonce. Each member has their own individual act. Some like Amaterasu sell-out world tours, while others, like the Morrigan, prefer an underground crowd. These Pantheon artists have found a way to cast their spells on the British youth with their rare performances, regardless of the genre.
Just as the Pantheon spellbinds, it seems the same could be said for creators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. Previously known for their teamwork on YOUNG AVENGERS and PHONOGRAM (both of which are on my list, scouts honor), this duo took their concepts of fandom and stardom to a new level with The Wicked + The Divine series. With strong writing and mature concepts, it seems they’ve created something that can withstand the long haul of comic volumes without losing readership due to too much ambiguity.
At first sight, Volume 1 of The Wicked + The Divine begins with a bang as one member of the Pantheon is vividly illustrated performing on stage to seemingly millions of fans. One of which is named Laura, a semi mundane girl who attempts to carry you through the story. We will discuss my issues with her shortly, for now, let’s focus on the flow of this book. The feeling, the reader’s saturation begins almost immediately upon tearing through the first few words.
This comic’s aesthetic is prevalent and static without being starchy. It’s bright and fluid and complete from one page to the next. Gillen and McKelvie how found a unique way to create reader favoritism, even idolization within their Pantheon characters. Even I found myself having a favorite. (Her name is Luci, and she is beautiful bad ass butch perfection.) I do wish we had seen more of the Gods in the beginning though if only to truly understand Laura’s fascination with these creatures and what they are like when they’re not dealing with the main plotline of the story.
I found myself flying through pages, the words and visuals matching up so well that I never had to force read, or jerkily move from panel to panel. Instead, the characters, move about and tell stories with their emotions and actions, allowing for the writing to be more flamboyant and not so on the nose. It makes for great world building within just a couple of pages.
And then there was Laura.
I do have one bone to pick. When first introduced to Laura, our main character, she instantly took a backseat to everyone else. Which may have been intended, but I felt no drive to follow her at first, except to find out more about Luci. There was no reader, character connection. No common ground until she begins to develop and morph as the storyline marches on. Her world seems muddy in comparison to the secondary characters, but that does even itself out with the dialogue and as the books progress.
She’s a Beaut.
There are truly no words for how expressive and visually stunning this series is. From one astonishing page to the next, it is apparent that McKelvie took careful pride in what he was creating. He creates characters that are not only realistic but extremely responsive to the actions within the books. It is by far, the most beautiful comic I’ve picked up to date.
The Wicked + The Divine is a treasure. A plotline laced with Gods who have a 2-year expiration makes for a fantastic platform. The storytelling is fluid and interesting, but the most influential part of this comic is the astounding artwork. It is the reason I’ll be picking up every volume until the end.
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