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‘The Wicked + the Divine’ #10 looks at the dark side of fandom

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The Wicked + the Divine #10
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie
Colors by Matthew Wilson
Published by Image Comics

In The Wicked + the Divine #10, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie explore the fallout of Cassandra becoming the final Pantheon member while also giving readers their first glimpse of Ragnarock, which makes Coachella look like your set at the middle school talent show. Gillen, McKelvie, and colorist Matthew Wilson lay on the tragedy while also looking into the lighter, more wondrous side of godhood. This issue is a big turning point in Laura’s personal arc as she gets to reflect and act upon the fact that she’s left out of the Pantheon, and McKelvie does little things with her facial expressions and character acting to show her feelings towards the various gods and fans. These all happen while Gillen starts to wrap up the first arc’s murder mystery, reflect on the twisted, yet beautiful nature of fandom, and continue to show Baphomet’s turn towards true evil.

After singlehandedly making an argument for being best colorist in WicDiv #8, Matthew Wilson  continues to bolster this argument with the opening page of WicDiv #10, which is Morrigan and Baphomet chatting in complete shadow with their bodies outlined to show their reactions toward each other. This contrasts with his purple, pixie dust shimmer for Inanna, who continues to be the nicest god in the Pantheon. Gillen gives him a shy personality to offset his flashy outfits and powers while deepening his friendship with Laura. Gillen also delves into Morrigan and Baphomet’s relationship, which is changing at drastically as Baphomet trades in puns and pretentious wordplay for jealousy and murderous rage because he wants to be a “real god”.

Through his art in WicDiv #10, Jamie McKelvie continues to explore the complex nature of fandom, and how it can be both personal and alienated. This can be seen in his gorgeous double page spread of Ragnarock where the fans of the Pantheon are so many little black dots compared the close, magical bond between Laura and Inanna. He also does some subtle things with panel layouts, like arranging panels in sets of three when characters are talking about Urdr, and can delineate character relationships in the space of a single reaction shot, like when Baal and Laura awkwardly lock eyes.

Even though these sequences may seem like (artfully crafted) infodumps, Kieron Gillen starts bringing together the plot threads that have been around since the beginning of “Fandemonium” and building up to a thrilling climax. And he and McKelvie start the quite impressive fireworks towards the end of WicDiv #10 teasing even darker developments in the arc’s finale.

However, Gillen and McKelvie never lose sight of the bigger themes of WicDiv and make them stronger as Baphomet’s darker side starts to manifest via a cool visual trick from McKelvie, Wilson, and letterer Clayton Cowles. In a world where creators get death threats over social media, Gillen doesn’t shy away from showing the quite literal abysmal depths of fandom while showing why readers got into comics and music in the first place. Urdr’s unique position as unbeliever turned deity adds all kinds of ambiguities to the fan/critic/creator relationship that Gillen has been exploring throughout the comic. And her design is a minimalist, yet beautiful play of white and negative space courtesy of McKelvie and Wilson.

WicDiv #10 continues to explore the nature of obsession, creation, and the mortal immortality of the Pantheon  in a glorious (Thanks to McKelvie and Wilson’s art and colors.), mythical way while building up to a deafening crescendo as Baphomet continues to quest for immortality (in a manner of speaking) through any means possible. The Wicked + the Divine #10 is another intense, intellectually engaging chapter in this pop tragedy.


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