‘The Wicked + the Divine’ #9: surprise guest

CoverThe Wicked + the Divine #9
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie
Colors by Matthew Wilson
Published by Image Comics

So, The Wicked + the Divine is a very strange series. It’s not one that’s  easy to review as the series often eye drops information to the reader though off hand bits of dialogue. The story so far follows a pantheon of various deities all whom reincarnate every nine decades in the form of super inspirational icons. In the 21st century, the pantheon find themselves as pop stars bearing blatant parallels to the likes of Daft Punk, Kanye West, and Prince. All of this is perceived (mostly) from the view point of Laura, a super fan whom is out to solve the framing of Lucifer for murder.

This issue takes a side tour however, as Laura barely appears and focus is shifted to Cassandra, a reporter out to prove the Pantheon as fake. What follows is an interview with Ananke, the enigmatic 13th immortal whom serves as a mother/authority/guardian figure to the rest of the Gods. The two of them hash out part of the implied back story to exactly why the Gods exist and what greater role they’re to play. It’s captivating but much of it falls on the weaker side given everyone talks vaguely and the reader isn’t given any help following. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; however it’s something that varies greatly between readers. However, this installment does feature one of the most enjoyable twists in the series yet. There was some concern due to certain plot points and some less than subtle naming of certain characters that’s been a worry and thankfully they’ve been subverted. The ending result is with Laura crying on a coach with her world shattered.

There’s little about Jaime McKelvie’s art that hasn’t been said already. He has a thick lined & glamorous style. He’s so well known for drawing his pretty young people that you’d think this world was inhabited by only people who act on the CW. His panel composition doesn’t break from what’s expected which is strange given last issue. McKelvie tends to save his big change ups for when serious high-class magic is being let loose. There’s some of that but small potatoes compared to what he’s done on both this series and his previous team up with Kieron Gillen in Young Avengers. He’s by far the best fit for this title as the Pantheon appear nothing less than superhuman. There are little changes to otherwise Earthly architecture that places magical locals in a higher realm.

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The jury’s still out on whether The Wicked + the Divine is Image’s next great masterpiece or a work of bloated pretense but it’s a fascinating ride all the same. This is by far one of the best issues to date as it flips the table on a lot of fan theories and expectations. It’s surprising and compelling and if the next issue is going to face the fallout of this one it’s definitely going to be the highlight of the week.

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