This is going to be an interesting one for us. It’s not usually a book we’d do for a group review and so that’s why it was picked. As usual, each of the reviewers will give their score for the issue and then their short review on what they thought of issue as well, but first here’s what the book is about from Image: Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critically thermonuclear floor-fillers Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to start a new ongoing superhero fantasy with a beautiful oversized issue. Welcome to THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, where gods are the ultimate pop stars. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.
Going into this I had no idea what to expect and I was pretty taken aback by what I read. If you've ever read The Witching by Jonathan Vankin and Leigh Gallagher, The Wicked + The Divine has the same kind of feel; like this creepy supernatural " you shouldn't be messin’ with that shit but you know someone's getting high on that dark magic," vibe.
I actually enjoy the more demonic or rogue characters in comics, if portrayed right; they seem to have more layers to their personalities than their demure self-righteous counterparts. I think that's what I'm digging about this comic and I hope to come across more characters like that as the series goes on.
Honestly, I'm too sure where this series is headed but for a first issue I think it was spot on. Oh and can we just talk about the illustrations and coloring, it's bright and so visually stimulating. Yeah, I think you all should definitely give this one a read.
The Wicked + The Divine is pretty much exactly what I would expect from the creators of Phonogram ten years down the road. Which is to say, it’s a little bit of genius wrapped up phenomenal art. W+D is equal parts Phonogram’s fascination with art and what it means to society and Young Avengers’ ballsy swagger. To steal some parlance Gillen McKelvie might appreciate, it’s a chopped and screwed version of both of those titles.
The fact that it took McKelvie and Matt Wilson so long to hook up is a travesty. Each page of this book is a visual delight. McKelvie’s line work is constantly on point and Wilson is also consistently there, putting him over the top. The book is worth the buy for that alone.
I’m not the hugest Gillen fan. I think he’s a great storyteller; he just comes at them from angles that don’t make sense to me on the first read through. I see what he’s getting at here, but he spends too long on certain scenes (the World’s Most Irate Interviewer) and too little on others (the introduction to the new girl, for example), but I’m definitely intrigued. I’ll be picking up the second issue once it hits the shelves.
If you’ve ever read anything by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, then The Wicked + The Divine is exactly what you’re expecting. Pop androgyny, emo pretension, urban divinity: it’s all there in this story about resurrecting “gods”-cum-pop stars. If that sounds anything like Phonogram, well, you’re not wrong, despite Gillen’s desperate, almost defensive afterword plea to the contrary. It will undoubtedly benefit from the same following this team has always enjoyed, with accolades coming from the self-righteous at a steady clip and almost surely becoming an indy darling. But you know what? It’s actually not that bad.
As ever, Gillen’s wit and McKelvie’s statuesque art continue to be a perfect match, but anything by them - including this - feels like that music snob friend everyone has. He or she means well - they really do - but they also always end up sounding like an ass-hat at parties. This is not as preachy or self-reverential as Phonogram, but it skirts that thin line precariously. Still, despite my misgivings, I’m on-board for another issue or two - much longer than I made it through that saccharine, Bieber-hair-filled purpose machine that was the Young Avengers - especially after the cliffhanger Gillen was so proud to include at the end teased me so nicely. So yeah, I’m in, but the minute this starts to feel like it’s fishing too hard for a GLAAD award, I’m gone.
I almost scored this higher because of the art. Damn that art is gorgeous, but it just wasn’t enough. The story had me interested for the most part all the way until the ending. The opening was good and even after the book went into super chatty mode I began to wonder about it, but again that art saved it so much. Luci’s look, personality and flair won me over big time.
The problem with the story is that I’m not sure who the Wicked are and who the Divine are. The girl we meet obviously has more than meets the eye, but the strange thing is after the big event of the book she’s still hanging around… what? I supposed she’s a material witness, but then wouldn’t everyone else from the room be there? The entire ending bothered me especially the cliffhanger. It took what could have been a unique story and made it come across like a shade of Rising Stars. We’ll see though, it bought enough credit to check out the second issue.
Writer: Kieron Gillen Artist: Jamie McKelvie Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 6/18/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital