Even though this issue contains at least one major character death, it undoubtedly reads like the proper birth of the series. As fun as it’s been to see Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKlevie introduce each member of the 21st century pantheon, the series definitely seemed to lag at times as a result of mostly coming off as act one of a much more riveting epic. And while McKlevie does illustrate each character’s transformation into gods in a really gorgeous manner, it retreaded a lot of the ground we have seen repeatedly with the only distinction being the cocoon that warps each human as they transition, and the great costume and hair each end up with that somehow corresponds to the deity they become. I had a lot of trouble caring much about Baphomet’s angsty quest to extend his life up until this issue. Thankfully, like he has in past instances with other characters’ motives, Inanna was able to articulate just why Baphomet’s fear of death is so interesting— he recognizes that Baphomet’s fear of death has prevented him from using his godly gifts to find any pleasure for himself or others in the period of time he has left (but maybe that’s a bit tougher when you’re a god of death). Their fight and talk was easily the highlight of this issue for me, and I loved how casually Inanna treated the entire situation, remaining cool even when Baphomet comes at him with a flaming sword during his set at a Pandemonium after party. While we don’t get to see how the fight turns out, there’s definitely enough explosions, crucifixes, somersaults, abs, and orgy imagery to sate anyone who thinks the series has been lacking in action.
Near Laura’s home, we also get to see her as she tries to come to terms that she was not twelfth and final god of the Pantheon. Deciding that she can instead aid the gods in fulfilling their own destinies, she arrives at home to find an unexpected visitor who makes her an offer she totally doesn’t refuse. While it takes a surprising turn, for the most part I was much less interested in Laura’s story than Baphomet and Inanna’s brawl. I feel that it’s because although I like Laura, she doesn’t have much to her personality other than an obsession with the gods and the fact that she’s extended compassion to the gods even in cases where most would call her behavior naïve and/or dumb. I also have trouble with wanting Laura to get what she wants—becoming a god. My impression for the most part is that she’s desirous of the ability it would imbue her with, and her ability to impact others on a large scale. However, the comic has yet to provide any clear sense about what Laura would do with such power if she had it. It’s something I hope the series works on in the future if Laura continues to be a central character.
Second to issue eight that spotlighted Dionysus, this is my favorite issue art-wise. McKlevie really manages one of the most tantalizing full-page spreads herein when we arrive at Inanna’s performance, a performance to which the crowd responds to by engaging in really well drawn sex. Colorist Matthew Wilson plays a big role in making this page work, his use of purples and pinks lending the event a sensual and supernatural glow. When Baphomet and Inanna actually start fighting, the team of Gillen, McKlevie and Wilson really deliver their all in making the fight a crowd-pleaser with both characters’ drastically different fighting styles accented by contrasting colors. Baphomet’s red and yellow brute force and Inanna’s purple and pink acrobatic Spider-man like movements keep it fun as does Gillen’s ability to maintain both character’s distinct voices. I’m hoping, despite evidence to the contrary, that both make it out alive, and we’re treated to more of the two in the future.
All that said, there’s some things about WicDiv that bug me more generally like the snap gesture all the gods do when performing any small miracle. It’s a visual that happens repeatedly throughout this issue, and it’s finally lost any cool it had accrued under Luci’s tenure early on. I’m hoping at some point they explain why all the gods seem to do this since I figure they could probably do some other gesture if they fancied it. I’m also bugged by the use of black panels in the issue’s start to contain Laura’s interior monologue since it ends up coming off as lazy rather than necessary even though the issue’s end seems to provide some reason for the black panels.
I’m glad that even though this arc has come to a close that the next issue is just a month away. Now that all the pieces are in place, and a few of our main characters have blood on their hands and faces, I think Gillen, McKlevie and company are really gonna start having fun with it. Oh boy.