The first issue of The Wicked + The Divine definitely hooked me, and in perhaps classic Gillen McKelvie fashion, a huge reason why was the art. The story is a cool concept, but Gillen’s pacing has always thrown me off. Luckily, this second issue has me fully hooked into the story; Gillen has provided me enough info to be mightily intrigued, but not enough that I can get ahead of him, which is exactly where you want to be as a reader. The issue begins with Laura hunting for clues from the last thing she heard Lucifer say before Luci got tossed in the clink at the end of the last issue. Gillen McKelvie use this sequence to include their now-trademarked jabs at technology and how married we are to it. It’s not Young Avengers-level, but it’s definitely the mark of an auteur team. Luci tells Laura about a god that they don’t talk about, which is a contradiction I’m willing to overlook, and there’s an excellent depiction of The Fall. Luci sends Laura out to find several of the other gods to free her and find out who’s out to kill the gods.
This series is intriguing to me not as much for the plotline, which I’m honestly still a little unclear on (although, I’m pretty sure it’s Laura’s quest to become a god; more on that theory as the issues come out), but more for the depictions of the gods in this world. From the previews for this comic, I thought that the reincarnated gods just appeared in the world, apropos of nothing. From this issue, we finally start to get the backstory of how the gods became The Gods, and it turns out it’s from a terrifying old lady.
McKelvie’s artwork continues to kill it in this issue, but honestly, if I go an issue of this series without calling out Matthew Wilson’s colors, I will be remiss and derelict in my duties as a reviewer. Those two are an old-school dream team, the likes of which you just don’t see that often anymore. They make every page gorgeous, even if it’s just a page cutting between a girl’s face and her cracked cell phone screen.
One other thing that I like about this comic is the logo; I don’t mean the distinctive typesetting of the title on the cover, but rather the circle of gods that appears sporadically throughout the book. It strikes me as very Hickman-esque, but on the opposite end of the spectrum. Where Hickman uses designs like that to represent the “Avengers machine” in Avengers or to add to the scientific design of the book in Manhattan Projects, the circle in The Wicked + The Divine feels more like a circle to cast spells, or a ward to protect the reader. It’s a stylistic device and it works really well here.
This book is a whole lot of fun. We’re still in the first act, in the baby steps beginning, so things are going slow, but they’re building nicely. Make sure you check it out.
Writer: Kieron Gillen Artist: Jamie McKelvie Colorist: Matthew Wilson Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 7/16/14 Format: Print/Digital