For as long as I’ve been reading this comic, I’ve been complaining that Laura is fundamentally uninteresting. Amid meditations on art and creativity and divine battles, Laura has been there to whine about not being a god, or to act as an audience surrogate. The Wicked + The Divine has been a good book in spite of her, not because of her. But that might have changed here; Laura/Persephone might have actually taken a step toward being an interesting and compelling character in this issue, and not just because of the tragedy of her parents. It’s a grim issue, to be sure, and one that leaves its unanswered questions dangling, but neither of those are bad things. Amaterasu finds Cassandra and her Norns at the last-second and brings them to join the battle, which turns the tide in favor of Persephone’s group. Everybody together goes to confront Ananke and save Minerva, but once they have her, they have a problem: what do they do with Ananke? Laura knows what she wants to do, which makes sense, but Ananke reminds them exactly what Persephone means: “she who destroys the light.”
The ending is a deliciously ambiguous image: Persephone splattered in blood, finally free from Ananke’s threat, telling everybody else that they can do what they want. Even in defeat, Ananke was elusive about the great darkness that is coming, and mostly expresses weariness for all of the pantheons that she has endured and guided. Laura doesn’t really care about any of that, though. Ananke unraveled her life, and Laura’s finally gotten her revenge. But Laura has also gotten rid of their most important source of information about this ambiguous threat, and people drenched in gore don’t come across as saviors. Should we be worried?
Yes, but this series has never been about a neat, good vs. evil dichotomy. Baphomet and Morrigan were supposed to be the bad guys for so much of the past two arcs, but that’s been largely undermined. Ananke’s vagueness about the darkness that’s coming means that it could be a great many things, especially given that she has a vested interest in a certain kind of order and harmony in this world. “Darkness” for her might be something entirely different, and while Laura/Persephone may not be “good” in any meaningful sense, she might not also be evil.
I’m still baffled as to why Cassandra cares so much about what the police think. Yes, I suppose that the Pantheon’s involvement in a murder might look bad and interrupt their relationship with their fans, but let’s be honest, the series started with a deity being imprisoned only because they didn’t care to escape: once their mind was changed, prison became a joke. Furthermore, aren’t they gods? Are crime-scene forensics really that big of a problem for people who are quasi-omnipotent?
And now we get a little break from the series, though we have an upcoming one-shot that will focus on the Pantheon in the 1830s. (I want the 1920s Pantheon, personally, but oh well). When we return to this, we’ll finally get to see what Laura will with her divinity now that she’s on a mission of revenge. Will it just be a big party? Probably.
[su_box title="Score: 3/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
The Wicked + The Divine #22 Writer: Kieron Gillen Artist: Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital