Whenever we get around to the comic book awards season or around the time of various comic book conventions, you can generally expect Image to put their top titles on sale over on comiXology. And such instances have become prime opportunities to add to my collection, even just in a digital sense.
I had heard a lot of good things about The Wicked + The Divine from other geek friends but it took me a while to get around to reading the comics. Case in point, I think I had the issues that make up the first two volumes of the series way back in March but only read the comics this past weekend. Such is the way of my neverending reading queue. But I get around to them sooner or later.
And I must admit, the series was blown me away in how it approaches story and I've been more than happy to read issue after issue in quick succession. At the rate I'm going, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to burn through my limited collection of issues much sooner rather than later.
Synopsis: The Wicked + The Divine is a contemporary fantasy comic book series created by Kieron gillen with art by Jamie McKelvie. The series won Best Comic at the 2014 British Comic Awards and was also nominate for several Eisner awards in 2015 including Best New Series, Best Cover Artist, and Best Coloring.
At the center of this series are a group of deity-like figures known as the Pantheon. they start out as humans that turn out to be reincarnations of various deity personalities that are brought back into the world every 90 years. They all have different powers and abilities thanks to their reincarnated nature but then they can only live as gods for two years. And these gods don't exactly live in secret - they've actually very public in these modern times.
This first volume introduces us to Laura, who for the most part is a Pantheon fangirl. She manages to get herself invited backstage by Lucifer during an event but then witnesses the assembled Pantheon being attacked by shooters from a nearby building. Lucifer breaks convention and uses her powers to kill the shooters while members of the press are present and this leads to a speedy trial and her near immediate incarceration. And here Laura takes it upon herself to figure out why all this is happening since the rest of the Pantheon have promised not to get involved.
What I Liked: The series starts on a strong note with an interesting premise, fascinating characters and some very beautiful art. Each cover has been stunning and the sequences inside are equally brilliant. It's interesting to note that the don't seem overly creative in terms of how the panels are laid out versus some of the other comics that have come out lately, however they instead focus on each panel having maximum impact in line with the story.
The writers don't hold your hand in this story so you're thrown right into the center of the action without waiting too much effort explaining who is who or what each can do. On that note, they never clearly define everyone's power set and they leave it up to the reader to interpret what goes on in the comic and determine how that impacts everything else.
What Could Have Been Better: There's a bit of confusion to the nature of the Pantheon given how it's a mix of different religions. It's a minor point but I do honestly wonder why we have this particular mix of Japanese, Celtic, Norse and even Christian figures all gathered together this way. It sort of has that American Gods feeling but then we just don't quite have a good understanding of why these gods were the ones brought together. But hey, I'm nitpicking here.
TL;DR: The Wicked + The Divine is the perfect comic for those who love their mythology and maybe their music pop culture given the look and feel of the different characters. The comic starts with a good mystery and how we dive into things really sets you up for an interesting adventure. Thus the first volume, The Faust Act, gets a great 5 manifestations of the Pantheon's powers out of a possible 5.