My project of reading 15% comics this year proceeds apace, and I have taken the opportunity to catch up on The Wicked + the Divine. One of the issues (ha ha ISSUES geddit it’s a COMICS PUN oh we have fun, my friends) with following a longterm comic is that you never feel resolved. There are always ongoing story lines, and you are waiting for years and years to see how any of the plots turn out. So I am happy to bring you, the discerning comics reader, a good jumping-off point for The Wicked + the Divine. Stand by.
The premise of The Wicked + the Divine is a little strange, so bear with me. Once every ninety years, twelve gods become manifest on earth, taking over the bodies of twelve humans. They have a variety of supernatural powers; they are loved and famous; and within two years, they all will die. Our protagonist is teenager Laura Wilson, who wants nothing more than to be around the Pantheon at any cost. Also, someone is murdering gods.
If you are interested in The Wicked + the Divine based on what I’ve just said, but nervous about the comics problem I mentioned in the first paragraph, I can wholeheartedly recommend the first four volumes of this title. The fourth volume, Rising Action, wraps up the major storylines that we’ve been following since the first issue, and then you can be on break until the next arc wraps up. (You probably won’t want to, though, because this comic is really fucking good.)
Writer Kieron Gillen and author Jamie McElvie have worked together on a number of projects before, including a run on Young Avengers, and they’re a well-oiled machine. The third volume of WicDiv has guest artists (presumably to cut McElvie a break because good God drawing a monthly comic seems like a lot of work), and they are all talented people, but there’s just a really great marriage of writing and art when these two dudes are working together. The character design is great, and each volume opens with cameo pictures of the major players (which I always appreciate because I’m a goldfish for faces) so you won’t forget who’s who.
(Has anyone here read Phonogram? Would I like it?)
If you do decide to continue past the fourth trade paperback, there’s a special issue mocked up like a magazine that is just a delight. Gillen and McElvie got a series of real journalists to conduct interviews with Gillen in character as various WicDic characters, then write up profiles with those characters. So Laurie Penny interviews Woden, Ezekiel Kweku interviews Amaterasu, and so on. One of the things I love about the comics format is that creators have room to do special issues like this where they take a break from the main story and just play around with characters or worldbuilding.
tl;dr, it’s been a minute since I checked in with The Wicked + the Divine, and I am thrilled to report that it’s still one of the weirdest, best-plotted comics out there. Much recommended.
A spoiler here follows under the cut.