The Wicked + The Divine has been out for quite a while (and by that I mean since 2014). There’s already four trade volumes, so this review is belated.
A dark fantasy comic, The Wicked + The Divine follows a teenager named Laura who interacts with 12 deities who are reincarnated on Earth.
This reincarnation of the deities, called the Recurrence, happens every 90 years. Those that are reincarnated get superpowers and fame. Some are loved, some are hated. They will all die within two years. These 12 are known as “The Pantheon.” All of the Gods continue on as if time hasn’t passed since the last time they were reincarnated.
So what does this mean for the comic?
Well, there’s a lot going on. Laura is immediately thrown into the politics of The Pantheon, and she’s scrambling around with a journalist, Cassandra, to figure it all out.
Writer, Kieron Gillen, was inspired when his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The themes of life and death are evident in the first volume. Its easy to feel the beat of life when Laura is at an Amaterasu (one of the deities) concert. And within the first volume, to feel that rhythm be snuffed out in death.
The comic is beautifully drawn by Jamie McKelvie. All of the contrasting colors help with the themes and create an atmosphere that is easy to get lost in.
Gillen continues to toy with one main point: immortality doesn’t mean you’ll live forever.
Its poignant and sometimes forgotten when a story deals with a God or Gods. Immortality can mean living forever in terms of actually existing. However, it can also mean the fame, and notoriety will be around forever.
Lucifer (prefers Luci) is a character to easily cling to. She’s a spitfire (almost literally) that is a big fan of being rebellious, and attention. In her private moments with Laura, you can tell that in Luci knowing she’s on some path toward death is both exciting and sad.
The Pantheon are on a much shorter path than the average person. They are existing just to die in a much shorter span than many of us expect for our lives. Then again, we’re all existing just to die eventually.
If you haven’t picked up The Wicked + The Divine vol. 1, you definitely should. Its worth the read for the Big Questions it poses that can spark conversation and thought for more than just philosophers or sleepless college students in the waning hours of the morning.