Published on July 1st, 2015 | by Dapper Dan0
The Wicked + The Divine 12 – Review
Blimey. That was a hell of a finale to the second arc of The Wicked + The Divine, wasn’t it? I don’t think anyone saw that coming.
Holding true to the idiom “Kill your darlings” Team WicDiv really blew their readers away with issue 11, so where do they go from here? The answer is the third arc of Eisner-nominated The Wicked + The Divine: Commercial Suicide. Nothing like a bit of confidence, is there, chaps?
This is the first issue to feature someone other than Jamie McKelvie on lead art duties. Don’t worry WicDiv fans, Jamie is still doing a one page epilogue per issue, and will be back. He’s currently working on his other book with Kieron Gillen: Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl and while he’s doing so, each issue of this arc will feature a different artist. This issue sees Kate Brown take the reins, having previously worked with Team WicDiv back when they were making Young Avengers at Marvel. Her art shows some manga influences, but retains the same focus on expressive faces that have been a hallmark of McKelvie’s work to date. Brown also colours her own work and her style is markedly different to Matt Wilson’s. It feels a lot more pastel in tone than Wilsons’ starker, bold colours, but suits her work well.
Never trust an ancient being with the power to create gods! The cover shows the new design layout for the book, a body shot starting at the lower half of the face down to upper thigh, and this issue’s is Inanna. Obviously he’s dead, but his presence, or lack thereof, is keenly felt. Baal finally drops the forced machismo for long enough to bare his soul, then harnesses his grief into fuelling his rage. We’ve slowly had the realities of Baal and Inanna’s relationship exposed, and this issue makes it abundantly clear to those who hadn’t already worked it out. As some surmised last month, it seems the method of Ananke’s murder of Laura was deliberately done to implicate Baphomet.
What came as a bit of a surprise was the return of Cassandra’s former assistant Beth, who is still trying to work the journalism angle on the Pantheon, with little success. Personifying the worst elements of tabloid journalism, Beth exploits Baal’s grief in an effort to get an exclusive. It’s reprehensible behaviour, and removes any sympathy one may have had for Beth missing out on godhood. I suppose with Laura’s absence, there needs to be a human touchstone for the reader to see interacting with the gods, to some extent, but Beth is as disagreeable and unlikable as Cassandra was on her first appearances. I hope she develops into her own character soon, rather than a Cassandra impersonator.
With emotions running high, it’s possibly not a surprise that we get arguably the most physical confrontation in The Wicked + The Divine since Luci faced off against Baal and Sakhmet back in the first arc. Kate Brown produces a wonderful double page spread of Baal and The Morrigan going at it, while Beth’s assistant films the carnage. Choosing to place the camera lens at the centre of the spread lends a voyeuristic feel to the scene, leaving the reader feeling slightly grubby, as if they shouldn’t have seen this. Additionally, the panel borders form Inanna’s star icon, with the lens at the centre, reminding you once more that Inanna’s death is at the root of this. He really was the one member of the Pantheon who was Good, with a capital G.
Having avoided the danger of a sophomore slump with the difficult second album, The Wicked + The Divine have started the collaborations album with great aplomb. If the rest of this arc’s guest artists maintain this level, The Wicked + The Divine‘s art chores are in safe hands while McKelvie finishes Phonogram