Published on May 7th, 2015 | by Dapper Dan0
The Wicked + The Divine 10 – Comic Review
Once again, we return. With last issue’s big reveal still resonating through readers’ minds The Wicked + The Divine is accelerating toward the finale of its’ second arc, “Fandemonium”, at a rate of knots.
Poor Laura… All that time with Luci and her Faustian promise of power, the single spark to light a cigarette, and then Cassandra the non-believer turns out to be the final member of the Pantheon.
Ouch. Not her story, indeed.
I found this issue to be a little odd, in all honesty. For starters there’s an info-dump regarding the assassination attempt way back in issue 1, which feels a bit off. Big reveals where there’s not been sufficient groundwork for readers to put it together always irk me. That’s just a personal thing; I like feeling like the mysteries presented *could* be worked out by the reader. Then again, maybe this is just showing that said event in the first issue doesn’t actually matter in the grand scheme of things. Maybe like Lost’s four-toed statue, it’s just background noise.
As is normal with The Wicked + The Divine there’s a time jump between the end of last issue and the start of this one. In this case it’s about 5 weeks. I was hoping to see more introspection from Cassandra regarding her new identity, and what it means for her. For someone who may have struggled with her identity before, while transitioning and beyond, suddenly having a new identity forced upon her against her will could have opened up old wounds. Gillen is well known for his respectful writing of LGBTQ characters, and Urdr’s very first line, post-ascension, being “I’m still Cassandra” acknowledged this but I would have liked to see this explored, so hopefully we will return to it.
Instead of focusing on Cassandra’s immediate feelings, we move from Urdr’s decision to “…open everyone’s eyes. (She)’ll show them all. There are no messiahs” to the performance in Hyde Park attended by half a million fans and several other members of the Pantheon. In terms of intent, this makes sense. It’s going to be the first major public display, since ascending, from someone who’s always shown a desire to inform the masses of her views and have them validated. Again, Cassandra may have had to struggle with being accepted and listened to throughout her life. Finally having the ability to make people hear must be quite intoxicating. Now she has the power to make everyone hear what she has to say, but will they listen?
As I said last month; Baphomet has grown into one of my favourite characters in The Wicked + The Divine and I fear for his longevity as a result. Ananke’s reasons for telling Baphomet that death gods can extend their lives by killing each other didn’t just sound odd, they sounded like an outright lie. Baphomet has been one of the most open about being afraid of death, and likely the most receptive to the idea that one can steal a little more time on Earth. If you were a god and wanted to eliminate one of your fellows, knowing full well that being found out would mean your death, would you make the attempt in front of hundreds of thousands of people?
Coming back to Laura, and the reveal that she isn’t destined to be a part of the Pantheon: Hasn’t she changed since issue 1? From wanting to cosplay as Amaterasu and despairing at the feeling that she’ll never look the part, to being able to deal with her grief and support Cassandra. It’s almost as if the dynamic has shifted in their relationship and Laura is now the more mature one with a better handle on their feelings. Her relationship with Inanna currently feels like one of the purest “good” elements of the story. Inanna being very aware of boundaries and the need to ask before hugging, as he did in his first appearance in issue 6, serves as good reminder to respect people’s space.
McKelvie’s art continues to be fantastic. The two scenes in Baphomet and The Morrigan’s Underworld look great. From a book that’s so deftly used colour throughout its’ run, to have such impact with nothing but darkness and the odd flame, speaks volumes of the art team. Similarly, Urdr’s performance at Ragnarock is in stark black and white, but recalls elements of the splash pages in Dionysus’ rave. I like that there are no shades of grey, just pure black and white. Urdr representing fate, where there are no greys, only what is and what isn’t. Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson must surely be coveted by other writers across the industry. (On that note, McKelvie and Wilson are nominated for Best Cover Artist at the Eisners this year, as are Gillen & McKelvie for Best New Series and Wilson for Best Colorist)
WicDiv Notes & Theories
Twice in this issue, The Morrigan says something to Baphomet that suggests she played a part in his ascension to the Pantheon. Ananke told Cassandra last issue that it was seemingly random. Can the hosts be chosen, or not? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Ananke has manipulated one of the other characters… *cough*Baphomet*cough*
Ananke calls upon Baal and Sakhmet to serve as her enforcers again. These two were also dispatched to bring Lucifer to heel in issue 5. They seem the most physically aggressive of the Pantheon so far. I mean, can you imagine Amaterasu being sent in their place?
Baphomet’s inner monologue manifests as a devil on his shoulder. Notice how it is always on his left, the traditional spot for a shoulder devil. I wonder if there’s an angelic equivalent?
Only a god can kill a god UNLESS the attempt is made during a performance (as per Ananke’s conversation with Baphomet in issue9). Go back to issue 1, the only bullet that goes near a god actually bends around Amaterasu.
And finally… Issue 11’s cover is intended as the final head-shot cover design that the series has used since issue 1. The image appears to be a headless person, gender uncertain, only the bloodied stump of their neck visible. I find it unlikely that Gillen & McKelvie would show such a cover if there really was going to be a major death. That’s a bit of a spoiler in and of itself, so I’m tempted to think that all of our main cast survive through to the third arc of The Wicked + the Divine.