Published on December 18th, 2014 | by Dapper Dan0
The Wicked + The Divine 6 – Review
And we’re back! The Wicked + The Divine returns after a skip-month to allow some breathing space, and the release of the first trade paperback.
We’re down one god, and up to our eyeballs in a conspiracy and we finally get to meet Inanna. Oft-mentioned but not seen to date, Inanna might well fill the void, of fan-favourite charismatic character, left by Luci’s spectacular explosive decapitation.
After last issue’s frenetic and heartbreaking crescendo, issue 6 of The Wicked + The Divine is a slower, calmer issue. That’s not to say it’s dull, far from it, but overall this is breathing room. Laura, like us, is still processing Luci’s death. Just as she needs time to come to terms with what she’s seen, so do we need a change of pace to fully realise that this book takes no prisoners. There will be blood, as it were.
In case you weren’t aware; every member of the Pantheon is visually and stylistically based on a melange of popstars. As Luci channelled Bowie, and Baal Kanye, so Inanna bears a striking resemblance to Prince. His outfits owe a little to Marvels’s Mojoverse characters, Longshot & Shatterstar. Ostentatious and incapable of blending in, Inanna is gloriously over the top. And that’s the problem. I fear Kieron Gillen has rewired my brain to be suspicious of the nicer characters in his work. I’m now so used to the double-cross that as soon as Inanna turns up, befriending Laura and saying that he believes her, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Damn you, Gillen, you’ve destroyed my faith in humanity!
Inanna’s been mentioned previously in the book, as one of the Pantheon who wanted to help Luci. Here we find out why he believed Luci’s innocence when the rest of the gods were willing to leave her to rot in prison. Interestingly, it’s by asking a question that no-one else had, up to this point. When you read it, you’ll probably agree it’s been a glaring omission on the part of the cast to date. It speaks to the skill that Gillen and McKelvie have employed, that I’d actually failed to ask this question myself. I was so wrapped up in Laura’s story that I failed to look at the bigger picture.
I suspect many of those reading The Wicked + The Divine have read Gillen & McKelvie’s Young Avengers series from Marvel. In that run there was a spectacular double-page spread where McKelvie drew every step of Noh-Varr’s assault on a disco. It was stunning and one of the big highlights of the run. Here, we get a page dedicated to Laura’s room, the items within and her commentary below. It’s not as flashy or as showy as Noh-Varr’s disco inferno, but it’s another example of Mckelvie showing why he’s so highly regarded. I’m loathe to show a full page, but I’ll break with tradition here and do it:
Every month I say this, but every month Matthew Wilson ups his (already considerable) game. This guy is a hero of hues, a titan of tints, a paladin of pigments. Inanna appears while it’s raining, so of course it’s purple rain. What else could it be? Admittedly, they did everything apart from having him roll up on a motorcycle to complete the Prince comparison. Look at that cover; the light over his shoulder, the star-field effect, it looks PERFECT.
This second arc carries the title of “Fandemonium” and will feature a convention dedicated to the Pantheon, called Ragnarock. We already knew that the general public were aware of the Pantheon’s regular incarnations every 90 years, but to see that there’s an actual con built around it? That’s a pretty big, not to mention cool, reveal. This year’s Ragnarock is scheduled to take place later in the arc, and Laura will go from fan, to panelist. This will be an interesting journey for her, and us. As a fan who’s managed to (somehow) morph into a panelist at times, I’m particularly invested in this phase of Laura’s journey.
Kieron Gillen continues to give Laura a convincing voice. Still struggling with the move from adolescence into adulthood, Laura wants to talk to her mother, explaining everything, but can’t manage more than a sullen “Uh-huh”. I’m starting to think there might be a teenage girl inside a Kieron Gillen suit, sat at a keyboard in South London.
As a moment’s pause after Luci’s death, as the opening moments of a new storyarc, as another issue in what’s sure to be on many Year End lists, The Wicked + The Divine continues to impress. If you’ve not been reading it, grab the first collected edition now and then this issue.
The Wicked + The Divine 6, by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie is published monthly by Image Comics. Issue 6 gets 4 & 1/2 “Symbols formerly known as” out of 5
One final note; did any of you hear “I would Die 4 U” in their head as Inanna spoke to Laura? Just me?