After the detonation of FANDEMONIUM the gods-as-pop-stars of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE try living in the long dark shadow.
Team WicDiv are joined by a stellar cast of guest artists to put the spotlight on each of the gods. The multiple Eisner Award nominated series continues in the only way it knows how: darker, weirder, faster. Don’t worry. It’s going to be okay.
Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #12-17.
Genre/Medium: Fantasy/Graphic Novel
Published: February 9 2016 by Image Comics
Acquired: ARC via Netgalley
I recently devoured volumes 1 & 2, so I jumped at the opportunity to read volume 3. Gritty mortality is juxtaposed with the sublime of music and dark divinity in these comics. It’s an enthralling and occasionally, disturbing combination. The cliffhangers are brutal. I try not to get too attached to characters any more.
The art style of the previous volumes is beloved by the readership. I became aware of my own attachment to the stylistic form when the change came. The different art styles is intentionally jarring, but I thought some of the guest art styles expressed a unique part of each god’s life. (Though I still welcome the return of Mckelvie’s art.)
In issue 13 of this volume, Tara (the largely absent god) does appear. Tara yearns to connect with her audience through the music she made before she was turned into a goddess. However, her audience prefers her divinity infused connections over her original music.
This issue delves into Tara’s experience as being seen and treated as an object, both before and after her transformation into a god. In a way, Tara’s arc runs parallel to contemporary experiences of fame and consumption. I like how this series both subtly and directly mirrors contemporary concerns, as well as builds its own kind of dark fantasy world.
Later in this volume, there’s a striking dialogue between Amaterasu and Cassandra on cultural appropriation and knowledge, which has been touched upon before in the series. I liked that the conversation went into what it’s like to not grow up with firsthand knowledge of your parent’s culture for Cassandra (see Third Culture Kids). Though I am still ambivalent about Amaterasu’s stance on her connection to Japanese culture.
I liked that we got to see more of The Morrigan and after reading her back story, I want her to leave Baphomet in the dust. We also learn more about Baal, Woden and Sakhmet in this volume. The cliffhanger of the previous volume is still hanging, as this volume moved from the present to flashbacks of both the current cast and departed characters, and back again. Someone needs to witness what Ananke is doing and live to tell the tale.
*I enjoyed the inclusion of the story-boarding and art-making process at the end. I like reading creator commentary.