Every ninety years, twelve Gods return as Young people.
They are loved.
They are hated.
In two years, they are all dead.
It’s happening now.
It’s happening again.
So, I am a huge comics fan – I have been ever since I was a child, and for years my comics appreciation revolved solely around the X-Men – finding a home in that bunch of mutant misfits was a huge part of my growing up. Back in 2011, a new writer call Kieron Gillen came aboard as the writer of the flagship X-Men book, and his writing was so, so good, that I was compelled to seek out his other work. “Phonogram” is a fantastic piece of brit-pop centric fantasy, “Young Avengers” an amazing look at growing up told through super heroics, and a run writing Loki for “Journey Into Mystery” that, with the help of a certain Mr Hiddleston, has put Loki front and centre as a compelling anti hero in the Marvel Universe. So, I was understandably hugely excited when I read that he would be teaming up with his regular collaborator Jamie McKelvie for a new book, “The Wicked + The Divine” The Social Book Co were kind enough to send me a copy to review.
Does it live up to my impossibly high expectations?
Yes. Oh yes.
“The Wicked + The Divine” is a dizzying ride of a book, but a strong cast of characters make it a compelling and fun ride for the reader, even if you’ll spend most of the time on the edge of your seat. The twists here are so big, and so surprising, that there’s a strong chance you’ll be left open mouthed whilst reading. “Fandemonium” collects issues six to eleven of the comic, as well as some bonus supplementary material, most of which is in the form of stunning artwork. This is really the second arc of the book, so by this point the reader, and the characters, are fully entrenched in the mysteries surrounding the characters. Laura is a fantastic lead, and it’s always rather nice to see a 17 year old written as, well, a 17 year old. Issue Six contains a compelling two pages that don’t just explore the character, they also hit pretty hard at what it feels like to be a teenager, in a surprisingly quiet and effective manner. Characters only briefly met before, like Inanna and Cassandra are expanded upon in these issues, and the plot ricochets along at a breakneck pace, that still somehow allows the characters time to breathe and grow.
Of course, no comic would be complete without artwork, and Jamie McKelvie is genuinely one of the best comic book artists around today, without a doubt. Every character is distinct, the fashion and design is superb, and some issues ( in this case Issue 8, when Laura discovers the true extent of Dionysus’s powers), are stunning. Like tear out the pages and stick to the wall of an art gallery stunning. There’s such life in this world that they have created, such kinetic energy, that it’s truly, truly astonishing.
Compelling, clever and current, “The Wicked + The Divine” is easily one of the best comics being published today.