What I thought of the Wicked and the Divine #25

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2017 sees The Wicked and the Divine carry on its exploration of the post-Annake world and the place of the pantheon in it as Woden desperately tries to save his live against an angry Laura in full Destroyer mode.

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Laura backs off from murdering Woden, but instead drags him into the Underworld to question him as she thinks he’s bluffing.

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There’s clearly a darkening in Laura’s actions and attitudes (having your family murdered in front of you would do that) but she’s increasingly an unknowable risk to even people she considers friends.

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Thanks to Woden’s now reformed character they focus on the ‘Great Darkness’ prophesied by Annake, what it is and why Baal especially takes it so seriously. Baal however is making use of his great powers.

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We also get a glimpse of why Baal takes The Great Darkness seriously and just what the Pantheon have to face up to in future issues as Gillen and McKelvie step up another gear with this huge threat that’s been in the background all the time. Each issue in this arc is ramping things up slowly to, I assume, something huge and indeed, dark…

What I thought of the Wicked and the Divine #24

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After last issues unconventional structure, Gillen and McKelvie go back to a more traditional comic strip format as we finally hit New Year’s Eve in 2014 in the continuity of the comic.

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The situation is effectively summed up in one panel as to where the Pantheon now stand among humanity.

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And there ends 2014, and the series moves onto 2015 on what is a optimistic note, but we the readers should know by know things are going to fuck up, and probably on a massive scale. Persephone’s hubris starts to be called into account, especially in the way she’s been treating Baal.

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Persephone gets a much needed kick up the arse from Minerva, she makes it clear she’s out to bring Woden in to face justice, but he saves her the time and effort.

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However, Woden being Woden, he has a plan to save his own arse.

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That plan and Persephone’s reaction to that plan is by the looks of it what’s going to shape the direction of the series in the future, and as you’d expect, things are probably going to go very, very, very badly. Gillen and McKelvie are very much back on form with this issue after a bit of lull last issue, and I await the shit hitting the fan.

What I thought of the Wicked and the Divine #23

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After the 1831 special, the series picks up after the shocking, bloody events of #22. Annake is dead, the old order is gone and now we’re to see what the Pantheon do now they don’t have Annake manipulating them.

Gillen chooses to do this not in conventional comic format, but as a fashion magazine, so what we have is essentially a pin-up issue with lots of text that explains how the world know that Annake was a manipulative murderer and that the remaining gods are now free to do their own individual plans.

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We find out for example that Baal met with the UK government to give reassurances in order to help calm things down, and that we also find out Baal was the first to become a god which means out of the remaining gods he’ll be the first to die when his time is up.

There’s some good stuff in this issue. I especially licked Gillen’s tribute/satire of Laurie Penny’s writing style as well as the way important snippets of information sneak into the pages, but this is a quiet issue dealing with characters and how they’ve subtly changed in the time since we last saw them.

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Overall this is a nice issue which sets up roughly what the new order is.

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Yet for all its originality it’s a bit empty, like the gods themselves. Also by concentrating on a Guardian style of writing we only get the liberal to liberal-leftish reaction to the events, and it’d be nice to see how say, a right wing tabloid, or the left, deal with the pantheon as well as a metropolitan set of establishment voices that Gillen includes. That said, this is ultimately a linking and establishing issue; a sort of palate cleanser I imagine for what’s coming next.

What I thought of the Wicked and the Divine: 1831

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After last issues Big Events, this is a palate cleanser or an annual to let the reader regain their breath before diving back into the main storyline which has taken a very interesting turn. 1831 is as you may expect, set in the year 1831 during a previous time when the pantheon walked the Earth. Rather than regular artist Jamie McKelvie, this issue is ably drawn by Stephanie Hans set by the shores of Lake Geneva which should perk up any fans of the book Frankenstein.

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Here Annake is still scheming, still plotting while the individual Gods seem as vain and self-obsessed as the ones in the ongoing title, but it’s fun to see these 19th century versions of characters we’ve gotten to know over the last few years.

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Here the Gods meet, drink, eat and tell each other tales to try to make each other’s blood turn cold.

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What we find out is these are the last days of this particular Pantheon, and these are the last four gods remaining alive, yet this time’s Lucifer has a very familiar looking idea in the hope of returning their fallen comrades back to life in a magical way.

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1831 is more than just a nice wee look into the past mythology of the Wicked and the Divine, it’s a crucial part of the plot that reveals background which is clearly going to be relevant in the future. I’d not pick this up if you’re thinking of diving into the story; this is for regular readers only and they definitely need to get this as it won’t be reprinted in any collected trade edition.

What I thought of The Wicked and the Divine #22

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The huge fight that kicked off last issue escalates as more of the Panethon realise just how much of a baddy Annake actually is.

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Which leads into the battle getting bigger, and indeed, allows Gillen and McKelvie the chance to rip the piss out of supervillian dialogue.

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The last couple of issues has allowed the creative team to play with the superhero fight, which gives McKelvie the chance to draw these characters in superheroic poses ready for battle.

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Eventually we get the Pantheon versus Annake fight that’s been getting teased for nearly a year now.

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I was considering that after this there’d not be much left to do with this comic as after all, the pantheon would likely defeat Annake, save the day and we’d have an ending yet that sort of happens although there’s much, much more to come as the ending here leaves Gillen and McKelvie with much left to tell.

But we’ll have to wait a few months. Next month is a one-shot set in 1931 and the series itself returns in November, then we’ll see how our cast cope with their actions in this issue.

What I thought of The Wicked and the Divine #21

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Last issue’s filling in of the narrative gaps left things set up for a huge fight, but this is The Wicked and the Divine, it doesn’t do huge superhero style fight scenes, or at least, it only does a few panels and this issue starts establishing a few things like the return of Minerva to Valhalla and Annake before Laura and her group turn up.

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For 20 issues this comic has been something different. It’s held back doing the obvious where lesser creators would have pandered, so we’re due a Big Fight Issue and we’ve got it.

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And this is a REALLY BIG FIGHT ISSUE.

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In amongst the hitting, punching and brutal action there’s also lots of plot. Annake also reveals herself to be a total and complete villain who needs to be stopped but there’s a glorious cliffhanger as we’re left wondering how do our heroes get out of this one?

This is fantastic stuff. Sure all the previous issues have been marvellous and fight scenes do get boring but this isn’t anything like that. As said, we’ve worked to get to this point and next issue is the end of this arc so it has much to live up to after this extraordinary great issue.

What I thought of The Wicked and the Divine #20

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With the head of steam well and truly built up after the last issue Gillen and McKelvie get down to explaining exactly how Laura survived her murder by Annake even though it looked pretty conclusive that she was dead. This means filling in the gaps from previous issues.

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And looking back we see characters realise that Annake is setting them up and unusual alliances are made..

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It’s here we get the flashback that tells us how Laura survived, and also, just how much of an enormously evil old bastard Annake is.

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After the flashbacks it’s revealed Laura has a very simple and possibly effective plan..

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There’s a real sense the creative team are tying up lose ends for the Big Fight which will probably end this splendid series. Me, I reckon the Pantheon don’t have a limited lifespan at all, but in fact Annake kills them to prolong her life and she’ll be found out leaving our cast (or whoever ends up surviving the next few issues) to pick up the pieces and carry on.

We’ll see soon enough….

What I thought of The Wicked and the Divine #19

wickedandivine-19Last issue, things were starting to kick off as Gillen and McKelvie moved into the final phase of this splendid comic. In the previous issue Laura has returned from the dead with some unexpected companions, while Annake is using what’s left of the Pantheon to try to stop her being exposed as the person that’s been killing gods.

This issue starts with Dionysus being taken to the Underworld to meet with Laura, or the god Persephone as she’s now calling herself.

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As for Annake she’s ready to go to war with Persephone/Laura, and she also drops a hint that Laura’s return isn’t all it seems.

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This leads to one half of the surviving Panethon fighting the other half in the Underworld..

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There’s a large battle, and Minerva is taken by Annake’s side of the Pantheon, but they’ve not got a clue what she’s got in store for Minerva when she gets her back.

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There’s a real sense of this comic rocketing towards a climax, and now with the introduction of the threat of Minerva’s death at the hands of Annake, there’s a countdown Laura’s group are working to in order to save her and stop whatever it is Annake is planning to do.

All the slow build up and characterisation is over now. The Wicked and the Divine has turned into a fast paced action filled comic while still retaining the feel of everything that’s come before it. This really is fantastic stuff.

What I thought of The Wicked and the Divine #18

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It’s been four long months since the last issue of The Wicked and the Divine and it feels like years thanks to the paucity of good comics recently so it’s good to see it back. This issue starts with a gig being booked in London with a Persephone being booked to play, but Persephone was Laura and she was murdered by Ananke.

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It certainly seems like Laura. She’s got the same memories and not just that. She’s got the memories of Ananke murdering her parents as she plays her gig to a small, but highly appreciate audience.wickedandivine2

In the meantime there’s a series of shocking reveals, Ananke realises what Laura is and goes on the warpath, which suddenly leads into The Wicked and the Divine turning somewhat briefly into a superhero comic, with superhero poses and everything!

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After all this time away, and the previous half dozen or so issues being relatively quiet character pieces, this issue is a massive burst of energy as Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie come back on top form. This is an immense issue that kicks the series back to life, and it’s a superb mix of action and plot that sets up what is the final stretch to the series ending.

This isn’t an issue if you’re looking to dip in and see what the fuss is about. You really need to go back and give this a go from the start as you’ll be lost otherwise, but trust me, it’s worth it.

What I thought of The Wicked and the Divine #17

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6#7 ,#8#9#10#11#12#13#14#15 and #16.

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The final issue of this arc featuring guest artists focusing on one member of the Pantheon is upon us and this issue deals with Sakhmet, a character that’s not been too prominent so far in this splendid series. Though like a cat, her main abilities seem to be sleeping and fucking.

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Sakhmet is a pretty, vain, arrogant girl suffering from punishing self-confidence so again, very much like a cat. She’s also able to land like a cat in her travels across London…

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So far so fine. It’s another nice character piece of one of the Pantheon, and like many of the others it’s another spoilt brat. Then Gillen turns everything on it’s head as he reveals the true nature of Sakhmet and it’s pretty shocking as she’s not just a spoilt brat, but a real monster.

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And the issue ends on a cliffhanger before the letter page announces there’s no more Wicked and the Divine til the spring, not to mention that this was the last character driven issue. Upon it’s return things ramp up a notch which I can’t wait for for as good as these issues have been it’s felt to me like a holding pattern in terms of plot.

So it’s a few months break and these hopefully it’s a full-on blast in terms of story just to wrap up all the dangling plot threads from this year and a half of story. Let’s see what happens in April…..