The Wicked + The Divine #1
Review Spoilers: Low
If anyone knows me, they know that I love music and comics in fairly equal measure. If they really know me, they know that one of my very favorite comics is Phonogram by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. The series is about people who have control over magic through music, but it’s really more about how people relate to music and how it affects their lives. Gillen himself says it doesn’t have a plot, but the human aspect of it is why I’ll always reblog anything about being affected emotionally by his works.
Earlier this year, Gillen and McKelvie announced at Image Expo that they were going to have a new ongoing series called The Wicked + The Divine. At first, I was kind of upset about it because I had been waiting diligently on Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl for nearly two years. The more I read about the series though, the more intrigued I became.
The Wicked + The Divine is, in Gillen’s description, a twin to Phonogram. Where Phonogram is a magically realistic book about how we relate to artistic creations, The Wicked + The Divine is an urban fantasy about being an artist. Well, probably in the long run. The first issue is focused on the consumer, but that’s to ease us in.
In the world of The Wicked + The Divine, there is an event called The Recurrence. Every ninety years, gods come down to Earth and take over the bodies of teenagers. They live for two years, performing miracles with the snap of their fingers and bringing people to worship them. After that time, they die, taking the teenager’s body with them. In the most current Recurrence, some of the gods have become pop stars. This is where we come to meet Laura, a devotee of these gods.
Laura is sort of a great first character to meet for this situation. She’s a teenager who desperately wants to be in the world of these gods. She even says so during one of Amaterasu’s performances. “I want everything you have.” How appropriate it is that the first god she meets is Luci, the current embodiment of Satan. No deals with the Devil are made in this first issue, but seeing how Laura is in front of these gods, you can tell it’s going to come soon.
The first gods we me are pop stars and Jamie McKelvie does an excellent job designing them as such. Amaterasu has a total Florence Welch feel to her (and according to Matt Wilson’s coloring, has a way better stage presence) while Luci has a total androgynous mix of La Roux and David Bowie and Sakhmet is super duper Rhianna. In fact, Sakhmet ended up having my favorite moment of the first issue because it involves what happens when you introduce a literal cat goddess to laser pointers.
In true first issue fashion, I’m left wanting more by the end of it. Not just for the massive cliffhanger that it ended on, but for the rich world Gillen, McKelvie, and Wilson have created. I want to know more about the gods and the recurrence. I want to know more about Laura as she goes on this journey that could potentially put her life in danger. I want the clever writing and beautiful colors.
Simply put, I want everything they have.
Promising to be a rich and colorful comic that could be the next prized jewel in Image’s collection, the first issue of The Wicked + The Divine sets us up for a journey that will be long and thrilling. If you’re a fan of Phonogram, Young Avengers and/or pop music, I suggest hopping onto this train soon. (Also: be jealous. I have Bryan Lee O’Malley’s variant cover.)