The Wicked + The Divine is one of those new comic lines that bring a freshness and originality into the genre that has been lacking amongst the glut of supernatural and superheroes. It also dares to have female characters that have a great deal going for them besides their ability to kick ass and their generous cup size. Needless to say, I was surprised to see this title actually a part of Image Comics.
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1, The Faust Act brings together issues one through five.
“…Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans.
They are loved.
They are hated.
In two years, they are dead…”
Young Laura is sneaking out to see a concert. The artist is a pop star and a God. She passes out during the concert and is awaken backstage to find a beautiful woman standing over her. She introduces herself as “father of lies, the adversary, lord of flies, the old serpent, god of this world, dragon, the lightbringer…but you Laura, you can call me Luci…”
Laura steps into this world of pop singers who are Gods. A cabal held together by the simple truth that their time on Earth is very short until they must leave their human host and find another. But something has gone wrong with this generation of Gods incarnate, there is murder and blood as the humans seek to kill them. And the Goddess Lucifer finds herself in the middle of it. How can you control a God when the very snap of her fingers can kill you? Only another God can control an out of control God.
The Wicked + Divine transcends the God turn mortal comic line (think Marvel’s Thor) with a courageous departure of conventional mythology. It is brave and original and separates itself with strong storytelling and not relying on soft core porn artwork as you will easily find in other lines such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Again, surprised to see this under the Image label.
Gillen and McKelvie build a good base for their stories with characters and situations that have the built in benefit of being able to re-invent themselves. Remember the mortality rate on these Gods is two years so if one line in the comics isn’t working, it has a built in kill device to start anew. Pretty inventive.
As for my surprise that this is an Image comic, keep in mind how Image began. The home of Spawn, Wildcats, Shaman’s Tears and the home of missed deadlines. Full page artwork and comics that could have had the entire story tweeted in 120 characters or less. Image was a company created by artists who didn’t want their creative abilities owned by the two big comic book companies. But as is the truth too many times in these situations, it was also a case of the inmates running the asylum. Or mismanaging it.
The Wicked + The Divine is story driven with good artwork supporting it. It should be one of the better underground lines to follow this year.