Every month a group of us get together and read 2-3 comic book volumes and then have meetup to discuss them. We have a few that we always add to our list once the newest volumes become available and on of these is Image’s The Wicked and the Divine, written by Kieron Gillen and illustrated by Jamie McKelvie. It’s not just a good, it’s pre-order and make sure I read it the minute it comes from Amazon good.
The series is about a pantheon of ancient gods who are reincarnated into the bodies of 12 young people every 90 years. The young people become idolized pop stars, famous as fuck, and they get some badass superpowers, but of course there’s a catch. Two years after the reincarnated god takes over their body, the host body dies. Already the story sounds cool, and certainly isn’t one that’s been told and retold a million different ways, right?
We start off with Laura, who is basically the biggest fan girl for the Pantheon. Laura is relatable to any readers who’ve ever been super fans, she has a normal life, with pretty normal parents, and normal is just not what she wants. She’s done her research, she knows everything she possibly can find out about the Pantheon, and one day she finds herself face to face with Lucy…that would be Pantheon elite Lucifer, whose androgynous style is impeccable (think David Bowie).
Speaking of incredible looks, the illustration and color work is phenomenal! With one exception, volume 3, apparently the normal illustrator wasn’t available so they used someone else, whose work was fine and well, it just wasn’t what we had expected. Luckily we’re back to normal for issue 4. There isn’t a single page from volumes 1, 2, and 4 that I wouldn’t happy frame or plaster all over my walls. It’s like Jem and the Holograms moved forward 30 years but also managed to keep some of the more kickin’ style of the 80’s with them.
I’m not going to go any further into the storyline because it’s just one you need to add to your list of reads and I don’t want to be responsible for any kind of spoilers for this tail. I will say that the plot twists don’t lose their shock value the further you read, the mystery isn’t unraveling in a nice neat package (and I mean that in good way), and the last page always leaves you wanting more. The characters are brilliant and fun, and as you can expect it’s almost impossible to pick just one favorite in the current pantheon.
The Wicked and the Divine is about super fans and super haters, it’s about music and art, it’s about fashion and glamor, but it’s not so completely over the top that you can’t believe any of it. Gillan does an incredible job slipping in just enough reality to grab you and pull you into the story, then sucker punches you square in the gut, but you keep reading, letting him do the same to you over and over because clearly these pages are coated in thick layers of comic book magic. It will be reenacted by cosplayers and drag queens alike for it’s creativity and fabulousness. Seriously, there isn’t a single female character I couldn’t see my brother recreating on stage in a drag performance. Not. One. I don’t even like current pop music, but I’m completely addicted to the story and the characters.