If you read one comic book this month–or in your lifetime–it should be The Wicked and the Divine #11. The Eisner Award nominee isn’t an easy read, but it’s a rewarding one. The set up is that every 90 years, 12 *ahem* gods are reincarnated to inspire the human race before dying within two years.
Yes, it’s kind of depressing, but it’s also a fascinating exploration of creativity and self-expression told with a cast of characters that is race-, sex- and gender-diverse. It also looks incredible. Jamie McKelvie’s lines are simple, clean and infinitely expressive while Matthew Wilson’s colors make you wonder why real life never looks so lush. And if that doesn’t entice you, how about this: Rihanna is already goddess, but imagine her with superpowers.
Anyway, issue #11 is the end of the book’s second arc, “Fandemonium.” In typical WicDiv fashion, it is (both literally and figuratively) explosive. It’s hard to talk about the issue without spoiling everything, but, basically, after a few issues where our protagonist Laura took a somewhat subordinate role so other characters could be developed, she comes back to the fore just in time for a game-changing twist. I’ve now spent a year with Laura and I was so moved by what happened to her that I genuinely had to fight to keep from crying. So, of course, then everything went to hell (not just a metaphor in this case).
Gillen is a master of slowly-unfolding mysteries, of cliffhangers and big reveals. The ends of his arcs mean big things and while what happened to Laura was the most shocking development, it wasn’t the only one. There was also an epic battle between everyone’s favorite god Inanna and goth pun-lover Baphomet.
At the end of each issue, there’s a logo that I call the Clock of the Gods that tells us the status of reincarnated gods. This one heavily implies that not everyone may return next month, but in order to survive, I’m going to pretend that’s a misdirect. After all, if this issue proved anything, it’s that Kieron Gillen is a lying liar who lies in order to hurt us. Though we only have ourselves to blame for getting hurt. This was always a story about death.
By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over every detail of America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture and celebrity obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to. You can find her risking her life by reading comic books while walking down the crowded streets of New York City, having inappropriate emotional reactions at her iPad screen while riding the subway or occasionally letting her love of a band convince her to stand for hours on end in one of the city’s many purgatorial concert spaces. You can follow her on Twitter to read her insightful social commentary or more likely complain about how cold it is at @MarisaCarpico.