Sure, the cover’s a little bit gruesome, but the real heart-breaking horror is what’s INSIDE the issue. SPOILERS AHOY! Your Major Spoilers review of The Wicked + The Divine #11 awaits!
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #11
Writer: Keiron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Chrissy Williams
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
Previously in The Wicked + The Divine: “Every ninety years, twelve gods return as young people. The are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are all dead. It’s happening now. It’s happening again.
Laura and Inanna were investigating the fans who tried to assassinate Lucifer, prompting the chain of events that lead to Lucifer’s death. Hoping to uncover a conspiracy, Laura was disappointed when journalist-turned-god Cassandra (now, Uror the Nonr) revealed the assassins were just opportunists. Cassandra’s first performance is interrupted when Baphomet tries and fails to kill her, wanting to steal her life force. Now Laura heads home to deal with her disappointment and Baphomet heads into the night, in search of easier prey…”
DON’T TRUST A NARRATIVE
After the disheartening events of last issue, Laura Wilson returns home, nearly ready to give up on everything that has happened in the past ten issues, and finally accepting that she’s NOT a god, and she never will be. It’s only one page, but it’s really devastating, given what we’ve seen her go through so far (though there’s more devastation on the way, so just hold on.) Heading home, it seems that Laura’s journey is over…
…until she decides that she’s not going to give up, on herself, on the young gods, on any of it, and that if she only gets a normal life, then she’ll by damn make it the best normal life ever. That’s when she finds Ananke waiting at her home, promising that they have much to discuss. The pacing of this issue is flat-out wonderful, made most obvious when you realize that this sequence, with it’s three quick-but-dramatically-important turnarounds comprises only the FIRST SIX PAGES OF THE BOOK. While we wonder what Ananke has to say, the story transitions to Inanna’s home, where he is presiding over another of his legendary after-party/orgies, while Baphomet skulks in the shadows, arguing about whether or not to try to kill his fellow godling. Of course, the answer is “SURE!” and the their battle is visually stunning, stunning enough to distract from the fact that just a couple of pages earlier, we were looking at dozens of beautiful people getting their proverbial freak on together. Even more delightful is the moment where Inanna excitedly remarks that he’s never been in an actual fight before, and that the whole thing is actually kind of fun. The battle turns sour for him, leaving me certain that they’re about to kill one of my favorite characters in a terrible way…
OH. MY. *GAWD*.
…aaand of course, they do. McKelvie’s art once again makes the sequence amazing, as the entire building is engulfed by a massive explosion and flames. The terrible bottomless feeling is quickly reversed, though as Ananke reveals why she has come to see Laura: Laura’s dream of being one of the gods? It’s more than just a dream. In a shocking sequence, Ananke reveals that she is Persephone, and how foolish she feels at not realizing it sooner. The hairs on the back of my neck begin to stand up as
Laura Persephone asks how any of this can be true, as she thought there were only twelve gods, but Ananke brushes the whole thing away. As a joyful Laura begins to sing, tears running down her face, McKelvie’s art emulates a slow camera pan, moving the image across a series of panels expressing the wonder of what she’s feeling…
…and then the most terrible thing ever happens. And THEN, they make it worse as Laura’s parents arrive, triggering more horror. The issue ends with the book’s full-page shot of the symbols of the 12 gods, with the moral of the story writ large, just to break our hearts a little more: “It Was Never Going To Be Okay.”
THE BOTTOM LINE: GAME-CHANGING
This issue is one of the rare times that something has been built up (Gillen and McKelvie have been saying on Twitter for some time that readers would never forgive them for this one) to be utterly devastating, and has still worked for me, as well as Adrian saying “I did it 15 minutes ago”, as well as Baron Zemo revealing his Thunderbolts, as Omni-Man revealing his true nature. As much as I hate them in the abstract, the entertainment factor of this issue is worth the horror and loss (kind of), and the somewhat disturbing cover becomes that much more terrible in retrospect. In short, The Wicked + The Divine #11 is a true Wham Episode, a Holy Curse-Word moment that makes me even more excited about a book I’ve been enjoying, earning a damn-near perfect 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. I really hate the creators of this comic book right now for what they’ve done, which is always high praise…