By Ken Porter
The Wicked + The Divine
Written by: Kieron Gillen
Art by: Jamie McKelvie
Colors by: Matt Wilson
Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have created fantastic stories like Young Avengers and Phonogram together, and now with The Wicked + The Divine they continue that streak. Tackling gods in a modern setting is tough. Mainly because it’s become a staple for urban fantasy and science fiction. But Gillen and McKelvie put interesting rules and characters into the situation which breathes new life into this kind of story.
The premise is fun from the get go — Every ninety years a group of gods are reincarnated as normal human beings. They only live for two years, then die as a part of their mysterious life cycle. The first issue picks up with a girl named Laura attending a concert for a pop star calling herself Amaterasu. What Laura soon discovers is that the young pop star actually believes she’s the shinto god, and from there her night spins out of control.
The feel of the book
There’s something unique to projects that Gillen and McKelvie work on. The best way I can describe it is, whether it’s about music or not, their collaborations always feel like they’re a bit rock ‘n’ roll. Even with Young Avengers there was a tone and style that made me feel like there was something rebellious and musical about the series. With The Wicked + The Divine the feeling is amped up, like its Gillen and McKelvie turning the modern gods story on its head and delivering their own brand of narrative in the genre.
What makes it a great alternative?
One of the things that makes this a great alternative is that the premise itself is unlike anything out there. At least when it comes to things that I’ve been reading or noticed in comics. You get some super powered beings, which isn’t new to the medium, but you get it through the lens of media celebrities and eccentric characters.
Who would enjoy this?
I think fans of series like X-Statix will really enjoy this book. It has a somewhat similar setup and tone, although it feels a bit more grand and mythic than the X-Men book about angsty TV stars. I also think that fans of books like American Gods would have fun with this series. Based on the first issue it feels like there are going to be a lot more fun characters to explore, and strange mystery to solve. If you’re looking for something different on the stands then I suggest picking up the first issue of this book. Image is putting out tons of interesting titles, and this is one of their latest gems.
Ken Porter is presently interning with Cosmic Book News and also writes comic books including “Ink Ribbon” from Visionary Comics. Ken was also the winner of last year’s Top Cow Talent Search contest and was recently published in “Artifacts” #33.