Review: “The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act” by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles

(picture of a skull in comic pane) “And once again, we return to this.”

The Wicked + The Divine, Chapter 1 opening

Authors: Kieron GillenJamie McKelvie (Illustrations), Matt Wilson (Colorist), Clayton Cowles
Publication Date: November 12th 2014
Publisher: Image Comics
Genre: Comic, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Find it on: Goodreads

Synopsis

Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5

From Goodreads

Review

NOTE: This is an MA-rated comic

It’s been an extremely long time since I read a comic, and the ones I’ve picked up in the past were either super hero comics or technically manga. I decided to give this one a go because the premise of gods cyclically returning to our world as pop stars was fascinating, and because the art style seemed cool. When I picked this up from the library and started reading, many things surprised me. Firstly, I had no idea this was MA-rated 😂. (They really should have those ratings listed more clearly…). I saw it on the back cover, but it hits you in the face content-wise in the first ten pages or so. I can’t speak to the series yet but at least this first one is probably rated at that tier due to language and sexual themes, for those who are curious. Secondly, it’s striking how different comics are from novels. This seems obvious, but it took a few short chapters to settle in to the style and let my mind open. When you’re used to reading only the text and visualizing the scenes, it’s different to have the prescriptive art in front of you and process the intricacies of the drawn character’s expressions, for instance. This is just something that stood out to me as someone dipping back into that form after so long.

On to the actual story itself, it was definitely a neat concept that made sense in execution. As they explained it, gods love adoration and there’s no better modern way of achieving that than through fanatic pop star groupies and fans. Thinking of the popular solo artists and groups today I tend to agree. While the core of it was solid, this comic did feel a bit short, though. Since there are twelve gods we don’t get to see all of them featured which is a shame, and we’re limited to their current two year stint on our planet so we don’t get an idea of how the return/reincarnation part works except for a glimpse in the beginning. There’s still a few twists snuck in, however, and the ending was a surprise cliff-hanger. Altogether these all provide pretty strong motivating factors to continue in the series.

My favorite characters were one or two of the gods, but Laura, our 17-year-old human main character, is sweet as well. When the action hits and one of the gods, Luci, is framed for killing a judge (via some sort of terrific head explosion caused by a ‘snap’ of the fingers) Laura plays a key role attempting to vindicate her and find the real culprit. And that’s basically all the main plot this comic has time for, trying to balance the artwork with the text. Overall it was a fun change of pace and an interesting medium. I’d recommend this to adult comic book readers who find their interest piqued by the summary. If anyone also has any other good comic recommendations please let me know! 🙂

Original background cover photo credit: Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Review: “The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act” by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles

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