A group of gods is resurrected every 90 years, they inspire people for two years, and then they die. As a lover of folklore and mythology, I had to read this. Then I looked at the people involved. Every time I see Kieron Gillen’s name, I do a double take, thinking it’s Karen Gillan and get really excited and then subsequently disappointed. However, I really liked GillEn’s writing and will definitely have to start Young Avengers. Now when I see his name on the guest lists for cons, I will get excited about him and stay excited.
Jamie Mckelvie’s art for this book also drew me in. It’s bright and vivid without being annoying, and fairly realistic without being graphic. Knowing nothing about the series, the covers are gorgeous pieces of art on their own. After having read the series, the characters within the art hold even more poignance. Since reading this, I ended up at a comic book store that still had copies of issue 1, and I now own the Bryan Lee O’Malley variant.
On to the writing! I love that the series is set in England, but was still confused when the seventeen year old protagonist, Laura, said she was at college. I had to keep processing this and remembering that in England, college is like junior and senior years of high school in American terms.
Speaking of Laura, she was a wonderful protagonist. She’s not exactly a “strong female protagonist,” she’s a teenage fangirl of these gods. She goes to worship and see them perform, and is given an opportunity to meet two of them. Obviously she takes it. What’s really cute is that throughout the book she has thought bubbles that basically equate to, “OMG don’t freak out, play it cool, THAT’S A GOD.” Which I think any fangirl would do when faced with a chance to meet her gods. I also really like that Laura is physically different from a typical protagonist. She’s not a twig, she doesn’t have cleavage everywhere, her sexuality is… up for debate, and she is interracial (yay for diversity!).
Most of the characters in the series are not depicted with cleavage everywhere, which is really awesome, as they’re all still beautiful, fashionable, and powerful. More comic books need to be like this.
I can’t help feeling like the gods are introduced too late. While yes, this is a beginning for a larger series, and I’m sure readers will get to know them as the series goes on, for this story arc, there were a lot of them and no faces to put to the names until pretty far in. Getting a fangirl’s perspective was rough because she’s studied them. She’s way ahead of the reader, so there is no way to keep up.
Speaking of gods, they were awesome. I love that Lucifer was a woman. It wasn’t unrealistic, it fit, and she rocked it. I want to see so much more of the other gods as the story continues. The Morrigan was definitely my favorite out of the ones introduced and expanded. She’s very goth and dramatic, but has core values that come through her facade throughout the arc.
I really feel this series has it all. Great story, great art, lots of gender equality, some romance, some violence, an insane cliffhanger ending, and diversity everywhere. Lucy is biracial, a reporter, Cassandra, is trans, Lucifer (Luci) is a lesbian, and the rest of the Pantheon are every color you could possibly want.
As I mentioned earlier, this volume ends with a serious cliffhanger and I can’t wait for issue 6, the first story in the new arc, to come out on December 17th.
I highly suggest picking up The Wicked + The Divine volume 1 from your local comic book shop right now.