The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen

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IMG_2294This one has been out for some time and has gotten quite a bit of praise. I have read numerous articles about this book saying that this is one of the best graphic novels out there. So after reading all the praise and learning a little more about the premise I was certainly interested and knew I had to check this one out.

Kieron Gillen is the writer on this book and the only other book of his I have read is Three. I just posted the writers bio from that review here again: Kieron Gillen, who is from Britain, started out as a journalist writing for Wired, GamesMaster and PC Gamer UK mainly about computer games. He is most famous for The Wicked + The Divine which I recently read the other day was one of the best new comics no one is talking about. So that will definitely be on my list to read in the near future. His other notable works include Darth Vader, Angela Asgard’s Assassin, and a hand full of other titles for Marvel and Image as well as some creator owned titles like this one. This is the first story of his that I have read but based on his body of work I doubt it will be my last.

IMG_2289The story opens with quite a few questions that certainly get the reader interested in what is going to happen next. The premise is that every 90 years gods come to earth and occupy human bodies for two years. Humanity kind of turns a blind eye to the situation. Most see the gods as a hoax or just a sort of cult, while others worship them, regardless of what the people believe they are real. The story follows a Laura who sees the gods as pop stars and worships them. She eventually gets to meet Lucifer who introduces her to another of her favorite gods. Soon after the meeting assassin attack them and Lucifer quickly kills them and is arrested. While on trial she uses her power to kill the judge, but claims that she did not kill him. Soon Laura is working with the other gods trying to clear Lucifer’s name and find out what is really going on. She is thrown into a  world she does not understand complete with some truly bizarre characters.

Overall I did like the whole premise of this first trade in the series. I love the idea of ancient gods coming back to Earth, I think this is a neat IMG_2290idea that really opens a whole load of questions. However, I felt that despite the interesting premise was more or less wasted on a very lack luster story.

The opening scene in this book hooked me, I was really interested in what was going to happen in the following pages. But by the end of the story I was left quite disappointed with what had happened during the pages. I will play the devil’s advocate here. When you have an interesting and different story idea, that is one thing, but to then take a very cool premise and then construct a great story to go along with it is very hard to do. When this does happen it is truly magical, and I think that the writers of this book missed the mark.

I did enjoy the characters in the book. As I have said numerous times, I always enjoy omnipotent characters in any story. This one did not disappoint as almost every character has this aurora around them, which I really enjoyed. Even Laura, the main character, who is human was interesting as well. The whole idea of groupies following these gods around wasIMG_2291 another interesting idea thrown into the story.

I liked the artwork in this one, and the colors, the color in this book certainly separates it from others that are similar. The artwork style is very similar to that in Alex + Ada. It is very simple, with enough detail for my liking. I also felt the artwork is very very sharp and very crisp, there is not a lot of fluff in the style. This is the most anti-stylistic artwork I have seen, basically just very traditional. Every line is very clean. I really like this style and think it works very well with the story and the premise. What really stands out with the artwork is the colors. This is one of the most brightly colored book I have seen out there. So many super saturated panels that leap off the page. Usually this could be somewhat of a distraction from the story, but it works perfectly here. Perhaps it is because of the supernatural premise that this is not an issue and works so well. The page layouts are nothing over the top, IMG_2292not much to comment on in this aspect.

This one is a hard book to give my final verdict. I have been trying to think of another one like this, where the premise is great, but the story was lackluster and I nothing comes to mind immediately. So I did like the book, just felt that the awesome premise warranted a better story. The artwork is good, but nothing over the top, very similar to Alex + Ada, which is also an Image book. The cover art is also very cool and different, which I really liked as well. At the end there are a quite a few pages that have alternative covers as well as some promotional art and a one page story that was used to pitch this book. These extras are pretty cool. For all the hype I heard about this one I am sad to say that I was a little disappointed with it. I hate saying that because I wanted to like it, but just felt the story was just really silly. I felt that there were so many different avenues that could have been explored with the premise. With that being said, I wonder if this was done on purpose to set up a much deeper and better story later on in the IMG_2293story. For that reason I will eventually read the next trade in this series. I will recommend this one, just be careful not to overhype it.

Manik

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