Review: The Wicked + The Divine #18

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2016-04-05-wickeddivine

Publisher: Image Comics
Writers: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Colors: Matthew Wilson 
Letters: Clayton Cowles

Guns N’Roses, The Pixies, New Kids On The Block…sometimes you can’t keep a great band down. In this vein The Wicked + The Divine #18 reforms the trifecta of Gillen, McKelvie and Wilson to get the show back on the road.

The previous arc, Commercial Suicide, took an interesting approach to using guest artists to explore the back stories of the Pantheon members that have not had as much of the limelight whilst peppering each issue with details that hint to the bigger tapestry. It is fair to say that arc had its high points and a couple that didn’t quite hit the mark but overall was an interesting way to use guest collaborators whilst your A-team catch up, now that they have it’s business as usual.

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In what is a departure for the series there has been the inclusion of a dramatis personae. It is safe to assume that after seventeen issues, six of which being a little removed from the main narrative, The Wicked + The Divine #18 is a jumping on point for new and lapsed readers making the brief character profiles invaluable as there is a lot going on.

As we all know death in comic books is a relative concept. The last we saw Laura was in issue #11 when she was transformed into the final god, Persephone, then being assassinated by Ananke. Well…she’s back. It just goes to show that there has been a fair amount of research put into the creation of this title but also the alluded arc of Persephone to get us to this point displays a level of talent that you only get from creators at the top of their game. To take ancient Greek mythology and adapt it to a contemporary setting and have it mingle with a plethora of other mythologies in a way that is engaging and in no way contrived cannot be easy.

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The issue isn’t solely focused on Persephone, although she is the backbone of the issue, the narrative is littered with call backs to what has come to pass and gives us hints to new mysteries yet to be explored. The issue is fairly action heavy with battles breaking out on all fronts. Alliances come to light that have the potential to fall apart as quickly as they were made (that final page has trouble written all over it). There is a lot to digest.

While the Commercial Suicide arc was an interesting experiment in how to deal with a creator hiatus, the impact that the return of McKelvie and Wilson has on this issue is astronomical. Six months are a long time to be away but at no point do they look like they have missed a beat.

The Wicked + The Divine #18 is a welcome return to form. It may not be a great jumping on point but at least there has been an attempt to make it accessible for new readers. For those that stuck with the title, it should not disappoint.

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