Followers of the Wicked and the Divine have been reeling from the shocking ending of issue #5. Lucifer is dead, executed in gruesome fashion by Ananke in front of the media and our mortal heroine, Laura. Laura has also discovered she has a new trick up her sleeve in the form of fire at her fingertips. Except she hasn’t.
The Wicked and the Divine has spent 5 issues introducing us to the Pantheon of celebrity gods, and getting us used to a world where these beings not only exist but are known as a cyclic phenomenon among their believers. The first story arc, THE FAUST ACT, has done a remarkable job of setting the scene, creating an intricate story with interweaving implications and speculation for the readers to ponder for later issues. Was Ananke really protecting the status of the gods by removing the loose cannon that was Luci, or does she have more sinister, ulterior motives? Who framed Luci? Where does Baal’s loyalties lie? Can anyone control Sakhmet? Do the gods actually really care about anything?
This second story arc, entitled FANDEMONIUM, will be a 6 issue volume and it is clear, based on Gillen’s notes in the afterword, that there’s too much to tell in 5 issues. This excites me, and we are entering a paradigm shift in style and story telling in this latest issue, which signifies much for later issues. This change of tone is evident straight away in the first few pages. It is a month since Luci’s death, and more clues are dotted around the pages for the delectation of the reader. The first few panels telegraph details about subsequent characters cleverly; a T-shirt Laura is wearing hints at a later reveal, Laura spots other fans wearing homages to Luci, showing that her martyrdom may be more important than the Pantheon expected.
Laura is sporting a new haircut, evidence of the passage of time, even before it is explicitly stated and it is this economy of space in story telling that Gillen excels at. He is acutely aware of the limited space he has to tell his tale, and so, as always, makes excellent use of the comic book structure to drench us with details, adding clarity to the world he has created. One such page summarises the events of the past month cleverly by showing the panels as clips from news reports. elsewhere he has sacrificed a whole page to detail a labelled diagram of Laura’s typical teenage bedroom. This tells us so much more than a 6-panel page ever could. By describing the posters, flyers and sketches on Laura’s wall it gives us detail about Laura’s life and personality in a fashion we all recognise. Walk into my room when I was a spotty teenager, with my Tank Girls posters, pictures from Thrasher Magazine and Reading Festival and Glastonbury Ticket stubs and you’d get a pretty good idea of the sort of guy I was (or at least wanted to be) and this technique Gillen has used strikes a very resonant chord.
Laura receives a mysterious telephone call to meet someone at a secret location. I’ll leave you to speculate who she meets, but the front cover is the most obvious giveaway (and also highlights an error in my glyph chart from the previous review. Damn). The colour scheme of the whole issue is also in keeping with the theme of the central god who resembles a certain regal rockstar with a penchant for purple. Also keep a keen eye out for background details here that reveal more about Lucifer’s previous life before she became a god as well as highlight Gillen’s continuing love for musical references. Needless to say Issue #6 leaves you wanting more with more details being revealed and more questions to be answered. A packed issues that feels generous in its storytelling.
The Comic is available in both print and digital from Image comics.