This is the issue inspired by recent conventions frequented by Gillen + McKelvie. That’s my theory anyway. The WicDiv creators have tweeted their love for the comic’s cosplayers after events like Thought Bubble, and there’s definitely a theme running through the latest issue which is a homage to this. This is part of the appeal of the Wicked + The Divine, the fact that the creators' characters are so obviously part of this story and that they have the flexibility to interweave their strong narrative with whatever pops up into their lives and create a believable mesh. It adds to the personality and depth. Plus it’s funny to see the London Excel centre as a location in a comic. A good choice considering the walks of life that enter it on a regular basis.
Issue #7 focuses on the London Fantheon. A pleasing play on words for the God Convention. Unlike Waco, this is not a meeting of religious crazies, but fans of our favourite rockstar gods. Laura is here, but not as a fan, but as a celebrity speaker instead. Like issue #6, more exposition is explained via the exhibition (ahem). A map of The Excel exhibition space has been made, complete with hilarious play-on-words style names for all the eateries on the theme of gods, My favourite being the ‘Baal-You-Can-Eat-Buffet’. The map features annotations by Laura, from her point of view, showing the sort of day she has been having, but also a nice little insight into her feelings of how Luci’s life has been honoured (or not, as the case may be). A clever personal touch that also showcases the great economy of space Gillen + McKelvie use to tell their story.
Readers who have been to exhibitions and conventions will recognise all the usual things going on, from paying a fortune for a celeb’s autograph, to the constant handouts of promotional material, the queues and crowds, and conferences rooms with the keynote speakers. Again it is this juxtaposition of the familiar with the mythical in the Wicked + The Divine that is so appealing. The feeling that something epic could happen right now, in a setting so familiar, leaves the reader with a constant frisson of excitement. Cassandra is back too, in the press room and she is interviewing one of Woden’s Valkyries. More information is revealed about Woden himself, plus a mysterious mythical gambit is proposed, which could turn the fortunes of mere mortals. Needless to say, things take an unexpected turn, Woden is full of surprises, and loyalties that have been bubbling unseen in the background start to show their ugly head, complicating the story further.
Mckelvie’s art continues to impress as does Wilson's gorgeous treatment, with his colour-themed panel structure ever more evidently revolving around the main characters of the story. Issue #7 is still adventurous with it’s panel experimentation and there are some nice little treats for the reader in terms of placement of speech bubbles and single page design. There’s a great variety of lettering in this issue, a technique that nicely shows ‘accent’ particularly when the gods speak elevating them above the mortals, and must be fun for Cowles to produce. One particular page, where we see a cross section of the underground, reminded me of games such as Stealth Bastard or Gunpoint, and may just be a coincidence, but with the author's links to the gaming world, it is perhaps a nice little nod to the dark platformer genre. With another bitter-sweet denouement, we are teased even further as the tree of gods diagram starts to fill up. Hopelessly addicted.
The Wicked + The Divine #7 can be bought in print and digital from from Image Comics