The Wicked + The Divine #1 – Friday Flash Review
Shadowhawk and Bane of Kings take a look at Image Comics’ latest title, from Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson and Clayton Cowles.
“Bizarre and weird, but gorgeous to look at, this is going to be a series to watch out for in the coming months.” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields
“An excellent start to a promising new series.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
This week Image launched another new title, The Wicked + The Divine, a series about new-age gods who have fans and concerts and who do interviews while getting potshotted by sniper assassins and who get dragged up in court. Right from the start, this is a pretty weird book, and writer Kieron Gillen continues in that vein all the way through to the end. My experience with Gillen’s previous work has been a bit hit and miss but with this title, he seems to fall more on the side of the former than the latter, thankfully. Sure, the opening is really confusing and doesn’t seem to gel with what happens later on, but if you look at the rest of the story on its own merits, then you see something rather wonderful start to merge.
It could have been a lot better if Gillen hadn’t thrown the reader right into the middle of things with nary a word of explanation or anything, but I find that the entire concept and premise of the title I find to be very intriguing, especially once we get to the killer ending, which is where the comic really hits its stride. This is the kind of cliffhanger endings that I love reading about in comics and on that front Gillen certainly does not compromise or disappoint, which would have been all the more easier sadly. So it is good to see that things pan out much differently and that the comic ends on a really good note despite all the weirdness of the previous pages.
There isn’t a clear protagonist in the story as yet, and things seem to be rather sprinkled out here and there, which does make this comic a bit harder to follow, but Gillen’s sense of pacing is excellent here so that makes up for that particular deficiency in the comic, and since things end on such a good note, I find myself willing to ignore more than I would otherwise.
The real stars of this issue definitely have to be the artists however, for without their excellent contributions this comic would not be what it was, not at all. As great as Jamie McKelvie’s pencils are in this issue, and he is one of the best artists in the industry as far as I’m concerned, Matthew Wilson’s colours also rock, and there are certain scenes in this comic that really benefit from his mega-colour palettes with the strong neon and bizarre touch to them. As a team, McKelvie and Wilson are rock solid and it is great to see their work go together so seamlessly.
So yeah, I’m somewhat on the fence about this one but I can totally see myself keeping on with the series at the same time.
Bane of Kings:
I’m a massive fan of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers. It’s one of my favourite Marvel comics and is certainly their strongest Marvel Now offering (if only because Mark Waid’s Daredevil was launched before Marvel Now). Sadly, Young Avengers didn’t survive the transition period into All New Marvel Now and concluded its storyline – but allowed Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie to move onto an exciting new book from Image Comics.
Image’s strong track record (Manifest Destiny, Saga, Velvet, Lazarus, Rat Queens & Black Science being among my favourite books from that publisher) as well as Gillen and McKelvie’s reputation should make this book a must buy and both talents have really managed to deliver with the start of a great new first issue. With some awesome artwork and some great potential I can already tell that this will be a comic that I’m looking forward to following month after month. It’s the next best thing to having Young Avengers back on shelves, boasting a unique concept that makes it a must read.
The book itself, like most first issues – establishes the core narrative concept and the characters that we will be following pretty well indeed. We get to meet characters such as Luci, (short for Lucifer) – a teenage pop star with hidden secrets – and Laura, who is essentially the main character of the book. Whilst Laura’s character sometimes feels overshadowed by the impact that Luci has, it’s still nonetheless a very promising start for both Gillen and McKelvie.
The plot is unique and entertaining. The Gods have only two years to walk the Earth before they die and they want to make an impression – however they have to use human bodies to do so. It’s an original concept and certainly has the start of what could go on to be one of Image’s best series.
The artwork by Jamie McKelvie is worth buying this book for alone. It looks and feels amazing, with some very strong pencils that are arguably among his finest. Whenever you see Jamie McKelvie on a book you know you’re in for a treat, and like always, he delivers. The colours come from Matthew Wilson and they really help bring the book to life, making the combination of Gillen, McKelvie and Wilson a winning one and hopefully they should stay on this book for a long time to come.
Are there flaws? Well, this book isn’t perfect and I’ve already mentioned the character problems above. Another problem is that with a first issue in a brand new series usually comes a lot of exposition and it doesn’t always work – as is the case here. But hopefully now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can get into the real awesomeness that it sure to come and this book, like Young Avengers before it – looks set to get better and better.
So despite the problems, The Wicked & Divine #1 is a must read book with the potential to just get better and better. Gillen and McKelvie always produce great stuff when working together, and as a result this comes recommended.