The Wicked + the Divine #19
The previous issue, The Wicked + the Divine #18, began a new storyline they’re calling “Rising Action”. It’s a more straightforward approach, where two groups of the reincarnated gods finally directly face off against each other. There’s a lot more action, and frankly, for someone not completely indoctrinated into the cult of the title, it’s a lot easier to follow.
I feel horrible saying that, because I feel like it’s an indictment of my lack of willingness to participate actively in entertainment, as well as a capitulation to the commercial elements of the comic market. But I felt lost by the previous issues, which I couldn’t keep up with month to month. If I only read a few comics, or if I had time to read the issues over and over, I’d likely have enjoyed them more. This storyline, by being simpler in aims and direction, allowed me back into the series.
One big help is that each issue begins with a cast rundown, a listing of the gods’ names, realms, and key elements of their history, accompanied by a head shot. It’s simple but necessary.
Although the series is about the necessity of death and departure, I missed the character of Laura, a fangirl who became Persephone. She’s back, leading the charge against the ancient Ananke, who previously killed her. Pretty clear motivation for revenge there, but I believe Laura has bigger goals, because she’s smarter than that.
In issue #19, specifically, as written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Jamie McKelvie, Persephone has assembled Baphomet, Morrigan, and Minerva to join her. They are seeking to enlist Dionysus (shown on the cover), while the teenage Minerva is worried about protecting her parents. Her mechanical owl is traded off between the two groups, which is my favorite piece of art, the robot bird.
This is a “moving pieces” issue, putting the characters in place and ramping up the suspense for future showdowns. Still, as I said above, I’m feeling more excited about the coming issues than I have in months. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)