The Wicked + The Divine: Volume II
Written by: Kieron Gillen
Illustrated by: Jamie McKelvie
Published by: Image Comics
Reviewed by: Joe Bones
Genre: Comic Book / Fantasy
I like the idea of independently published comic books more than I usually like the books themselves. Even when an indie comic’s synopsis intrigues me I’m usually turned off by either the art or the cover price. I tend to stick to DC because I’m familiar with the characters and their histories, and the publisher tells stories that I know will interest me. Yet every once in awhile, I’ll take a chance on an indie comic. Such was the case for The Wicked + The Divine. This series has totally blown me away.
Volume 2 picks up shortly after the shocking conclusion of Volume 1. The first six issues each center around a different member of the Pantheon. They explore how the featured character is dealing with the events of the previous story arc and contain pages drawn by different guest artists. Often, a change of artists on a comic book can lead to problems in tone or clarity. Such is not the case in this book, as each artist not only compliments McKelvie’s original style, but also lends a unique perspective to the personal reflections of each member of the Pantheon.
My biggest complaint with Book 1 of The Wicked + The Divine was that its narrative offered little explanation as to the reasons behind the Recurrence. It set up a thrilling mystery without disclosing much about the world in which that mystery was set. Once I progressed through Book 2, however, I realized this complaint was based on an unfair expectation. Most comic book stories need to have fast-paced plots filled with action to keep readers engaged and ensure continued sales. Wicked + The Divine is a mystery, one published by an independent publisher no less, and as such is able to take its time and focus on telling a complex story. In Book 2 Gillen expertly manages to further the plot and overarching mystery while also developing his characters and building the world in which they live. As these things occur in harmony, Gillen also begins to sow the seeds for the next part of the mystery that lies at the heart of this series.
The Wicked + The Divine is a series that truly puts the ‘novel’ in the term graphic novel. This book is long form storytelling at its best, made even better by the stellar art from a varied collection of artists. Book 2 addresses the major issue I had with the first two arcs with a masterful tying together of character development, world building, and complex storytelling. Each page in this volume contains breathtaking art and gives the reader a little more insight into the motivations of the Pantheon and the inner workings of their world. The two arcs collected in Book 2 of The Wicked + the Divine are guaranteed to change your perspective of the kinds of stories that can be told in a monthly comic book.