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‘The Wicked + the Divine 1923:’ Advance Comic Book Review

As the series has gone on, one of the pillars of each The Wicked + The Divine arc is that, as a precursor, we get a look at our beloved gods at a different point in their lives during one of their short, two-year stays in the world of the living.

This time, we find them in the year 1923, as Lucifer calls the group to his sprawling mansion for a special event. This devolves into a series of murders that sets the gods off on a hunt to find out who is taking each of them down.

These one-shots are very interesting, as we get to see the gods we’ve come to know and love in a totally different light. Gods are of different races, genders, and some are newer to the Pantheon than others. With relative newcomers such as Neptune and Susanoo, this issue quickly turns into a bottle issue, as each common member of the Pantheon takes their turn in the mansion, trying to figure things out.

The big draw of this issue is that while the talented Aud Koch creates some amazing visuals in this special release, it’s mostly prose. There are sequences, presented as chapters, all telling the story of what’s happening, with interstitials of comic book art filling in some of the more climactic sequences. It’s a common form of artistic expression in comics, but one that rarely feels as rigid as this – which is not to be meant as a dig, but more as an observation of how well plotted and laid out these sequences are. Each small chapter is presented well, and after reading it, we get a nice reprieve with some gorgeous artwork.

I’m not always initially on board with these period issues, as I’ve come to appreciate the gods as they are in the modern era, but seeing them in different ways, with different relationships, shows just how deep and complex the bonds of this group are. Keiron Gillen always seems to enjoy these experimental issues, as well, with the plot coming with an energy that is vastly different to that put into the main book. It’s all from the same cloth, but getting to play in a minimalist sandbox for one issue seems to bring out an interesting side of Gillen’s creativity.

With some gorgeous artwork and some flowery prose, this issue adds a new wrinkle into what we’ve seen from this series. I’m always glad to go back to the main story, but I always appreciate the main plotline more with these reads. They’re always enjoyable, great for seeing the added layers of these characters, and interesting, for certain. As always with The Wicked + the Divine, it’s worth a read.

Creative Team: Keiron Gillen (Writer), Aud Koch (Artist), and Clayton Cowles (Letters)
Publisher: Image Comics
Click here to purchase.

Russ Pirozek, Fanbase Press Contributor



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