Like the Amaterasu show in Issue #1, this month's installment of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE places us -- and our proxy, Laura -- right in the action at a pop/god concert, driving away from the "routine cop work" and origin stories, and back into the music. Unlike the first issue's gig? The Baphomet vs. Morrigan battle/concert is no sunny love-fest. It's explosive, it's angry, and it's faster paced than a 1-2-3-4.
The dialogue in this issue is rhythmic and sometimes rhyming, and paired with the gothity-goth-goth characters we've just met, the Underground/Underworld stage is immediately full of personality. Or multiple personalities. It's immersive, and the scripting is exactly right for introducing the death-centered parts of the pantheon -- showing rather than telling.
Speaking of showing? McKelvie's panel layouts are vivid and active -- if a book can make you feel like you're falling right along with a character, that's a win. The use of darkness (or bright, fiery light) in the Underground is very effective, and WICDIV keeps its stride in the "visually interesting" category.
As with last issue, I'm totally addicted to doing research on the gods behind the gods. You've gotta love a book that inspires learning, right?
After a flashy, fantastic open, there was a bit of a dip in the middle. The scene with Laura's parents changed the pace -- which is cool -- but also seemed to be missing some clarity of purpose.
WICDIV continues to surprise and delight, with larger-than-life characters and equally thrilling situations. Everything about the book, from design to research to dialogue, feels intentional -- which in turn, makes it easier to buy into. It's a stunning execution of a high concept that's already unique, and a fresh, enjoyable read.