The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1 (2014)

Written by: Kieron Gillen

Art by: Jamie McKelvie

Unbeknownst to many, America actually has a state religion. It’s a little ol’ polytheistic establishment called “Pop Culture.” We worship entertainers, laying offerings at their manicured feet in the form of money, admiration, Facebook Likes…

Bad portrait

…and ill-conceived fan art.

Our gods do not live in heaven, they live in Beverly Hills. Our gods are celebrities. The Wicked + The Divine takes this basic idea and makes it completely literal. What if celebrities were genuine, omnipotent, fire-and-brimstone gods?

Synopsis: Every 90 years, a pantheon of twelve gods manifest in human form and become consummate pop-stars. They are an inspiration to the entire world. Then, in two years they die, and the entire process starts all over again. A girl named Laura becomes embroiled with these celestial beings after attending one of their concerts. When the god Lucifer is framed by another member of the pantheon for murder, Laura attempts to prove her innocence and track down the true culprit. (Yes, Lucifer is a woman in this story.)

Q: Did you like this graphic novel?

A: Uh-huh!

Here’s the Low-Down:

1. Thematic Unity is a Glorious Thing: As a mythology buff, I absolutely love this graphic novel’s concept. Musical concerts have a weirdly spiritual vibe to them–many souls becoming one through their love for something, etcetera, etcetera–so it’s brilliant to juxtapose them with spiritual entities.


See? Spiritual. They may as well be church!

The plot is epic, but also intimate, because it’s narrated from the perspective of hapless Laura, who is at a bewildering stage in her development. She is not quite a teenager but not quite an adult either. She feels aimless, and that is what draws her to the gods. They give her a purpose. This coming-of-age story works as a framing device for all the supernatural intrigue, making it even more imminent and relatable. Countless gods in recorded history have spoken through prophets and disciples. It only makes sense that deities in The Wicked + The Divine would have a mortal mouthpiece of their very own.

2. You’ll be Reminded Why You Love Graphic Novels: Any well-executed form of media, whether it’s a book, a movie, or a graphic novel, attempts to “show” it’s audience something they’ve never seen before. The Wicked + The Divine is loaded with surreal and beautiful moments. A real stand-out is when Laura goes down into the subway to seek out The Morrigan, the strangest god in the pantheon. Things get pretty crazy!


The Morrigan: Goddess of Hot Topic

Another god named Baphomet attempts to crash The Morrigan’s party, and when they both start talking in divine tongues at the same time, every human around them (including our main character) almost ends up getting annihilated! Sounds like thanksgiving with the in-laws, am I right? Haha, am I right? “Take my wife, please!”

3. Pretty Pictures: The artwork is Rembrant meets Andy Warhol, stunning realism with the energy of a Saturday morning cartoon. It’s enough to make art students around the world jealous!

4. Confabulation Tarantino Would be Proud of: Dialogue in The Wicked + The Divine has a loose, natural quality. Conversations flow effortlessly. When the gods speak, their words project the kind of gravitas and cryptic whimsy that one might expect from earth-bound immortals. If only Kieron Gillen didn’t submerge his excellent writing in a bathysphere of ubiquitous profanity and sexual “non-uendos.” Some argue that there is a place for adult language and that it is: “simply how people talk,” but at a certain point it starts to feel as if the characters are inflicted with a form of Tourette’s. Perhaps my sensibilities are just different. Needless to say, The Wicked + The Divine is not intended for impressionable young tykes.

tough baby

Well, except maybe this one…I’m not gonna to tell him what to do, are you?

Final Remarks:

Volume One only encapsulates the first five chapters. While a lot of fascinating “world-building” takes place, if you’re expecting to get a detailed look at all the gods and learn why they’re on earth or why they only live two years,  you’re going to be a bit disappointed. But that’s okay because The Wicked + The Divine isn’t over yet. Volume Two will be released in July, and chapters six through eleven are already available for individual purchase. Any good story leaves you wanting more, and that’s exactly what The Wicked + The Divine does.

I give The Wicked + The Divine: 11 members of the pantheon out of 12.

Give it a look if you’re burned out on super-heroes and dying for something with a zesty wallop to mix things up.


Purchase The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1 at: