Welcome to Wicked Intervention, Multiversity’s monthly annotations for Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson’s “The Wicked + The Divine”. This week, the mystery deepens, the Pantheon stands revealed, and everyone swoons over Baal. Oh, like you wouldn’t?
As always, this column is going to feature hella spoilers. So, uh, go read this comic that came out two weeks ago.
Allow Me To Introduce Myself – The Cover Gallery
Baal’s been hanging over “The Wicked + The Divine” like a specter since the second issue when he made his debut giving a rather coarse statement on Lucifer’s imprisonment. Then in issue #3, he coincidentally showed up right as Cassandra was laying down the dirty exposition on him, naming Baal as the prime suspect in the Lucifer case since Baal Hammon associated with actual child-murder cults and has the fire powers necessary to blow a hole in a judge’s head. Though we’ll learn in this issue that Baal doesn’t actually have any fire powers, he does have the power of looking exceptional in red jackets which is pretty close.
As we’ll find out later, there’s some debate within the WicDiv world as to which “Baal” is walking around Earth, selling out concerts and cursing out news anchors. We’re going to find out later on that our Baal is actually Baal Hadad, a Canaanite sky god who once displeased a death god by not having human flesh at his feast so Hadad made love to a cow, dresses resultant spawn in his own clothes and gives said abomination to the death god, and then fakes his death.
For Baal’s other big influence, Kanye West seems to be a major player. Not just because they’re both rappers, but because Kanye West’s lyrics about godhood and supposed ego reflect Baal’s swagger pretty closely. Also, the man straight up wrote a song called “I Am A God”. That’s the opposite of subtle which makes West a perfect fit for both Baal and WicDiv itself.
Later on in this issue, Baal will confirm that he is Hadad and actually has storm powers, which are kind of given away by the cover where the guy is straight up wearing headphones made out of lightning. Without a doubt, that is one of the rawest images to exist.
Hey guys, look! It’s Nathan Fairbairn doing the coloring on Baal’s portrait! Fairbairn has colored approximately everything good so him being on WicDiv is a very pleasant surprise. It’s been mentioned that WicDiv likes to play with the cover to first-page transition – think of the very first page taking you from Luci or Laura to a rotting skull. Here, we go from the electrifying cover to a more solemn portrait of Baal. Beneath the shades, the powers, the bling, he’s just a respectable businessman like any other successful artist.
Oh. Oh it seems I misspoke on two parts. Not only is the humble portrait actually a mural of Baal surrounded by Woden’s own valkyries but this is actually the rawest image I’ve ever seen.
Also, Baal’s portrait is in Woden’s own Valhalla. I know it’s meant to be The Pantheon’s retreat but it’s still Woden’s, isn’t it? Imagine the heated phone call between Woden and Baal when the former woke up to a delivery crew dropping off a gigantic portrait of Baal being surrounded by Woden’s own personal army. My hopes for a filler issue grow and grow by the day.
Has it really been just over a week since Amaterasu’s concert? Laura’s life escalated unbelievably quickly. Also, are the UK’s court systems so fast that you can be put on trial for murder after a defending yourself from a terrorist attack and then kill your own judge within just a few days? Over in the colonies, that took me a couple months.
We talked about Baal being Hadad earlier but I still find his comment in the third panel interesting. It’s been very easy for Western historians to write off the gods of other cultures by depicting them as mindless savages. While there may have been some child sacrifice from Baal worshippers, really what religion hasn’t been involved with a few dead kids. In many ways, The Recurrence is these historians’ worst nightmare. The cultures that have been long dead have not only come back but they’ve completely overtaken the cultural zeitgeist. Effectively, hundreds of years worth of work by imperial scholars has been undone by a dozen teenagers and pop music.Continued below
I love “The Wicked + The Divine”, you guys.
Other thing I love, Laura asking Baal about Inanna after Cassandra stuttered. She’s really coming into her own.
Some comments from Baal about The Recurrence and their mission statement. He acknowledges that the gods can’t make much difference with their two year lifespan but what’s important is how their music influences and inspires us mortals. Your favorite band can influence the way you, or even society, can think about music but they won’t be around forever. Hell, The Beatles were only around for ten years and they allegedly changed the face of rock and roll.
While we’re at it, think of certain religions. The Greek Gods were worshipped until the Romans came. Even then, the original gods directly inspired the Roman pantheon and both inspired art from the Renaissance to this comic book itself. Even though the message and the memory can survive for generations, neither are likely to survive fully intact in their original incarnation.
Just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.
On a lighter note, Laura keeping cool in the face of her thirst for Baal is incredible. Also, Baal talking about how he isn’t afraid of who he is since he doesn’t have a say in the matter either way. Some gods seem to have expressed doubt about their newfound statuses but Baal’s almost nihilist acceptance of the role is interesting. More than the others, Baal is the god who acts most as the face of the Pantheon through either his angry TV interviews or by plastering his actual face all over the Pantheon’s home base. The doubt that’s found in characters like Minerva is nowhere near Baal.
Also, here’s our first look at some of Woden’s valkyries whose Tron aesthetic give us a hint at what to expect from the god.
I would too.
Hey guys, look! It’s Organization XIII from Kingdom Hearts! Wait. No. This is just the Pantheon. Hey guys, look! It’s the Pantheon!
There’s been more than a couple twists in WicDiv and Woden being a Tron cosplayer is definitely top three. Minerva being a Gerard Way/Sergeant Pepper cosplayer with the owl from Power Rangers is top two.
The beams of divine light shining down on Baal who’s in the middle of his dramatic turn are also a subtle reminder that WicDiv’s art team is the best.
Ananke’s moth outfit is next level. I’m writing this column in a Firefly t-shirt and I am completely overwhelmed by how on point everyone in this comic is. Even Laura and her dungarees.
Well it seems we’ve hit a bit of a snag in the investigation. Really, anyone here could be the killer.
I said anyone, Ammy, please calm yourself down. Also, the Assassin’s Creed convention is in the next hall over.
Hold the heck up. “The Last Recurrence”? This is the first hint we’ve gotten that this could actually be the final cycle of gods. What exactly could prevent the gods from coming back? Well, if Lucifer gets accused of being a murderer and brings that heat over to the Pantheon then the public opinion could turn on them. From there, the masses could just straight up refuse to worship them. And then a lack of worship could cause the gods to just straight up disappear. Could it be a stretch to say The Pantheon is one mass hallucination given form? The ideas of a collective made flesh?
Or maybe Ananke will just give up so she never has to deal with Lucifer’s self-doubting. Shit gets old after a while.
Well, that’s a grim new perspective on the Pantheon’s two year rule. Dying in your late teens, early twenties at the peak of your success is arguably (I MEAN REALLY ARGUABLY AS IN NOT AT ALL) a somewhat glamorous ideal. But before high school? That’s straight up tragic. Uh, sorry Minerva.
Ananke yelling at Sakhmet is a thousand times better if you imagine them as Lucille and Lindsay Bluth.Continued below
Man, Woden looks really suspicious.
Oh, thank god. I was worried there for a moment.
Lucifer’s doubt about the gods, expressed by Ananke earlier, begins to really show here. It’d be crazy if a teenage girl drafted into some weird system of gods and death tried to ruin said system’s reputation so no one would ever be forced into it again, wouldn’t it?
Again, WicDiv’s art team is out of control. The plastic cell melting is beautiful as is Wilson turning the background hot red whenever Luci’s powers manifest. I can’t tell what’s scarier, Luci’s rampage or the realization that she could’ve done this any time she wanted. Luci was just holding out for the Pantheon to make this more peaceful.
More glorious violence, but it’s the details like the raindrops avoiding Luci that make “The Wicked + The Divine” so beautiful.
[“NO CHILDREN” BY THE MOUNTAIN GOATS AGGRESSIVELY PLAYS IN THE DISTANCE]
Luci’s listening to “Play With Fire” by The Rolling Stones.
Well, you’ve got your diamonds and you’ve got your pretty clothes
And the chauffeur drives your car
You let everybody know
But don’t play with me, ’cause you’re playing with fire
Did I mention “WicDiv” isn’t subtle?
Call me crazy, but I think Lucifer may be the villain. Or hero. If she is the killer, an out of control rockstar who doesn’t care who she hurts then she’s definitely a villain. But if she murdered the judge to smear the perception of the Pantheon so no one else would have their life cut short by some vague and arcane system then she may as well be our anti-hero.
The killer of course could be anyone else but Luci is most likely here. There doesn’t seem to be much motivation for anyone to frame her and she did snap her fingers at a judge whose head then exploded. Maybe we’re just in collective denial since her outfit is so fresh? Then again, Amaterasu was also at the trial and she’s a sun god with fire abilities. Hell, maybe Laura’s powers manifested and she’s been keeping it a secret from all of us. Either way, we’ll likely find out when ‘The Faust Act’ concludes in “The Wicked + The Divine #5”.
Wait, is ‘The Faust Act’ actually the title of the first arc? Never mind, Luci totally killed that guy.