The Wicked + The Divine #5 brings us the finale to the first story arc; it’s been an… interesting ride so far, if quite a bit problematic, but that’s beside the point. Let’s see how this story arc comes to an end. Is it good?
The Wicked + The Divine #5 (Image Comics)
Lucifer has broken out of jail and now she’s going for a little stroll — which involves wrecking the entire place (setting cars and people on fire and all of that). Laura tries to get to her so she can stop the chaos but then the other gods start to intervene as well to make her stop. Their way of stopping her is far more violent though…
Wait, you are worried about her getting killed?! She just fire to a truck full of riot police! I’m more worried about them than her you jerk.
Holy crap, it actually felt like something happened for once in this book. After dragging its feet for the past few issues with very little development, and characters babbling nonsensically, in The Wicked + The Divine #5 we had story development, plot progression, and surprising twists! The story kicked it up a notch with an intense opening, an intriguing middle, and a somber climax & conclusion. All it took was a bit of action and actual forward movement. Go figure.
Of course, while the story finally does move forward, there are still problems that chain the comic to the ground. The characters still remain extremely problematic and ultimately, just not that compelling or likeable. Lucifer is a dick through most of the issue (and the entire series), with little to show other than that personality trait. So, when she does actually apologize for her behavior, it doesn’t feel believable and comes across more as a vain attempt to sort of redeem her just before the writer decides to remove her from the story. Laura really doesn’t bring much to the table here, with the exception of two points. Her priorities are still screwed up a bit and she still doesn’t have much to her personality outside of being a fangirl. Again, there’s one point in the book that suggests a change with her character soon, but it comes a bit too late in the game. Of course, there’s the rest of the cast to the book, but they don’t bring much to the table overall here and just stick to the only personality traits we’ve seen them display in this story.
Yes officers, just let that 70’s pop star go through and solve this problem.
Kieron Gillen’s writing is better in areas this time around, but still exhibits its problems. The pacing is faster in areas, but still fine and the same applies to the story flow and transitions — which are both handled well. The dialogue is alright to a certain extent — there’s not as much contrived, unrealistic, and trying-too-hard-to-be-hip sounding dialogue spoken by the characters as there was in previous issues — though there’s still some of that present from time to time that’s enough to elicit an eye roll or two (plus a speech that pretty much recaps what we the audience already know and honestly seems like it should have the opposite effect of what the person wants).
The ending is potentially solid depending on where the story goes from here. The weakest aspect of the book remains the whole music angle. The comic is just not doing much with it at this point to the point where I’m wondering “why bother having it to begin with?” Why not just cut it out and just have the gods appear and people just worship/go nuts over them because of that if you are not going to explore or use the concept of gods = music stars more thoroughly?
The artwork really gets to shine here for once since artist Jamie McKelvie finally gets a chance to stretch himself. There’s a lot of energy, action, and intensity to the imagery in the book and it’s all very impressive. The characters and layouts, again, do look fine. However, some of the character expressions can be rather on the weak side and don’t really properly convey what they are feeling (dull surprise at some points), even in the more shocking moments of the book.
My glowy Photoshop powers will convince you that I love you!
Is It Good?
The Wicked + The Divine #5 is a mixed bag of a conclusion for the first arc; the story finally got that kick in the butt it needed and pushed the arc forward into a big and shocking conclusion — one which left a big impression.
The problem, however, is the title still suffers a lot in the character department and a bit in the writing department as well. There are certainly ways that this comic could improve and get better as time goes on (I mean, look at the jump in score between the previous issue and this), but at the moment, the praise it has been getting has not yet been earned or warranted. Maybe in the next arc if the comic can keep up this recent momentum it built my opinion will be swayed.