Answers! We finally get some! Oh, and the 12th god shows up and s--t is starting to go down. Is it good?
The Wicked + The Divine #9 (Image Comics)
Gillen goes full tilt in this issue, giving us more info than the past three without sacrificing story or character.
Minerva is struggling with her mortality, when Baphomet bursts in on Ananke trying to comfort her. Minerva explodes at Baphomet, revealing her struggles with their limited time on Earth.
After she storms off, Ananke gets Baphomet to admit that he’s struggling with this too. In the first of many big reveals in this issue, Anake admits that while for a human the Prometheus gambit will never work, for a death god it just might.
Just as Baphomet is dealing with this blow, Cassandra bursts out, as she and her assistants have been filming this entire exchange, with Ananke’s blessing. Cassandra taunts Baphomet with something the fans have been wondering as well – Baphomet is a “fake” god, made up by Alistair Crowley. And more importantly in the W+D universe, there’s never been a Baphomet in previous pantheons. Very interesting.
Baphomet tries to hit Cassandra with some of his godly fire, but Ananke strikes him down and sends him on his way. She is ready to grant an interview about her past and true origins, how she fits in with the pantheon. And it’s quite a story.
MAJOR SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT:
Ananke has been alive since before civilization, before a few incarnations of civilization. As humanity began to fully rise and beat back the darkness that was repressing their rise, the gods were required to be amongst them.
Since the gods come and go, someone was needed to stay here, to guide them in each incarnation and Ananke took on that task. She also admits that she’s told this story once before, to author Robert Graves, who took her story and turned it into his poetic myth, “The White Goddess”.
Ananke’s duty is to find the gods and that the twelfth god is always the most difficult. And that’s when the major whammy of this issue happens: Cassandra is Urdr, the queen of the Norn, the three sisters of fate, and her assistants transform into the other two goddesses. Three in one.
To round out the issue, Baphomet is still lurking nearby and is not happy with Cassandra’s turn of events. And we end the issue with Laura, who arrives home in tears, saying she doesn’t know why, but something has gone wrong, as she stares at her once-sparky fingers.
Is It Good?
Holy moly, it’s hard to even process how much this world has changed in one issue. After a couple of issues that are high on action, Gillen delivers a huge punch to the gut.
I am fascinated by Ananke. I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard of “The White Goddess” until reading this issue, but a quick read of Wikipedia gave me this:
Graves proposes the existence of a European deity, the “White Goddess of Birth, Love and Death,” much similar to the Mother Goddess, inspired and represented by the phases of the moon, who lies behind the faces of the diverse goddesses of various European and pagan mythologies.
Graves argues that “true” or “pure” poetry is inextricably linked with the ancient cult-ritual of his proposed White Goddess and of her son.
That sentence about true poetry really struck me. Music and poetry are intrinsically tied to each other and the gods manifest themselves like rock stars. I think I’m going to have to put “The White Goddess” at the top of my to-read list.
Now we have a mythology within mythologies, layers within layers. Don’t forget, comics are for kids, folks.
So Cassandra is the twelfth god. I have to admit, I never saw that coming – this was as shocking to me as Lucifer’s death. I’m now very very interested to see Laura’s reaction when she finds out what’s happened.
The art in this issue isn’t as flashy as some, but it has some truly beautiful moments. Cassandra’s transformation as she’s falling down the page was incredibly striking.
McKelvie knows when to focus on the characters, and when to blow out to wildness. His pacing and Gillen’s perfectly mesh, making this a completely engrossing reading experience.