In this issue of The Wicked + The Divine, the focus is on Woden, and we learn the depths of just how evil he is. Is it good?
The Wicked + The Divine #14 (Image Comics)
The issue opens with Woden speaking to someone, telling them he thinks he knows what’s going to happen now that Tara is dead. The rest of the issue is rehashing the events of previous issues, but with an important twist – Woden has been Ananke’s right hand man the entire time. And oh what events those have been.
We’ve known since Laura’s death that Ananke has her own agenda, but we now know that Ananke’s involvement goes all the way back to the beginning. Ananke killed the judge, not Luci. The full extent of her involvement is summed up in this panel:
Woden helps lure in Cassandra to Ananke, helps clean up after Laura’s murder, always doing Ananke’s bidding, though chafing all the while at his lack of power.
In the last panels, we see who he’s been talking to this entire issue—someone he promises to protect, someone who may or may not be Laura.
Is It Good?
As we suspected, Woden is an even bigger ass than we ever could have expected. Gillen brilliantly chooses to use the issue which features our powerless DJ/producer-inspired god to remix panels from previous issues in with new images, revealing Woden and Ananke’s involvement in the chaos that’s been ensuing since Ragnarok. The one thing we don’t know is what Ananke’s grand plan is—why kill of the gods now, start a war between them when they only have two years on Earth at a time?
But oh Woden. What a conniving, ultimately empty excuse for a being you are. Did he have this much of a lack of humanity before he ascended to godhood or has he always given fuck-all for people? It starts with his posturing to Cassandra about how he’s not transphobic and totally knows how bad women have had it through history, but man, everyone has it bad! We’re all serfs and no one’s life is ultimately worth shit.
Cassandra sums it up: “You’re not stupid, are you. Just evil.” He’s nihilism personified and Ananke’s smackdown in the reverse style of the ascension to godhood reinforces his belief. Though even he can be shocked from time to time; I wonder if Tara’s death has affected him more than he’s letting on, besides it confirming what he suspects Ananke’s plan is.
The most shocking moment for me was the use of the panels from the issue of Sex Criminals that featured a Wicked + Divine porn parody. In that comic, it was light and funny, a wink to those who read both books. McKelvie inserting Woden, making him an observer, and the subtle changes like the blankness in the women’s eyes, turn the scene horrifying. It made me incredibly uncomfortable to look at and I read through those panels as quickly as possible.
McKelvie and the colorer Matt Wilson really own this issue. We’re not only hearing Woden’s word, but we are literally seeing how he sees, with the digital artifacts and screen effects on each panel like we are seeing through a computer screen. Wilson even flattens out the colors, tilts them just off so that they appear to be digitally changed.
So now we know. Ananke has a plan and someone else is going to die and soon. But who and who the mysterious other helmeted figure is, we’ll hopefully find out next month.