It seems like every single issue in this arc has made me want to start my review by cursing, and since this is the final issue I’m going to do it. Holy. Shit.
But is it good?
The Wicked + The Divine #22 (Image Comics)
The action continues from where the last issue left off, mid-battle. Amaterasu manages to get to the Norns, who manage to get back and convince the two sides to come together and try and stop Ananke from sacrificing Minerva. And Woden shows that he is the ultimate piece of shit by staging things so he can cover his own ass while giving the gods the opening they need to get through his defenses.
There’s not much more I can say without major spoilers, so I’m going to move on to the question: Is it good? And beware, beyond there WILL be spoilers, but I will try my best to only give away the bare minimum. Deal?
Is It Good?
I swear, Kieron Gillen’s goal in this series is to torture his readers. But to be fair, he warned us from the very beginning with the description of the book: none of these characters is going to make it out alive. The gods have an end date and nothing can change that…that we know. And nothing has been what it seemed at face value. But the brilliance of this creative team is their ability to convince us again and again that maybe THIS time, in THIS instance, we know what’s coming. And we get smacked in the face by the truth every time.
“Moral ambiguity” is the watch phrase of this arc and, I think it’s fair to say, of the entire series, especially judging by the notes in the letters section. Was Laura justified in her actions at the end of the book? Obviously she’s caused a massive problem: the remaining pantheon will never know if Ananke was telling the truth about the Great Darkness, and they have no way of knowing it even is now, or how they could fight it on their own if it was actually real. Was Ananke just tired, old, and jaded and ready to end it all so she could escape her endless existence? I have to say, I wasn’t surprised by Laura’s actions – she’s been impulsive and driven by her gut feelings from the beginning, but I do wish for once cooler heads could have prevailed.
This isn’t an easy book to read, but god (no pun intended) is it satisfying to read. I find myself holding my breath as I speed through each issue, because I cannot wait to know what is going to happen. I have to slow myself down, because Jamie McKelvie’s art and Matt Wilson’s colors deserve to be thoroughly taken in. I’m glad to see they gave Matt another chance to color as many glowing things in each panel as he could.
The tease of the upcoming special issue is something readers have been waiting a long time for: seeing a previous pantheon. I have a feeling we are going to get more glimpses of Ananke’s plan set in motion even in 1831, though it’s focusing on a single night in time. And when the series picks back up with the new arc, I cannot think of a better artist to join the team for an issue than Kevin Wada. He’s going to fit in perfectly and I can’t wait to see how his style and McKelvie’s play off each other.
Fuck, this book is good.