In this special issue of The Wicked + The Divine, we get a glimpse at what a previous pantheon was like. Is it good?
The Wicked + The Divine: 1831 (Image Comics)
Gillen uses the story of the gathering of Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron at Lake Geneva to reveal what the end of a previous pantheon was like.
Rome, 1831: Hades of the Pantheon lies dying in a bed, and Ananke stands over him, holding a knife. The action moves to a villa in Lake Geneva, where Inanna, Lucifer, Woden, and Morrigan are gathered, supposedly spending their night telling ghost stories to entertain each other, but more likely to distract that they are the last of the pantheon left alive.
Inanna is the lead character, and she, like Woden of the present, is working with Ananke to a larger purpose. But what that is, she doesn’t reveal. Ananke does change the tone of the evening when Lucifer reveals that she has brought him Hades’ hand, which he and Morrigan use to bring Hades back from the dead. But it isn’t Hades who returns, but something stranger, a creature, something the pantheon has created. That maybe still exists.
Is It Good?
First, I have to say that Stephanie Hans went above and beyond on this issue. Her art is not only incredibly beautiful and powerful, but perfectly suited to the Romantic setting of the issue. Her use of light and shadows, the incredible sense of unease she creates through the angles she views the characters through. It’s truly fantastic.
I want this as a print.
Gillen builds an intriguing story around a masterful riff on the Lake Geneva creation of Frankenstein. He builds a standalone story, but one that gives us insight into the current events of the Pantheon. Present Woden isn’t the only god working for Ananke and torn up about it, and the 1831 deaths may or may not be as premature as the ones in the current group. I loved all the little details and almost exact quotes he took from reports of the vacation, but gives them twists to suit the story he’s telling.
It was kind of a mind flip seeing the gods incarnated as completely different people, and it took a few pages to get my brain around which god was which in this incarnation. I could see similarities in the gods past and present, but also some stark differences.
There were two pieces of info that were particularly intriguing to me: one, that gods can be pregnant and have children after they receive their powers. And the second, the creature that the gods created. I think there’s an excellent chance we will see this creature again.