In part 2 of the Imperial Phase, the pantheon is split and reeling from Sahkmet’s rampage and the reality of the Great Darkness. Is it good?
All the members of the pantheon are discovering Sahkmet’s bloody ending to Amaterasu’s orgy, and dealing with the fallout. Baal gathers the gods to search for Sahkmet, but isn’t losing sight of the bigger picture – the Great Darkness is still a threat, and so teaching Minerva to kill is a necessity to protecting her. Baal sends Persephone, Cassandra, and Dionysus to try and convince the Morrigan to join them if the Great Darkness attacks again, but she is still furious at Persephone for sleeping with Baph, and won’t let the group see him either. Morrigan also forces Cassandra to reveal that she did have a choice in turning her crew into Norns with her.
Persephone leaves and tries to ignore her problems, but she can’t escape them, even in her own lair.
Is it Good?
So we enter the second disc of the double-sided album that is the Imperial Phase and things are not looking good. Baal is still fighting, still believing that the pantheon isn’t broken beyond repair, and determined that they are going to survive and win. Baal was never one of the gods who really captured me, but his trying to hold on to leadership and true caring about the members of the pantheon struck me through these issues. He’s not always in right, but the fact he’s going to keep fighting until he physically can’t resonated with me.
More and more you see how the gods still retain so much of who they were before they were turned. Laura was directionless as a teenage fan, and is still restless, unsatisfied, and making terrible choices, and is unapologetic for those choices. She’s a very difficult character to like, though man, do I know a lot of Lauras.
This is a slower issue in terms of story, but I like that the team allows these issues for character moments. We see how Laura is spinning, but also seeing how long her history is with Sahkmet, setting up how that is going to affect her ability to turn on her. I love Minerva, and her moments working with Baal not only reveal his softer side, but also remind you that she is the goddess of wisdom.
Not to forget the art, McKelvie and Wilson have some phenomenal moments in this issue. I love that they always find places to play and do something different, even in the quieter issues. In particular, I loved the flashback to the first time Laura experienced Baal and Sahkmet’s power.
I love the different textures McKelvie uses in the backgrounds of each, and the way their power manifests, and Wilson’s colors are just insane. Absolutely breathtaking.
Also shoutout to Clayton Cowles’ lettering – it’s easy to forget how much lettering matters in comics, but Cowles does so many interesting things with his lettering, from Dionysus’s glowing letters, to Persephone’s inner thoughts. High-fives to him on a job well-done and often overlooked.
So much of this issue is the gods realizing yet again that there is fallout to their actions and that even with Ananke gone, they are each individually dangerous. Once again, they have to deal with one of their own, and I have a feeling we are going to see more of this leading up to the Norns show and the revelation of Ananke’s machine.