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The Wicked + The Divine #34 review: A new arc brings one big answer and a bunch of new questions

WicDiv heads off its new arc with the creation myth of the gods and character contemplation of their new reality.

Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson
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A new arc heads off with the creation myth of the gods and character contemplation of their new reality. Is it good?

In the last issue, Gillen gave readers a heads-up (I’m so sorry, but I had to) that major revelations were coming and this issue delivers. The new arc, “Mothering Invention,” in the first pages clarifies a massive mystery – how the gods came to be. 6000 years ago, Ananke and her sister were powerful shaman women, who created the system of the gods as we know it, ensuring themselves immortality along with it. 

Fast forward to the present, Cassandra and Laura are still trapped with David’s son Jon, or at least his head, in the god trap. Cass is horrified that she’s spent six months trying to discover the secret of Ananke’s machine, all for seemingly nothing. Laura is struggling with all her past actions, and that she still has one more secret to reveal.

Meanwhile, Woden is using the tracking devices he gave Baal and Minerva, and realizes there is far more going on than even his machinations.

Is It Good?

The Wicked + The Divine, the comic that pays off in answers that feel like a kick in the stomach, but in a good way. Though since this is The Wicked + The Divine, the answers just open up a zillion more questions. As Gillen said in the afterword, “WicDiv hurts our thinky bits.”

Getting the creation story of the gods was absolutely fascinating, especially as it’s framed as a game between the creators. I reread those pages at least three times, following the machinations between the sisters, and tying that back to the current pantheon. I loved how it tied into storytelling culture of ancient peoples, and into classic archetypes, like the maiden, mother, crone.

The rest of the issue is more contemplative, which gives you a nice chance to catch your breath. Though we are immediately taken into Laura’s internal monologue…or is it? Is she the good sister, trapped forever in a tangle of reincarnations to keep her sister’s evil from destroying everything? If yes, is part of her aware of that fact now? Will we get a reunion between her and Lucifer, now that we know at least part of her is alive? 

I’m also intrigued by the Norns, and how with Cass stuck behind the god trap bars they are stripped of their powers. Can all the gods be reversed if they wanted? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

As per usual, Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson work magic to bring this world to life. This issue gives McKelvie a chance to move through a lot of facial expressions — I especially liked Laura’s progression as she has her internal chat, and Cass’s emotional breakdown. I wonder how long it’s been since Cass had a good cry. Matt Wilson gets to play with a wide range of palettes, going from the warm tones of the desert scenes in the beginning to the colder, technical hues of Woden’s trap. I especially love the teals of Laura’s hair against the green of the bars.

Clayton Cowles also doesn’t get enough credit for the unique lettering he does in every issue. Each god has a unique style of lettering and they make such an impact, especially how he connects them to the god’s particular design style.

As we head into the final year of the comic, I know more answers will come and I trust the WicDiv team to make them worth the wait both and causing plenty of tears.

The Wicked + The Divine #34
Is it good?
The team wisely starts the new arc with a bang, then settles in to character work.
Stellar work by the art team, particulary Matt Wilson's colors with the starkly different environments.
Shout out to master letter Clayton Cowles, who does stellar and underappreciated work in every issue.

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