Page 45 Review by Stephen
"You are of the Pantheon.
"You will be loved.
"You will be hated.
"You will be brilliant.
"Within two years you will be dead."
In which we learn why - as the Pantheon dies only to be reincarnated every ninety years in a new body, a new aspect - ancient Ananke stays behind to find them and activate them; to guide and nurture them through their new, short life span and, if necessary, even keep the peace. If she didn't stay behind, all former knowledge would be lost.
Ananke's finally found the twelfth god. I'm afraid it isn't Laura.
In THE WICKED + THE DIVINE VOL 1: THE FAUST ACT we witnessed the latest, highly inclusive Recurrence of gods and goddesses cast themselves in a highly exclusive role - that of pop stars whom we place on pedestals in order to worship from afar.
The most wicked and divine of them, Lucifer, was targeted for assassination by a couple of gunmen. They failed: Luci blew their brains out with a click of her finger. Luci was put on trial but someone blew the judge's brains out. Then someone blew [SPOILERS] brains out.
This will blow your brains out.
Determined to disprove the existence of any Pantheon - to expose the mythology as a music marketing scam - is sceptical journalist Cassandra Igarashi. Determined to expose the killer is seventeen-year-old Laura, a fangirl who found herself on the inside, taken under louche Lucifer's ever-so-saucy wings and now granted access to the others.
Once she clicked her fingers and they lit a cigarette just like Lucifer. She's been trying to recreate the miracle ever since. Nothing's happened. Brockley, South London, on her way home, clicking her fingers disappointedly:
"I'm not a god.
"I was delusional to think I was. I was delusional to think I could be.
"Fuck you, Laura Wilson. Quitter. All I get is calluses? They'll be the best calluses in the world.
"I won't give up on Lucifer. I don't understand what happened. I will.
"I won't give up on any of them. They're all fucked up, all doomed. If all I can do is help them, I'll help them. No one gets a happy ending. So I'll make sure they get the least terrible one possible."
Unfortunately a lot of people are banking on the Prometheus gambit: kill a god to steal their powers. It doesn't work. But what if a god were to slay another god? Maybe they'd get their oh-so-limited lifespan? Two years is, after all, a very short time to shine...
From the creators of YOUNG AVENGERS and the two music-as-magic PHONOGRAM collections (PHONOGRAM III: THE IMMATERIAL GIRL #1 - please pre-order!), this is chic, sharp and thoroughly contemporary. And, as I say, highly inclusive. It's so inclusive that straight white males are scarce on the ground. If I were to detail exactly how inclusive it is then I would be giving for too much away, but it's typical of Gillen and McKelvie that, during a burst of black and white satori, a wheelchair user is amongst the crowd of silhouetted gig-goers on the receiving end. That shouldn't be remarkable, but it is.
In THE WICKED + THE DIVINE VOL 1: THE FAUST ACT I made much of Jamie McKelvie's line and Matthew Wilson's colour art and here in the back there are process pieces which will have you bewildered by just how much thought and work has gone into a double-page spread, for example, overlooking the Ragnock music festival.
Behind all the elaborate, sleek and sexy eye make-up designs and the spectacular Pantheon threads which have inspired so much cosplay (you will love Inanna's Prince regalia), there is an interest and understanding few other comic artists display of civilian fashion sense: what the best dressed are wearing today as well as the moms who are waiting up late for their errant offspring to get back from gigs.
McKelvie's Paul Smith-inspired line has long been this crisp but grows increasingly smooth and soft. Even Ananke's wizened wrinkles give the actual folded flesh a much moisturised feel.
As to Gillen, there are so many fundamentally thought-through observations about the human condition: our aspirations and our most superficial and deep-seated fears. Urdr's blinding flash of mass enlightenment is entirely consistent in its contradictions! Oh, and he knows the story a seventeen-year-old's bedroom tells.
Look, I can just keep on typing until this review falls off the edge of the virtual page but I risk running out of misdirections and actually giving stuff away. You know, like the climax. If I told you that I would sell an extra two hundred copies before you've finished reading this week's other reviews. Instead:
Ragnarok for our demi-gods and goddesses approaches. Ragnarock 2014 in Hyde Park, to be precise. 500,000 tickets sold for the five-day festival.
Kieron does love his puns, doesn't he? The thing is, they're never throwaway.
"You feel like you've got a raw deal."
"There is no one in this story who has not got a "raw deal"." says Ananke.
Still, I'm sure it's going to be okay.