Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie deliver a second gorgeous issue to their exciting new creator owned series "The Wicked + The Divine." The wild events of the first issue crash together with deeper plots, additional origin story and a magnificent cliffhanger that will leave readers anxious for the next piece of the puzzle.
Gillen and McKelvie introduce The Morrigan and more importantly, the new "king of the underground" with absolutely masterful precision. It's a clever sleight of hand that builds stakes effortlessly and establishes the power of a character without ever mentioning him and before he even appears, simply by building up the character he usurps.
Even beyond the fantastic ending, Gillen's prose is, as always, crisp and pretty, insightful and precise. A great example of style and substance in excellent harmony. The other strength of this series so far is just the wonderful creativity in its approach to characters. The thinking is gloriously out of the box on each of these characters -- most especially Gillen and McKelvie's take on Lucifer who is funny and smart, deliciously complex and (of course) both wicked and divine. Making her a gorgeous androgynous blonde in all white is just the inspired icing on the cake.
McKelvie has of course become known for his gorgeous and innovative storytelling and this book is no exception. There are several pages in this issue that are single beautiful images on black with floating text, which feels more like an illustrated book than a comic book, but not in a bad way. It works for the story and has the desired effect, though it's not as effective as some other visual storytelling choices McKelvie has made in the past.
The one frustration is that the book is a bit confusing, though I think deliberately so. The creators have no interest in babysitting. They want you to work for it. They throw you into the deep end of the pool and it's sink or swim: reader's choice. I appreciate the ballsy-ness of that decision and it's certainly a stronger choice than over-working (and over-narrating), but slightly more clarity wouldn't have hurt and might have made and unforgettable experience out of an already highly enjoyable one. "The Wicked + The Divine" is a complicated and confusing world in part because it is so innovative and out of the box. A tiny bit of hand-holding when it comes to world building, rules, and so many new characters, wouldn't be a bad thing.
With "The Wicked + The Divine," Gillen and McKelvie have delivered a creator owned book that so effortlessly represents their creative synergy in the best of ways. Their years of working together creating fantastic books was only a prelude to this stunning crescendo that has built to this moment. I cannot wait to see what else they do with it.