The Wicked + The Divine 1373 (One-Shot)
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist / Variant Cover: Ryan Kelly
Cover: Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: September 26, 2018
I had a chance to read a The Wicked + The Divine 1373 (one-shot) over the weekend and I’ve got to say, I love my job.
If you’re not familiar with the on-going series from Image Comics, the story follows “The Pantheon,” a group of 12 gods that are reincarnated every 90 years in cycle called the Recurrence.” The caveat is they will die within two years and the 90 year cycle continues.
As of this writing there have been 39 singles issues. Further, December 5, 2018 the final arc begins so you’d better get caught up quick if you don’t want any spoilers from your buddies!
This is particular book, The Wicked + The Divine 1373, is the final one-shot in the series of historical specials and it’s a masterful piece of work.
The Transubstantiation of Lucifer… [tells] the story of penitent nun Lucifer hearing the confession of penitent murderer Ananke. Yes, everyone will be sorry.
The story takes place in 1373, twenty-two years since the Black Death ravaged the people of Europe and two years after the Recurrence of 1371.
The gods are dead, save Lucifer—reincarnated as a nun—who hears the confession of Ananke.
Readers who aren’t familiar with the premise of The Wicked + The Divine might feel a little lost reading this book but let’s be honest: it’s not geared towards those readers.
(Full disclosure: I haven’t read this series before now but a quick primer on the internet and I had the gist—I will definitely be catching up with this series.)
The Wicked + The Divine 1373: Dark, Yet is Shines a Light of Truth
Gillen spins a dark tale. A tale that after reading might encourage readers to confesses their sins to friends, priests, or more likely their bartender.
Without revealing too much of the story, even gods feel the need to confess their misdeeds even if they aren’t really sorry. In truth, they want—they need—to be remembered.
It’s a reflection of real life. Death comes for us all but there’s some sense of immortality for those that history chooses to remember. Is that what Gillen was going for? I don’t know but that’s what was spinning through my head as I was reading.
Dark and Filthy: The Black Death’s Stage is Set
The inks and colors of Ryan Kelly and Matthew Wilson, respectively, match the tone of Gillen’s vision. It’s dark and filthy, just what you would expect from the setting of plague-ravaged Europe. As a matter of fact, I actually felt like I had to wash my hands after reading, you know, just in case!
It’s this dark, grimy tone that truly make Lucifer’s eyes pop out—the blood-red sclera and glowing yellow iris makes one feel like they are indeed looking in the eyes of the devil-incarnate. Effective and creepy.
As usual, I loved the lettering work of Clayton Cowles; his work is superb. As you read, you can hear the whispers, the shock in people’s voices, and the anger. And more often than not, it’s not a bold word or phrase that he uses to accomplish this feat; it’s the perfect placement and/or size of the word balloons. Cowles is at the top of his game in this book.
The Wicked + The Divine 1373 (one-shot): Final Thoughts
I’m an old-fashioned guy who still loves to read his favourite books the old-fashioned way: in my hands.
This is a book I will getting in hard-copy and if you like good storytelling with a meaningful message, The Wicked + The Divine 1373 is your kind of book.