Oh hi, you’re probably wondering what I’m doing posting a review for an old issue of a comic. You see, I’ve decided that it’s time to save all of my reviews from my time at PopOptiq from the website that is just a hollow shell of its former self. Y’see, when the website changed EICs a little more than a year ago, the new editor decided he wanted to make the website more like Buzzfeed and then proceeded to fire most of the staff. He then also claimed copyright ownership of our work.
Well, I know I never signed a contract with you or the previous EIC that said that was okay and my name is on the byline, so…
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie
Colors by Matt Wilson and Dee Cunniffe
Published by Image Comics, Inc.
Taking the concept of having a DJ god to a new level, Gillen and McKelvie deliver an issue using mostly previously used art and remixed it to get inside the head of Woden, the actual worst member of the Pantheon. In this issue, we learn that he’s the lapgod of Ananke and confirms she really is as evil as the readers thought she was. Maybe even more so.
Just as wicked as her, is the focal piece Woden. After the last issue featuring the tragic story of Tara, I was worried that Woden was going to suddenly be treated as sympathetic in that way that the treatment of Grant Ward made Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D infuriating to watch all of last season.
In the structure of the story, Gillen and McKelvie use similar structure to issue #13, getting inside Woden’s head and having him be the narrator of his own story and making you feel kind of complicit in his actions. However, instead of being the sympathetic tragedy of Tara and the commentary of pop star martyrdom, it was like taking a trip inside the head of a Redditor with godlike powers and the fame of a superstar DJ. By the end, you feel like you need to take a shower from just how awful being in that hot seat feels. There’s even one stomach-churning scene where Team WicDiv finally gets their revenge on Team Sex Criminals for The Licked + The Divine as Woden gets off on images of Luci and Amaterasu, but it’s not anything that you would have expected. What makes Woden’s attitude and treatment of women even worse is knowing that there will be some reader out there who looks at what he’s saying and doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with it.
While the issue does mostly use previously created art with really only two pages of new art, it still feels kinetic. With creative use of color and glitches, not only do we get a look inside of Woden’s head in the words, we get to see it visually as well. Everything around him and his memories is a remix. It feels jumpy and unsettling and takes unreliable narration to a new level. It’s hard not to imagine Woden as the kind of DJ who likes to mess with his audience, delaying a bass drop or mixing in J-Pop with some deep house track because he thinks it’s funny. Even with the disgust in sinking into Woden’s mentality, the issue warrants multiple reads to process the art and catch where it was all previously used.
The end of the issue leaves off on a cliffhanger that’s going to leave the fandom that inspired the look of this issue speculating for a while. With no definitive answers and a look into the head of Ananke’s number one, the scent of betrayal is definitely lingering around. Or is that just the smell from Woden’s leather?
Not shying away from experimentation or just how awful Woden is as a person, Gillen and McKelvie bring forth another stellar issue of The Wicked + The Divine that solves a few mysteries and yanks back the curtain on two of the most mysterious members of the Pantheon, and the use of recycled and remixed art adds a clever touch on telling the story from the DJ’s perspective, even if he is the actual worst god-human alive. To paraphrase Cassandra, he’s not stupid, he’s just evil, and thankfully, this issue isn’t trying to make excuses for him. It just goes to show that just because you’re a douche doesn’t mean you’re going to be tragic.