"The Wicked + The Divine" #10 pulls multiple elements of the "Fandemonium" arc together, as Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie take recent events to their logical conclusion. Just because we now know who killed Lucifer doesn't mean that everything is hunky dory for our characters -- not by a long shot.
Cassandra's transformation into Urdr of the Norns meant that, logically, the question of who killed Lucifer should have instantly been resolved. Sure enough, that's exactly what Gillen does. After all, when the three Norse Fates are part of the Pantheon, those sort of moments should be instantly cast bare. What's great about how this is handled, though, is the deliberate deflation of both and the reader's expectations. There's no big flourish of reveal, no continual hunting, no character who's been a suspect (or at least a presence) all along. Instead, it's simply laid out on the table and we're given a revelation that -- on some level -- is almost disappointing. Except, really, that's life.
Of course, there's a lot more going on. In many ways, the death of Lucifer and the investigation seems to almost serve as a distraction for what's going on within the Pantheon. Baphomet and the Morrigan's machinations are simmering just out of reach and, as we see all too well this month, their plans are rumbling forward even as everyone else is too busy worrying about what's already happened instead of what's still to come. When that moment does occur, it takes almost all of them unaware. Except, once again, Gillen has thought this through and uses the different members of the Pantheon to a logical conclusion. The one member who absolutely would have seen this coming does, and it pushes the issue forward into a cliffhanger that promises more danger just around the corner.
McKelvie's art looks great as ever. The scenes set in the Underground are a strong collaboration between him and colorist Matthew Wilson, as they use minimal lines and outlines of characters that fade into the blackness that surrounds them. The characters look almost like strips of construction paper set together to create a full form, even though McKelvie and Wilson are doing as much with what we can't see to fill in the gaps. It's a masterful work, using just the right colors and shapes to make it dark, creepy and striking.
McKelvie clearly understands when less is more, like when Urdr and her fellow Norns stop the riot by broadcasting the truth. The stark black and white stands out by how it frames the characters, and the sudden visual shift from the previous page to this one is almost a reset switch to the reader's eyes. Considering that what Urdr and company are doing is a similar reset button being pressed in the heads of all those in the crowd, this is hardly a coincidence. When you compare the silhouettes on that page to the gentle, clean figures on all of the previous pages, it's a reminder just how much control McKelvie has on the page.
"The Wicked + The Divine" #10 is another satisfying installment to a good series, and readers should be on proper tenterhooks for the conclusion to the story arc next issue. What's going to happen? Your guess, I suspect, is as good as mine. Gillen and McKelvie delight in pulling the rug out from under the readership, even as they do so in logical, reasonable ways. It's part of what makes "The Wicked + The Divine" so much fun. Here's to the conclusion and then the next story arcs to come.