Here’s the bad news: it isn’t advisable to come into “The Wicked + The Divine” #18 cold. But here’s the good news: that’s because Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie build on the previous 17 issues to bring you this explosive new chapter. Everything that’s been simmering up until now boils over into an intense new story arc.
As promised, “The Wicked + The Divine” #18 gives us Persephone’s first public concert, and it’s even more of a doozy than one could have imagined. When we got our first look at Persephone at the end of the second story arc, Gillen was careful to give us just enough information to know how bad this is, but not overload us right from the start. In many ways, this series has shifted away from her perspective, and this issue maintains that even though she’s finally back in the story. That’s a good thing; by showing readers these events from the perspective of characters like Ananke and Wodan, Gillen and McKelvie drop the surprises with no warning, even as we start to see the battle lines being drawn.
It’s also a real pleasure to see how Gillen and McKelvie built some of these characters up to this moment. Minerva is a prime example; she’s never been a main character up until now, hovering on the sides in a way that made a lot of readers nervous about her eventual fate. Here, we see Minerva finally start to move things into motion on her own, and — considering she’s the goddess of wisdom — readers know they will have very big repercussions. There are surprises galore here, but it’s also eminently re-readable; the fun isn’t just in the shocks, but in seeing everything play out like clockwork.
It’s a joy to see McKelvie drawing “The Wicked + The Divine” again; he gives the characters not just fluid grace, but a continually sharp sense of style. I love seeing Persephone’s clothing in particular, now that he has provided a better view of her overall look. It’s fun and flashy and distinct, and every little piece of it moves when she does. Best of all is seeing Persephone’s abilities burst to life; the title has been light on the godly powers (despite the obvious nature of these characters), and seeing her whipping them out left and right is exhilarating as it unfolds on the page. It’s brash and bold, and McKelvie (with the help of ace colorist Matthew Wilson) makes these moments both explosive and eye-catching.
There’s a lot of Persephone’s story still be told, but Gillen and McKelvie tease out just enough that it’s clear there’s a lot more than meets the eye going on here. I have no idea where we’re going next, but I’m dying to see. “The Wicked + The Divine” #18 is divinely fun, but it’s wicked we have to wait a month for the next chapter.