The Wicked + The Divine #3 by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
This was The Wicked + The Divine’s make-or-break issue as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been reading Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie’s latest collaboration since issue #1 came out, but it’s never gotten its hooks into me. The idea of reincarnated popstar gods is a clever concept and the art is beautiful and bright, but there’s no-one in this story to like or invest in.
The protagonist is a surly teen about whom we’re told almost nothing and thus we have no real reason to care about her, and the supposedly glamourous popstar gods she loves and wants to be like come across as self-absorbed wankers. We’re not given or shown any reason to think they’re amazing, just the word of said surly teen protagonist. For a comic ostensibly about musicians, there’s precious little actual music – performed or otherwise – on its pages.
The pace at which the parallel mysteries of who these popstar gods are and who made the judge’s head explode in issue #1 are revealed is glacial. This may be intended to be mysterious and alluring, but it feels opaque and evasive. Even McKelvie’s art seems somehow static – merely a greatest hits of stock stances and facial expressions that have been seen many times before in places like the Phonogram comics and Young Avengers, which is often a risk that comic artists with signature styles face – artists with distinctive styles like John Byrne, Dave Gibbons, Alan Davis and Frank Quitely have also become kind of samey over the years.
I won’t be picking up issue #4 – this series has failed to deliver on the pre-release hype related to it being the first creator-owned collaboration between Gillen & McKelvie since the brilliant and vivacious Phonogram: The Singles Club, in comparison to which it comes across as woodenly pretentious.
Then again, maybe I’m just too old to get it.
Grab The Wicked + The Divine from your local comic store or digitally from Image Comics.