Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Popular Gods

So I just finished volume 1 of The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, which was pretty great. It's a graphic novel about 12 teenagers who gain the mantle of gods every 90 years (the gods come from different pantheons, and they often change each recurrence). After 2 years of 'being loved and being hated' these young gods all must die for unknown reasons. Then the cycle begins anew.

 Each god has powers pertaining to their mythology, and some gods with multiple incarnations/interpretations have multiple forms.Usually, said gods become celebrities or pop stars, because how could they not. So there's some commentary on the nature of fame in addition to the genre staples of power and responsibility, which is a brilliant contrast to the secret world approach that is ubiquitous in Urban Fantasy. It is tremendously refreshing to see UF that breaks away from the typical "I'm discovering my powers," or "I'm a monster slaying detective" molds.

 Have Wikipedia handy, because I've got pretty strong mythology game and there were plenty of references I didn't recognize. Conversely, I worried that I would miss too many of the musical references to really enjoy the series, since tunes are my pop-cultural blind spot (particularly stuff before the nineties), but I feel like I got most of them since Gillen plays it safe with references to Bowie, the Stones and the Beatles.

McKelvie's character designs are stupid gorgeous, and Matt Wilson brings some of the most vibrant colors out of anything I have ever read. It was a very nice contrast to David Aja's more subtle and abstract (but also phenomenal) approach in Hawkeye, which I also just finished up--I'm going to miss that one, even if it meant the occasional year or half-year wait between volumes. Should be mandatory reading for people who enjoy superhero books, even if you 'only read DC'.

Anyway, back to TW+TD, the only flaw it has is the main character suffers from looking glass syndrome, almost to the point of self-parody but that looks to be changing in the next volume. The first one ends with a bang, so I'm very curious to see where things go from here. Mythology folks and UF fans should check this one out.

It's nice to have a new ongoing to read now that The Unwritten, Hawekeye, and Locke & Key have all wrapped. Anybody have any other new recommendations?

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