Finally, The Wicked + The Divine pulled it together.
Well, sort of.
As many of you know, my principle complaint about the first two volumes of The Wicked + The Divine have been plot related. Beautiful artwork, but wow, convoluted and unclear plot development. Too many characters, insufficient linkages between them all. An amount of confusion such that in order to follow along, one must read and re-read more times than one would like.
Volume 3: Commercial Suicide takes The Wicked + The Divine in a different direction.
Part of this is seemingly motivated by a huge change in the artists involved. While the previous two volumes included a central team of artists, letterers and writers, Volume 3: Commercial Suicide encompasses the work of six unique artists – one for each of the issues released.
The result could have been a very disjointed collection – yet it wasn’t.
Instead, the team smartly parceled out backstories of the different characters (so vitally needed in a series that was moving too quickly with too many characters to really stay on top of what was going on). Each individual artist took on a core character, and built a narrative and artwork around that individual character’s perspective.
The volume starts from Baal’s perspective – still reeling from the death of Inanna and attempting to track down Baphomet. Then issue two moves swiftly to Tara’s perspective, exploring her history and transformation into a god. Woden, Amaterasu, Morrigan, Baphomet, and Sakhmet each get a similar treatment as the issue progresses.
The application of a different artist for each back story does a few things which are pretty awesome.
First, it creates a concrete articulation of each god’s perspective. The artwork seems to suit the individual, and make it a great fit.
Second, it draws a helpful difference between gods. Part of the overwhelm of The Wicked + The Divine has been that there are way too many characters, and with them all being gods, they kind of tend to run together a bit. The clear perspective helped each character speak with their own voice in a new way.
Ultimately, I think that this is the best volume of The Wicked + The Divine so far. I almost wish that they’d paused after volume one to provide some of this background information. It would have helped connect the dots more, and draw more of a connection between the reader and the characters.
How long should it really take to understand the characters in a graphic series?
Pick up a copy from this link and we’ll make pennies!