The Wicked + The Divine: 455 AD #1 (Image Comics)
Speaking of series I love…
The Wicked + the Divine is a hot holy mess of a mythology, a blending of gods and monsters with some interesting things to say about faith, humanity, and belief. The main story takes place in the modern era and features a world where mortals are chosen to be gods every ninety years or so. The catch is that they only live for two years before dying, but during that time they have the powers of whatever god is incarnating through them.
We’ve had a number of revelations since then about the nature of these gods and their cycle, what it is they’re fighting and what’s going on behind the scenes. We’ve dealt with themes of sexuality and appropriation and delicious blasphemy, of being endless and young and dead all at once. This is one of those comics that shows off the strength of the genre as a whole, so when writer Kieron Gillen decides he wants to go back and explore eras lost, we follow.
In this case, we’re going back to Rome.
Rome holds a weird place in history as told by western civilization – they were slave-owners who went out and conquered other peoples and, later, spread the faith of Christianity while destroying other cultures, faiths, and works of art. Roman culture is one of colonialism and their legacy is as much about horror as civilization, given their horrible views on, well, everyone. They were not a good people, even by the context of modern western morality.
Still, so many western viewpoints extol the virtues of Rome, the glory of Rome, the grandeur of Rome. Here, we have Lucifer refusing to fiddle while Rome burns, Kieron come to vandalize popular history the same way he vandalized mythology and turned it into something great. He’s also brought along Andre Araujo to handle art duties this time around, which should lend itself well to the temporal shift.
Of special note: for those of you, like me, that collect trades but not individual issues, this issue will not be included in forthcoming trades. Get it here or miss it forever. My recommendation, as noted by this review: get it now.