Monday, April 27, 2020

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen

Come for the art, stay for the LGBT+ fan-service. I honestly wasn't sure about what to expect with THE WICKED + THE DIVINE. Half my friends loved it, half my friends hated it. I'm in Team Loved It but I can definitely see why it isn't for everyone. It's messy, it's shallow, it's weird, it's violent, it's mean...

But it works.

X meets Y descriptions are so overdone, but this is literally like American Gods meets Jem and the Holograms. Every 90 years, the gods reincarnate as humans but then they only live two years before dying again. Why? Who knows. It's tragic. The end. And what better way for a god to be worshipped in the modern age than to play at being a pop star? One only needs look at footage from a Taylor Swift or BTS concert to see the quasi-religious mania.

Our biracial heroine, Laura, is fascinated by the gods. She starts out at a concert for the embodiment of Amaterasu, where she's spotted by Lucifer and given a VIP tour of the back, only to end up being witness to a murder that ends up landing her in a court where she witnesses another murder.

Lucifer gets blamed and Laura is determined to see her freed, but her interviews with the other gods-- with the help of a nosy and well-meaning trans reporter named Cassandra (uh oh)-- end up going... badly. Because the gods have basically become jaded as fuck and they don't really give a shit about what happens to Lucifer as long as she doesn't make trouble and spoiler their 2-year debauchery stint.

And that's... basically the plot.

This book reminded me of a theistic version of the Fables series, which is a lot like this, only with fairytale and folkloric characters. I definitely liked the music element and the outrageous costumes, especially since Lucifer looks like a female David Bowie. One of them dresses like Freddie Mercury, and Baal was dressed like a rapper. YG wore a red suit and chain a lot like his, actually.

I really enjoyed this book, especially since one of my own books has a trans character named Cassandra (only this one is an actual prophet)-- that little bit of random similarity made me smile. The diversity rep was amazing and the art was exquisite. I think the story is confusing but if you just go in with zero expectations and roll with the punches, it'll probably be more fun for you. This book is violent and sexual, though, so if that's an issue for you, you might want to steer clear.

I, however, quite enjoyed it.

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

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