The Wicked + the Divine, volume 3 opens shortly after the events of volume two, wherein our protagonist Laura, (spoiler alert) was awoken as the goddess Persephone and then quickly silenced by Ananke. Since our main protagonist seems to have been sent to the underworld for what we can only assume is the time being, this volume reads quite differently from the first two volumes.
I will be the first to admit that anthologies are not my cup of tea, so when I found out that volume three of The Wicked + the Divine was not a continuation of the main storyline, but instead a series of single issues devoted to different members of the pantheon, I was less than excited. While The Wicked + the Divine is normally a tightly-plotted ship, this volume is much different from the previous two. It is still written by Kieron Gillen, but here he is joined by a multitude of guest artists including Kate Brown, Tula Lotay, Stephanie Hans, Leila del Duca, and Brandon Graham instead of his usual co-conspirator Jamie McKelvie. Since each issue focuses on a different god and has a different artist crafting their tale, the story seems jumpier than the consistent and gripping beauty of the first two volumes.
The gods and goddesses that are focused on in this volume include Inanna, Beth, Tara, Woden, Amaterasu, The Morrigan, Baphomet, and Sakhmet. I think that some of the issues work better than others. The Morrigan and Baphomet issue explains a few things about the plot. Other issues merely highlight the personal history of some of the gods as they attempt to deal with the fallout from recent events, but this all comes without a whole lot of weight. In fact, even the choice of which gods to highlight is very interesting and rather random, unless these gods will end up being important in later volumes.
If you are looking for the brisk storyline of the previous two volumes, you won’t find that here. The art is also not up to its usual standard and instead jumps styles, artists, and colorists between issues without consistency. Some issues are a vibrant water color style; others have a dull sepia toned consistency along with flat character portrayals. Jamie McKelvie draws one page at the end of each issue with his regular colorist Matt Wilson and they are the highlight of each issue.
This storyline is only for fans of the series who really want to know everything about the characters. It will appeal to teens and adults who enjoy the Wicked + the Divine with its continued portrayal of the gods as hard living teens and early twenty year olds. If, however, you are here merely for Laura’s story and the mystery of Ananke, then you can skip everything except issue 14 and the very last page of issue 17. This is a recommended purchase only for institutions who are continuing to get the series.
The Wicked + the Divine, vol. 3: Commercial Suicide
by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles
Image Comics, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: Adult