Review: The Wicked + The Divine #20
This particular issue of the ‘Rising Action’ arc of The Wicked + The Divine isn’t very heavy on the action, but I haven’t been this upset over an issue of straight talking since Woden revealed how evil he is in #14.
Persephone meets Cassandra in the garden where the life of Laura ended and reveals to her why she’s alive in the first place. Because there is no one else she trusts with the knowledge, and there is no one else who remembers her as Laura. Not just Laura who witnessed the death of Lucifer, but Laura the fangirl. The evolution of the relationship of Cassandra and Laura over the course of the series from “I don’t like [her]. But I do trust her” to now where Persephone allows Cassandra to feel her first miracle has been a slow and quiet one, but beautiful to witness all the same.
Through Persephone, Cassandra is shown the truth of the events the night Laura was “killed” as well as the true nature of Baphomet. Without spoiling the reveal of how Baphomet ascended, there’s something to be said about how this series deals with chosen names versus given names. Persephone has actively rejected being called Laura, while Cassandra still uses the name she gave herself pre-Godhood and Baphomet has two given names he’s rejected because he’s a nerd.
The subtitle of this issue is “The Mess We’re In.” While that is accurate, another subtitle could have easily been “Baphomet is not the lying jackass you thought he was.” Granted, he’s still a jackass, but the issue reveals the backstory behind every action of his that’s happened since issue 11. Of course, try telling that to the rest of the gods. Mark my words, Cassandra is going to live up to her name if she ends up trying to tell the truth to the rest of the Pantheon.
Most of this issue takes place in flashback, which once again allows colorist Matthew Wilson to shine. In vibrant pinks and blues, the story of Persephone in Hell is done in a way that reminds of that discordant feeling of looking at something meant to be viewed by red and blue 3D glasses. Even in the underground where everything is supposed to be darkness, this color scheme shifts perfectly along with it. It gives such a perfect sense of view and unreality that the usual color palette wouldn’t have since this is all from Persephone’s perspective. Along with that, there’s the subtle way Jamie McKelvie changes Persephone’s outfit with each frame of her in the Underground that might take a second read to catch.
By the end of the issue, Persephone issues her ultimatum to Cass and the Norns: join them in Valhalla to save Minerva or don’t, because they’ve already started either way. It’s hard to say right now if it’s on purpose, but Kieron Gillen very much gave Persephone the “35 minutes ago” moment of the series here.
While not high on the action, The Wicked + The Divine #20 is a gorgeously colored issue that spills plot revelations that mean huge things for the rest of the story. The question now is will those plot revelations be believed going into the final battle of this arc? Hard to say, but it there is now an extra sense of dread in the air now that Persephone has spilled the secrets to another living soul. Of course, she does this to a woman named Cassandra. For all I know, we’re all doomed by the hubris of Gods.
Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Read
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review