The Wicked + the Divine #30 is definitely a setting up the pieces on the game board issue from Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson with unlikely allies Woden and Cassandra putting the finishing touches on their literal plot moving machine. However, most of WicDiv #30 is dedicated to Dionysus, Baphomet (finally), Morrigan, and other members of the Pantheon talking out their feelings. Gillen, McKelvie, and Wilson have built up these characters over several years, and it’s novel and nice to see new sides of them before all hell breaks loose.
One of the coolest parts of WicDiv #30 is that the entire power trio of the Morrigan appears, including the violent Badb and the underutilized Gentle Annie. The trade off between sweet and sad, harsh and loud, and something crazy in-between reminded me a lot of a three piece femme punk band I recently called The Coathangers where the lead guitarist does melodic vocals and the drummer does growls. (She would probably shoot off crows if she was a WicDiv character.) Even though Gentle Annie is the one who finally relents and let Dio and Baphomet chat, she is creepy as hell and basically predicts Dio’s death with a kind smile. He is the most decent member of a very corrupt Pantheon, is starting to have feelings for Urdr, and was torn to pieces by the Titans in classical mythology so it seems like his demise is imminent. Like Gentle Annie says, “Only so much of ickle Dio to go around.”
Luckily, before his possible death, Dionysus gets to be the most supportive friend ever and try to talk Baphomet through the fact that he is part of an abusive relationship although Baph wards off any serious talk with quips and bad puns about British political parties. His evasion is fleshed out visually by McKelvie, who draws him with sunglasses in stark contrast to Dio’s open, honest eyes in the midst of negative space. Baphomet is closed off and too bonded to Morrigan, who has been manipulating him ever since she made him into a member of the Pantheon instead of just a Goth fuckboy version of the Valkyries. The flashback to him joining the Pantheon is just plain tragic along with his almost nihilist resignation to his current fate. Gillen and McKelvie handle Baphomet’s relationship situation in a thoughtful manner and focus on his pain, how he is sadly deflecting it, and not the sexy Goth-ness of him and Morrigan.
While Dio and Baphomet are having a heart to heart in the Underground, McKelvie and Wilson make a two page sort of return to the superhero genre when Baal and Amaterasu accidentally “bust” Sakhmet, who is actually a fangirl. This little scene provides some comic relief in the middle of a pretty tough and foreboding WicDiv #30 with a close-up reaction shot of Minerva, who is the Oracle to Baal’s Batman, freaking out taking the cake. The sequence also show that the sky gods are still a little bit delusional and think that everything can be fixed by capturing Sakhmet and Woden’s big ol’ machine, which definitely has its red flags like being powered by a physically and emotionally wounded Dionysus and Woden installing high tech spy cams on the other Pantheon members’ bling.
WicDiv #30 shows that even right before an impending apocalyptic event, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson still take time to have readers listen and empathize with the Pantheon members’ emotions and problems. They also continue to use the highly stylized trappings of the Pantheon to shed light on real world problems, like abusive relationships. Even though they’re fictional, I care about Dionysus and Baphomet like they are real people and hope for the best for them. But, knowing WicDiv‘s past approach to characters with softer edges (RIP Fangirl Laura and Inanna) that won’t likely be the case.
Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Jamie McKelvie Colors: Matthew Wilson
Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy