Book Reviews 2016 · Fantasy Books · Graphic Novel and Comic Reviews

‘The Wicked + The Divine Volume 1: The Faust Act’ by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

Every ninety years, twelve gods return as young people. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are all dead. It’s happening now. It’s happening again.

The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5

4.5 stars, rounded to 5

I’ve never been much of a comic person. In fact, this is the first ‘proper’ comic book series I’ve ventured into, so this was kind of a new experience for me. I’d had my eyes on this collection of comics #1-5 for a while actually, after hearing some pretty good reviews months back, and the premise sounds very attractive to me (anything vaguely mythological normally is!). I’m very glad I picked this one up to boost my Amazon order to £10 to get free delivery, as it was a delightful read, and a strong beginning to a comic book series I hope to continue with soon.

SPOILER-FREE

 My first thought was how stunning the artwork is. Jamie McKelvie’s illustrations are fantastic throughout, and the colours are beautiful, matching the mood of each page perfectly (plus, have I mentioned how stunning the cover is?). I have nothing but positive things to say about that side of the comic.

On the story front, it was also strong. A concept involving mythological figures is often not all that original, as it has been done so many times before, but ‘The Faust Act’ still managed to throw in a lot of originality, especially in its pop star/celebrity influence. Whilst a little bit confusing in the opening comic and a tad incongruous in the fifth, overall the story was told well and was very captivating along the way. Even as an opener to the series, there was still a lot going on, and the end of each comic in the collection left a suitably questioning and yet not frustratingly mysterious conclusion. Saying that, the end of the fifth (and final) comic was quite a painful cliffhanger! Made me all the more eager to buy the next one, I suppose!

Despite introducing us to many characters at once, the comic managed to weave all of the gods into the story very well. Each character is very distinctive, and you get an instant feel of who is who, and what each god is like. Perhaps obviously given the title and premise, not all of them are likeable (in fact, most of them aren’t), but they are detestable in an appealing and intriguing way, and I feel there is certainly enough left to learn about all of them, to the point that I want to read on to establish further. Our protagonist, Laura, still needs a lot of development, as there is a lot more of a focus on those around her, but I certainly have faith that there is more to come from her.

It is worth noting that with the profanity, sexual references and gore seen in this one, it definitely deserves its ‘mature’ rating. Things do get a little bloody and violent at times, so if you’re not a fan of that I would probably give it a miss. Otherwise, despite a couple of slightly puzzling moments that made me briefly consider rounding my score down to 4 rather than up to 5, the bottom line is that I really did enjoy this one; even if it isn’t perfect, it is captivating enough to make me gloss over my misgivings. If comic book series are your ‘thing’, this is an entertaining one. Even if they aren’t, this may be a good place to start.

Follow me on Twitter @emmathereader, Tumblr (www.snapeisourprince.tumblr.com) and Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/snapeisourprince).

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