Comic Book Review: The Wicked + The Divine #36
The “Mothering Intervention” so far has been a very well thought out and planned story arc between the things we needed to know and when we needed to know them. A lot of these reveals have been worth the wait, and even then there is still much more to discover about the madness that is this game. The only question right now is how many of our heroes will be able to survive the experience to understand what they have been dragged into.
Finding out the true nature of Baal was jaw-dropping. Who would have guessed this was the actual version he took on? It was teased in the very early stages of this story, but that was so long ago. Perfect execution when they can hit us with a truth we thought we had before. What is standout about this issue of The Wicked & The Divine is that possible fight wasn’t what actually grabbed your attention most, despite fan favorite Laura finding herself in deep water. Not a bad thing considering what that storyline turned into by the end.
The story of Baal was of course what this was all inevitably leading to. Surprisingly in the moment I actually forgot that he was one of a few in the Pantheon who we never got the full story of. Not who he was before, or how they went about figuring out the kind of Baal he is. Understanding why this is the Baal who sacrifices kids was fairly heartbreaking. Not everything was as it seemed on the surface despite the clear fact that he was sacrificing kids. Not everything was as it seemed either when Laura drops the biggest bomb ever to change the direction of this encounter. Just when you think you know everything, at the same time we figure out that we know nothing yet.
Now the main attraction for this issue was the meaning behind this cover image. That was yet another unfamiliar face that you knew this issue would take time to address because this person has the same eyes as Persephone. This could have been someone new, someone old, but all the same someone with those terrifying skulls in the eyes. The truth was crushing because of the pattern that began to make sense through those who carry that look in their eye in each cycle. I mean there were some occurrences where the outcome was not the same, and that only added to the need to grasp why Ananke(?) treated this god so differently than the others who were given room to stretch their legs. What some might overlook for the madness is specifically how many occurrences we are speaking of. In your head you maybe picture a handful of cycles, but the reality is mindblowing. I was impressed with the thought and creativity that went into capturing each year. Then what started off as feeling impressed, evolved into feelings of awe because they took a big gamble with their approach to this issue that paid off.
This was one of the more daring issues for this art team when it came to the story of this woman on the front. The creativeness that went into her encounter with Ananke, her style of clothing, and every other encounter that followed was marvelous. Nothing was ever the same whether we ended up seeing a survivor or victim. As I pointed out above, the sheer number of panels with different versions of Persephone was impressive. To think that went on as long as it did, I’m sure the art team had their fun in exploring what she would look like based on the location in the world and point in time. When it came to Baal’s story, I liked the distinction they used to separate past from present. Not to mention the intensity of the color used for his flames that make a statement that he is a lot more powerful than we originally thought. I mean lave it to Matt Wilson in articular who is able to make colors of his own, because those warm colors for the Baal’s story were beautiful.
The Wicked & The Divine #36 gave us the best of both worlds through plot progression and exploration. What we got was something more revealing about the history of this game and that might give us something to talk about for a while considering how cold-blooded Ananke(?) really is.