First up, this isn’t a very Christmasy themed book. In fact, Christmas doesn’t even get a mention, given the vignettes in this oversized festive issue are all set at differing points in time prior to the very first issue of The Wicked +The Divine.
What is does have in common with the holiday season, if anything, is the sensual, sexual energy of the Pantheon that often comes with a good (or, bad) Christmas office party, albeit mistletoe is not needed for some to hook up within these pages. It’s a book that really captures what it must be like knowing you’re a god, but only alive for a few scant years. Wouldn’t you grab life by the balls, both literally and figuratively, as Baal does? He’s never “been with a boy before“, but is more than happy to taste of experiences he has yet to enjoy, before taking up with Iannana.
It’s certainly an issue that deserves its ‘Mature Readers’ status, but if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that already. And are probably more than comfortable with the subject matter. If not, then this isn’t the book for you, I’m afraid. Which would be a shame, as you won’t know what you’re missing out on if you don’t plunge into this world of celebrity, godhood and lust that I only discovered for myself quite recently.
Indeed, writer Kieron Gillen in his forward to this issue paves the way for such lustful abandonment that also includes “Lucifer and Sakhmet, getting it on“. These are small slices of life that fill in some of the gaps readers have had in their mind throughout the course of the main series. A Christmas present for the readers.
The artists are all of a similar flavour too, which helps the book maintain a consistent style and look on each page. It flows beautifully, and while this is a comic made up of several stories–as we dip in and out, almost voyeuristically sometimes, into the lives of the various Pantheon members–it feels unified. A lot of that has to do with the aforementioned art and colours from a vast cast of contributors: Kris Anka (with Jen Bartel helping on inks), Emma Vieceli, Chynna Clugston Flores, Carla Speed McNeil and Rachael Stott all provide the art, while they are aided and abetted by Tamra Bonvillain and Matt Wilson on colours.
It’s a welcome addition to the main series, which returns again in March with issue #34, with the promise of another special–this time set in the roaring 20’s–in February. So, plenty of WicDiv in the coming months.
Its a book that epitomises everything regular readers enjoy about WicDiv. It’s lustful, but also poignant too. There are moments of companionship, of friendships being forged and build upon, but there’s also a moment or two of sadness, too. All with clean, consistent art and bubbly, bright colours. And, it’s out now!
The Wicked + The Divine Christmas Annual #1 is available in shops now from Image Comics at $3.99.