The Wicked + The Divine: Commercial Suicide, I can’t help but wonder if the title is a little bit too on point. As volume three continues(?) the series in rather unspectacular fashion.
As always I’m the first to admit if I’m biased in a review, so I’ll be honest, I like WicDiv, I like Kieron Gillen and I like Jamie McKelvie – I’d even go out on a limb and say they might be (in my opinion) two of the best there is right now.
I’ll also admit I don’t buy single issues, I don’t have the money to invest in buying singles when trades are better value, so maybe my opinion is partly my fault for not being aware of what volume 3 would have to offer.
Avoiding spoilers the previous book ended on a pretty damn interesting cliff hanger, so Commercial Suicide starts off exactly where you might expect – by completely changing lanes and almost ignoring previous events?
Yeah I wasn’t too impressed by that, furthermore I approached this volume as previously stated ready for another instalment of Gillen/McKelvie brilliance, which is immediately met by disappointment due to the fact that McKelvie just couldn’t make it for this volume…But fear not! There’s a whole host of artists standing in, ranging from the excellent to the completely disappointing!
Gillen’s writing is still as good as you’d expect, but some of the art just doesn’t match up, and frankly Jamie McKelvie’s presence is missed in this volume, and let’s face it, this is Image we’re talking about, people are perfectly fine waiting for the whole team to be available before continuing. I’m not sure why that wasn’t the choice this time, and I’d rather not speculate about it (£££)
I’d say aside from the team behind it, the major draw for the series is the use of God’s in a way that’s somewhat reminiscent of Sandman, but being given the popstar make over – WicDiv is not a book for people into music and comics, Phonogram is. WicDiv is a book for people into popular culture and comics.
The Pantheon serve as a fantastic cast of characters, and allow to completely split opinion, God’s have been turned into characters that represent numerous personalities and even sub-cultures exactly the way musicians do and that’s a fantastic thing.
My complaints arise early, the first issue does some to continue the previous story arc though without picking up with what was at the forefront of my mind, Baal gets his moment and the Pantheon do crop up, just not in quite the spectacular fashion I would like, Kate Brown’s artwork is good I’m just not sure it’s quite in fitting with the book mostly because of the previous standard we’ve been given.
The second issue focus’ on a character that has barely even been teased up until now – she could be Tara from Buffy for all we know – to complete anticlimactic result, and not to dwell but even Tula Lotay’s excellent art style brings the level of this issue to the point where I’ll confess she might be as good as McKelvie although very, very different but that alone can’t save something you just don’t care about. The idea of Tara is far superior to the reality, once the curiosity is quenched…I’m impressed. Writing this review has actually changed my mind about the issue, the whole issue is about how fleeting interest in a popstar actually is, the intrigue is superior to the reality, either this is a really well planned out metaphor or I can give meaning to literally anything. Leave that with me.
Woden, Let’s talk about Woden, it’s great to see some back story for the Daft Punk inspired mystery man and get some insight into what’s going on behind that custom made motorcycle helmet (I mean seriously where do you get those?) . It’s even better to see McKelvie on art duties, putting a neon tint on his usual style just for Woden and it’s nice to see a reference to Sex Criminals (which you should definitely be reading)
Turning focus to The Morrigan and Baphomet in the following issue is also a good move, I really enjoyed getting an insight into who they both are, and that’s a recurring theme here, it’s nice to see who these characters are in a bit more detail. Leila Del Duca, dare I say it? Does a great job and for another brief moment it works, I’m sure the temptation to give Morrigan to someone with a darker style was there, but Del Duca makes it work.
But the same can’t be said for Sakhmet, the closing issue of Commercial Suicide seems redundant and Brandon Graham’s art just didn’t work for me, honestly I’m not sure who it would work for…
*I almost forgot* There was an issue about Amaterasu wasn’t there??? That’s a sign of a worthwhile chapter, you forget that it even happened! Stephanie Hans bring us an art style which again I don’t feel suits W+D but is good within itself, although at first glance…and continued glance it does seem like she may have recently graduated from the Frazer Irving art school – which is by no means a bad thing, don’t get me wrong.
Also let me just add in a little about “Videogames”, which were single pages McKelvie did to feature in each issue as a reminder of his existence I suppose. Which would be perhaps worthwhile in single issues (where they came from) but collecting them at the back of the volume just serves as a frustrating reminder that he wasn’t really there.
My issue here is that these aren’t the chapters in a volume, although some of the arc is progressed these issues feel like fillers, and if they’d been used as such through out previous and forthcoming volumes I would have been fine with that, I think everyone would (I mean just look at Pretty Deadly, I don’t see anyone complaining). But right now this just feels like a redundant volume, I would have gladly waited for McKelvie to be free for a full team effort and a continuation of the things I wanted to see more of, and I doubt I’m the only one. But lucky us, we will have to wait because Commercial Suicide doesn’t reward those waiting for any real answers.
Review by Zachary Whittaker