Meshing classical myth with original ideas, this kid-friendly series of light adventures and comical mishaps often stumbles into darker territory, heady themes, and far-reaching consequences. While I long for more maturity, it is nice to see rich character development throughout each volume. The players change subtly, and I doubt the level of gore, violence, or sensuality will ever rise above PG-13, but the nuances of the relationships and interconnectedness of the subplots are increasing. A few strands of the set-up remain a mystery, but hints toward our protagonists origins and the other students’ desires and powers begin to play a larger role. A slow burn, but satisfying, safe, and pleasant comic.
“The Wicked+ The Divine: The Faust Act” is an interesting opening act.
The concept might be its strongest selling point. The premise that 12 gods from different pantheons are reincarnated every 90 years can lead to a lot of plot development. These reincarnations will then die 2 years later. I expected interesting interactions and deeply personal decisions. Would it be worth it to have god-like powers but have only a few years to live in return? Many pages rightly concern themselves with this dilemma. Some of the characters accept the trade-off, and others reject it. It is also a good way to reign in potentially overpowered god characters and give them a weakness we can understand. The writer made an excellent decision casting doubt on the true nature of the reincarnation cycle. Though the gods claim to be gods you are not quite sure if that is what’s going on. This mystery at the center of the larger narrative kept me flipping pages even if some of the other elements didn’t astound.
The storytelling and pacing was not as strong as the narrative elements, I felt. Some abruptness and lots of set-up. The unevenness might be balanced by later volumes, but this volume might have stood better on its own with a few tweaks.
The art is great. Good form and color choices. Some of the designs are great but stereotypical. With all of mythology and other cultures at their disposal I would have hoped for more pushing of the design envelope.
The characters have charm or depth overall and really pull the story along. Beware occasional one-dimensional characters, which may be a result of unfocused set up. I hope the important characters will blossom as the story gets more room to breath later.
The Wicked+ The Divine has a great central idea. From this idea interesting stories and characters can be woven into a great narrative. I will have to see what lies in wait with further volumes.
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