Persephone tries to enlist Baphomet’s help now that The Pantheon is full of people that she can’t trust. Ananke’s past struggles are highlighted through a reincarnation. And a foreshadowing of doom has come upon the living “dead.”
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #37
Authors: Kerion Gillen
Artists: Jame McKelvie
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
What You Need to Know:
Every 90 years the gods come back as young people in what is called an “Occurrence”. In 2014’s Occurrence, they have come back as pop stars performing for their fans. Despite being led by a 10,000-year-old god named Ananke, nobody knows why they return, or why they die after only two years. A mysterious thirteenth god, Persephone, dubbed “The Destroyer” by Ananke, has also appeared. After discovering that Ananke has been killing the Gods in every Occurrence to avert what she calls “The Great Darkness,” Persephone kills Ananke.
While trying to figure out their purpose, if they are actually doomed to die or if The Great Darkness is actually just Ananke’s excuse to kill the gods for some other unknown reason, the Pantheon is slowly going mad, becoming more and more unstable and erratic. Minerva has killed Sakhmet for her murder of a room full of party goers and the goddess Amaterasu. Urðr has been busy trying to divine the purpose of Ananke’s machine, which was intended to kill Minerva, in hopes it would give some answers. Urðr has enlisted the help of David Blake, a Pantheon expert who believes that this generation does not deserve an Occurrence. Woden betrays the gods during a performance in order to replicate Dionysus’ power, leaving Dio braindead. Upon Woden’s defeat, he quickly flees. In the aftermath of Woden’s betrayal, Urðr and Persephone find a false wall in Woden’s lab, uncovering that Woden is not the god they thought he was, and that he is David Blake in disguise, and that the real god was John Blake, David’s son. Minerva has also revealed she is Ananke while searching a small shrine underground to which reveals that Lucifer, Tara, and Inanna are all alive as heads put into a mysterious altar.
What You’ll Find Out:
The issue opens with a ceremony. A goddess (assumably the form Ananke has taken from Egypt in the year 3127) places the heads of four gods on an altar but is immediately consumed by a purple fire. She spends the next 90 years in darkness and she emerges from earth reborn, swearing “never again.”
In the present day, humans are busy discussing the gig Woden hijacked as an amazing concert, while Baphomet laments being away for so long. Persephone reaches out to him for help, admitting she has no idea what to do or who to trust.
Meanwhile, Ananke returns to her alter adorned with the heads of Lucifer, Inanana, and Tara and tries to lure Baphomet into a trap. While the others try to ask Ananke what her plan is, she gets ready to sew their mouths shut as seen in the previous ceremonies.
Back in the subway, Morrigan finds Persephone with Baphomet and flies into a rage, knocking out Persephone. Baphomet stops her from performing the fatal blow by telling her that he is leaving her for good. Badb emerges from the three-in-one goddess and attacks Baphomet. The fight goes into the upper subways where bystanders are hurt. Baphomet manages to incapacitate Badb, but is unable to strike the final blow. Badb uses this hesitation to have her flock of crows attack and peck out Baphomets eyes and tear his flesh from his body.
Persephone wakes up a few minutes later to find Badb wailing at the loss of her love. Upon confronting The Morrigan comes out and tells Persephone she did not kill her, but Persephone assures her that she did. Annie comes out one last time to proclaim that Baphomet is not dead. He is only sleeping. With the snap of her fingers, Annie resurrects Baphomet and gives her own life for her lover.
What Just Happened?
Many of this arcs issues have fallen in a small amount of time, but this seems to hit the quickest. Half the issue revolving around a fight scene while another quarter revolves around blank panels can be tricky, but once again the gamble has paid off for McKelvie and Gillen. The initial pages of blackness create a feeling long enough to understand the suffering of the gods as they disappear from the earth for 90 years. Gillen says if he could have he would have done 90 blank pages, but this may have exacerbated the point. Understanding the motivations of Ananke’s character will surely drive some sympathy when we get to the “why” of her little ceremony.
The fight scene is, however, the highlight of the arc so far. The beautifully rendered blow by blow is claustrophobic, energetic, and thanks to Matthew Wilson’s colors, eye-catching and beautiful. Interspersed with the beginnings of Baphomet and The Morrigan’s relationship as humans, the brawl puts book ends on their love story. But it’s Annie’s sacrifice in the end that exhibits that The Morrigan realizes that her abusive tendencies have put in the wrong all this time. Giving the ultimate sacrifice so that she can give her lover a second chance at life makes for the ultimate twist to the final page.
The two-page scene occupying the middle of the issue foreshadows a few interesting events. Ultimately the remaining Pantheon will need to take on Ananke, but her ceremony is nearing completion. As we draw closer to the end of the arc, we will no doubt learn the final pieces that make sense of Ananke’s 6000 year story. The 2014 Pantheon may be the last.
Final Thoughts: McKelvie’s art shines brightly in this issue, and Gillen’s tact for timing and pacing gets time to shimmer for a majority of the issue. Several huge risks pay off making this the best issue of the arc so far. Teasing only what they want you to know up until the big reveal it’s hard to wait another month for the next issue.
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