I am not a critic, and this is not a review. I am a fan, and this is my spoiler-free reaction.wicked + divine, promotional ad, kieron gillen, image comics

I loved THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1 even more than I thought I would. It shouldn’t have surprised me – I’ve been fully in the pocket of Big Gillen/McKelvie since Young Avengers started (yeah, I know, I was a little late to the party), and I was excited about their new book. And yet, I had chills just a couple of pages in. I got a little choked up in the middle, and laughed out loud a few times. I loved the characters instantly; how could I not love Luci?

I believe THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE will be the Next Big Thing, and I guarantee you’re going to see a ton of #WicDiv (for that is the official hashtag of this book) cosplay very soon. There will be t-shirts aplenty. You might go ahead and start a Pinterest board to collect tips on how to do the makeup just right.

Have you ever fantasized about what it would feel like being a golden-god performer, able to electrify an audience with talent so huge it’s closer to magic? Have you ever been part of an audience for one of them? Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re a big fan of something. You know what it’s like to discover some kind of art and love it, to feel like it was created just for you and has been waiting for you to find it. This book uses that experience as an underlying theme and actually provoked that reaction in me, creating an unstoppable joy loop in my brain.

What’s it about? Here’s Image Comics’ description:

“Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critically thermonuclear floor-fillers Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to start a new ongoing superhero fantasy with a beautiful oversized issue. Welcome to THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, where gods are the ultimate pop stars. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.”

When I finished the issue, I was trembling in the best way. THE WICKED + THE DIVINE really captures the way art, especially the kind experienced with an audience, can blow your mind with euphoria. The right combination of powerful performance and receptive audience can trigger collective ecstasy, an overwhelming wave of emotion. It’s a deeply personal, chemical, spiritual reaction that you have in the same room with hundreds of people feeling the same things. That feeling of almost dying of happiness and brain-fire and mass hysteria – people chase it at concerts and plays and sporting events and tent revivals. I’ve been lucky enough to experience that a handful of times, and this comic brought that feeling back to me. Heart fluttering, on the verge of tears, aware that I was in the middle of something special. I don’t expect everyone to react quite as viscerally to this book, but I think it does capture that excitement well.

Of course, there’s a lot more to the book than pharmaceutical-grade feelings. The art is absolutely gorgeous, and so is the writing. They’re working some serious comic book magic here. The characters are interesting, and I can’t wait to meet more of them and get to know them better. I eagerly anticipate learning more about the previous incarnations of these gods throughout history. The first issue ends on a great cliffhanger. Issue #2 cannot arrive fast enough.

Buy this book and get your friends to add it to their pull lists, because it needs to be a hit so I can keep reading it forever.

Your friendly local comic shop probably offers a subscription/pull list service, and if you’re not taking advantage of that already, you should! Tell them you want this book and they’ll order it for you and save your copy. Kieron Gillen created this delightful and informative PSA about how that works, and as a retailer, I can vouch for the importance of pre-orders.

Annie Bulloch co-owns 8th Dimension Comics & Games in Houston, Texas. She writes “Cook Your Comics,” a monthly food column here on Women Write About Comics. Hit her up on Twitter (@texasannie) to talk about #WicDiv because she could do that all day.