The Wicked and the Divine

The Wicked and the Divine is one of those pieces of media that will forever evoke some kind of emotion from me in such a visceral way that it just has to land on my top ten list.

This graphic novel series begins with a rather specific premise.

Every ninety years twelve gods return as young people. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are all dead. It’s happening now. It’s happening again.

The year is 2014 and 17-year-old Laura Wilson is getting ready to see Ameratsu, one of the gods perform. She dresses up as her and contemplates how she keeps these times to herself. How she feels a little more of herself slip away every time she does this and revels in it.

By happenstance, Laura is the last to pass out at the performance and the first to wake up, in time to meet another god, Lucifer, or Luci. Luci is dressed in a sharp clean white pantsuit with her blonde hair slicked back and eyeliner smudged under her eyes after a brief conversation invites Laura back to meet Ameratsu. An altercation involving some religious fanatics shooting others in the room turns into Luci snapping her fingers and exploding their heads. She’s led away to jail and Laura is determined to save her. At first, because Luci promises to make Laura like her somehow, then out of the connection they share.

From there, Laura is drawn into meeting many of the other gods in her attempt to forget who she is herself. She desperately wants what the other gods have and, in a not quite so surprising twist, gets her wish, appearing as the thirteenth god which the public never knew about.

It turns out that isn’t the only thing the public doesn’t know about the gods, et alone what the gods don’t know about themselves. Their guide Ananke, the person who finds and names them, has been keeping many secrets back from them.

This graphic novel series is very queer and very targeted at mature audiences. Not only is there a lot of gore, but (TRIGGER WARNINGS) there’s intimate partner abuse, mention of statutory rape and rape, drugs and smoking, violence (duh) and sex scenes, mention of abortion and an unfortunate assisted suicide arc. There is also mention of someone trans being outed.

I’ve also called it fucking brilliant, heart-rending and beautiful, mind-blowingly gorgeous and riveting, self-destructive tendencies combined with poor life choices on literally god level, a case study in codependency and betrayal, and chaotic energy pushing to the end.

Laura, the ultimate fan, doesn’t have friends, doesn’t want them, is obsessed with everything the gods are and she wants to be, seems to hate herself and definitely struggles with self-respect, and is shown to be the only child of a biracial relationship between a black father and a white mother. She’s also queer. That’s a lot of marginalization for her to deal with and I wouldn’t be surprised if she never felt completely comfortable wherever she is. The story itself seems to be located in the U.K. but it’s hard for me to tell for sure. There’s definitely a metro system shown regularly, so my guess is either the U.K. or New York.

As the story goes on, Laura becomes faux confident, or arrogant and by the end of the series, she’s quietly comfortable in who she is. While she’s struggling with who she is she makes a lot of poor choices that either hurt her or others around her. The gods become her found family after her family dies and she lays her everything at their feet time and time again.

What I find interesting about this series is Laura’s worst enemy is always herself and her poor choices in handling her reactions to her emotions. Every single time Laura is given the opportunity to just react to something, she makes some of the worst decisions I have ever seen, including sleeping with friends and killing people who make her angry. Even when Ananke is doing her absolute worst. When we finally see Laura come down and make some (REALLY) hard decisions about who she is and what she can handle or do herself, she becomes stronger herself as a person and ends up finding a way out of all the dramatic and killer situations she finds herself in.

This is a coming-of-age story delivered in a rock and roll, unrestrained, poor life choices kind of way and I love the out-of-control honesty and bones laid bare gritty parts of what it sometimes takes to survive some really awful shit.

My final thoughts are that I am unreasonably attracted to the characters of Laura and Luci (which probably says something unhealthy about me, really) and I wanted to punch someone over the treatment of Tara. Justice for Tara!

I will also say I was definitely taken aback to see who Laura ended up with at the conclusion of the series. It actually made no sense to me at all, comparing how they interacted and their lack of respect for each other. I have a hard time seeing how a loving and lasting relationship can come from that.

Also, the people involved in this project are some of the most unrepentant shit disturbers I have ever seen and I love their chaotic energy.

Also if you get to volume 8, that’s where the majority of the sex scenes go down. Enjoy.

Five out of five stars. In my top ten list of books, I’ve ever read easily.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *