Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson
Why does it feel like it has been forever since the last issue of The Wicked + the Divine hit the stands? Jamie McKelvie took a small break from the series in order to work on Phonogram, but finally makes his return with The Wicked + the Divine #18, which is the beginning of Rising Action, the new arc.
This issue marks the sudden return of Persephone, but does not immediately tell the reader why she is back. This isn’t too much of a problem because readers will be distracted by the issue’s breakneck speed. Rising Action is incredibly fast, and quite a few characters seem to be wildly different following the events that took place in Commercial Suicide, the previous arc. The panels are full of tension and before too long, everything escalates as allegiances shift and violence consumes the panels. When describing this arc, Gillen says that “if something can explode, it will,” and so far he definitely right. Of course, Kieron Gillen still manages to throw in tons of witty dialogue as he continues to develop his eccentric characters, ensuring that the issue is much more than just action.
The Wicked + the Divine #18 might just be the best looking issue in the series. The entire creative team has come together to create a visual masterpiece. The pencils, colors, and even lettering make this issue a sight to behold. McKelvie’s pencils are absolutely clean, and there is not a single inconsistent expression or pose. The action in each panel is clearly defined and every moment is easy to follow with simple but effective panel layouts. Wilson’s art amplifies the effects of every panel, and despite the fact that The Wicked + the Divine has always had superb coloring, this issue puts the rest to shame. Every explosion, projectile, and angst-filled concert reaches out to the audience. Even the final page of the issue (which is quiet and without any insane action) is visually astounding due to how gorgeous a flame bringing light to the darkness appears.