Well… The Wicked + the Divine Christmas Annual #1 Okay, a few things to note right at the top as a warning for you. You will probably not want to read this in a public spot. Prepare for puns. So many puns. Oh, and if you are a fan of WicDiv, then you HAVE to get this issue.
Okay, The Wicked + the Divine Christmas Annual #1 from Image Comics by Kieron Gillen, Kris Anka, Jen Bartel, Dee Cunniffe, Matt Wilson, Rachel Stott, Ludwig Olimba, Tamra Bonvillain, Chynna Clugston Flores, Brandon Daniels, Emma Viecelli, Carla Speed McNeil, Fernando Argüello, and Clayton Cowles. That looks like a lot of creators, and in part that is down to something Team WicDiv does that is rare in comics: they credit the flatters. So, of course, I will too.
But also, as with all great annuals, this is a collection of fun shorts that actually look at moments early on in the Recurrence, when the gods returned to Earth to be superpowered pop stars and be loved and, ultimately, die within mere years.
I mean, that premise, and the series opened with a murder mystery, it doesn't often lend itself to hope, happiness and love, but those things still happen. Sometimes, we missed them in the overall story of The Wicked + the Divine: the relationship between Baal and Inanna, the time Lucifer and Sakhmet hooked up, Lucifer and Amaterasu's pre-godhood friendship, just how did Dionysus and Baphomet meet and become mates? These moments and more are shared.
It's not so much about being Christmassy stories, so much as it is a Christmas present to the fans of the series, where for once we get to see some pure moments of happiness — or as close to happiness as the gods of WicDiv can get.
We open with Baal and Inanna, illustrated by Anka, with help from Bartel, and Cunniffe and Wilson. We see the hot, passionate romance between the two at the very beginning. I'm just going to share one thing, which may speak somewhat to how… wow this short was.
Um, yeah… this Christmas present is one spicy meatball, because there is a lot of hooking up going on, and the artists do NOT hold back. Needless to say, the sparks fly.
It makes for stories that are at times sweet, at others bittersweet, and are often pretty damn hot. Some add whole new depths to characters' relationships that may yet be fully felt in the issues to come. Some will likely leave people close to tears given what we know of the characters' futures.
As I say, it's less that this is about Christmassy stories — in fact, many moments don't even occur around Christmas. This is very much a present for the fans, and a helluva present it is.
The artwork through looks gorgeous, absolutely every hand involved putting in their absolute A-game, and you can tell. Each page is a joy to behold, which helps add to the quality of this gift from Team WicDiv.
So yeah, check this issue out, especially if you are a big fan of The Wicked + the Divine, or even if you're a fan of any of the creators involved, this is a must-buy. It's a gift that just keeps on giving.
The Wicked + the Divine Christmas Annual #1 is available this coming Wednesday, December 13th from all good comic shops.