THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1373 by Kieron Gillen and Ryan Kelly
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1373 by Kieron Gillen and Ryan Kelly give us a one-shot story starring our beloved Lucifer. What was most impressive was the twist on Lucifer and the small details in the art. However, there doesn't seem to be anything largely unique about the art. The plot was a bit rushed and didn't give too much character development.
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THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1373, written by Kieron Gillen, and art by Ryan Kelly, brings us a version of Lucifer we’ve never seen before. Coming from a first-time reader of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE series, this one-shot has a twist on a well-known figure. The historical fiction perspective brings an unique layer to the art, plot, and characterization that gets a little too real.

Lucifer Is a Nun?

Everyone that grew up reading the gospel knows that Lucifer was an angel of God. With Lucifer being a leader of angels, it’s strange he had an unhealthy hunger for power and the goal to surpass God. But since God is, well, God, Lucifer was Hellbound with the ability to walk on the earth in many forms. We classically know Lucifer as a man who lives to tempt and deceive people. However, rather than using the well-known image, Gillen thinks outside the box in THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1373 and makes Lucifer a nun.

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1373 page 5 image, courtesy of Image Comics.

We first see Lucifer praying to God, begging desperately for forgiveness over something we don’t know. As Lucifer prays, the Mother Superior approaches her. Mother Superior lets her know a messenger has come and that Lucifer must go see the messenger with the grace of God. The messenger arrives with a quest for Lucifer and she agrees to take the journey.

The journey leads Lucifer to Ananke, the penitent murderer. Ananke welcomes Lucifer and the two visit for a moment to reminisce on the past. Lucifer is understood to be a liaison between this life and the next, so Lucifer asks Ananke if she would like to confess. Here, Ananke reveals that she’s the source of the plague that has spread to different countries. Also, she kills gods for immortality.

Art of the Dark Ages in THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1373

Towards the beginning, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1373 shows a Christian church service. The church, however, gives this negative, cult-like vibe and incorporates darkness. The color hues aren’t super light, they’re all medium to dark. These shades affect the color by making pure white objects off-white with muddy accents. This coloring gives the reader a different experience than expected. When you go in a Christian church, there are usually warm hues, kind people, singing, and a sermon. The service presented by Kelly gives readers the complete opposite impression.

The darkness may only be for the sake of the story, but it subtly points out the corruption in Catholicism. Catholicism comes to mind because this is the only branch of Christianity that has nuns and Mother Superiors. Catholicism has quite the history of child molestation and other nefarious acts, which aren’t Biblical, moral, or Christian. Though the issues of child molestation are not presented in this one-shot, the art is an excellent example of corruption and history of the Church.

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1373 (ONE-SHOT) page 11 image, courtesy of Image Comics.

What Do These Modern Eyes Think?

Ryan Kelly’s style reminds me of a mixture of the art in METALOCALYPSE by Brendon Small, and the 2018 CATWOMAN series art by Joëlle Jones. The ruggedness in Metalocalypse rests mostly on Ananke in her textures, drawing, and coloring. Similar textures and shapes to Jones’ work appear strong in Lucifer. Kelly’s defining lines on Lucifer’s face, the various groups of black scratches on her body, and the aesthetic in general looks like Jones’ work.

Ryan Kelly’s art does stand out, but mostly in the subtle details. When Lucifer volunteers for a whipping (as seen above), you see the rain, tree branches, and some of the leaves depicted as sharp. The sharpness of these details fit with the painful whipping that’s taking place. With that said, these influences and comparisons brought up are meant to make a point. They emphasize what Lucifer is going through. However, Kelly’s style should stand out in larger, more noticeable parts of the art. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Can’t Wait to Read THE WICKED + THE DIVINE

This one-shot was unique and thought provoking. Given that this is a short story, the adventure is a bit rushed. You go from being introduced to the character, then straight into the journey. There’s not a whole a lot of plot development or any shocking twists that would make the reader feel fulfilled.

Truth be told, this is the first THE WICKED + THE DIVINE piece I’ve read. After reading this one-shot, my interest in reading the series is moderate enough for me to give it another chance. I’m looking forward to seeing what the ongoing series has to offer and which gods Kieron Gillen and Ryan Kelly feature. Keep it coming creators, you’ve got a new series subscriber.


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