The Wicked + The Divine: The Funnies #1 // Review
A whole bunch of creators let their hair down in The Wicked + The Divine: The Funnies, with writing and art by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Erica Henderson, Juan Castro, Liz Lunney, Chip Zdarksy, Becka Kinzie, Chrissy Williams, Clayton Cowles, Dee Cunniffe, Romesh Ranganathan, Julia Madrigal, Hamish Steele, Kitty Curran, Larissa Zageris, Kate Leth, Margaux Saltel, and Matt Wilson. As the title suggests, the book is made up of a bunch of comic strip-esque stories poking fun at the concept of The Wicked + The Divine. It’s not particularly crucial to the saga of the Pantheon, but it’s a lot of good fun.
A letter from Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie in the beginning reveals that this book was made to fill a bit of a hole before the last story arc starts, and that they got a bunch of friends from the comic world and beyond to participate and have a bit of fun at the expense of the book, and sometimes even its creators. The book succeeds on that front. There are multiple stories, each one an irreverent and humorous take on the main mythos of the series. It is a fun experience for fans of Wic+Div and it felt like it was fun for the creators, too.
Wic+Div has always been a serious book. A Pantheon of pop star gods that will be dead in two years doesn’t exactly lend itself very well to frivolity. Sure, readers have seen the Pantheon indulging in various acts of sex and depravity, but it’s not been a “fun” book. This one shot remedies that because, when it comes right down to it, there’s a lot to parody in the book. Readers get to see a dog Pantheon and how Ananke deals with them, what happens when a non “hip” musician starts developing god powers, a guide to living with Sakhmet, a Scooby-Doo story with the Pantheon, and lots more. It’s a nice departure from the frequently painful main book.
Only one of the stories fall flat, a quickie about Baal and a YouTube freestyle video he’s making written by rapper Romesh Ranganathan, but that’s mostly because the punchline to the joke isn’t funny or even readily apparent, and it doesn’t fit the same wacky tone as the rest of the stories. It’s not bad at all, but it feels muddled, like a latter-day episode of The Simpsons, starting in one place and then ending somewhere completely different that has no relation to where it began. Other than that story, everything else works wonderfully.
The art ranges from Zdarsky and McKelvie’s more mainstream styles to Lizz Lunney’s very indie, almost childish style. It runs the artistic gamut, and it’s very much the stronger for it. None of the art in the book is weak. It always matches the tone of the story it’s in. That’s important in a book like this; the art not being sympatico with the writing would ruin the joke.
The Wicked + The Divine: The Funnies is a light-hearted romp. It takes the big, ponderous style of the main book and throws it out the window, giving readers glimpses of a funnier universe in its corners. It doesn’t progress the main story or add anything to the mythos like the other specials did. Instead, it sets out to be a fun experience, a collection of Wic+Div comic strips from the coolest Sunday morning paper ever, and succeeds admirably.