The Wicked + The Divine #37 // Review
The Wicked + The Divine #37, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, and Clayton Cowles, is part four of the Mothering Invention story arc. So far in this storyline, readers have been getting blockbuster revelations issue after issue. How will this one stack up against all the others?
As with the previous issues in this story arc, this one opens in the past with an Egyptian version of Minerva enacting the ritual that will put off the Great Darkness for another Recursion. She’s one head short, so she sacrifices herself and wakes up in Crete ninety years later, promising to never do that again. In the present, Persephone meets up with Baphomet in the underground to share information and plan their next move. Present-day Minerva gets a mass text sent out by Baphomet and tries to lure him to her. Morrigan shows up and attacks Persephone, but before she can kill her, Baphomet gets her in way and the two battle it out. Persephone confronts the winner, but the battle truly ends with an outcome with no one could have predicted.
So, much like last issue, there’s a sequence of panels representing different years but this time, they are all black. It represents the time Minerva spent dead, but it’s very jarring. This sequence is extremely important to the overall narrative though, because it reveals a few things: Minerva can sacrifice herself if she’s short a head and she remembers things from Recurrence to Recurrence. That’s very important in the grand scheme of things, since, besides Ananke, none of the other gods ever come back with any kind of memory of their past incarnations. Minerva has always known a lot more than she let on, but that’s fitting for a Goddess of Wisdom. It’s a nice touch that Minerva is always the youngest god. None of the others would suspect a child of knowing as much as her and because of the perceived innocence of children, would try and protect her.
The battle between Baphomet and Morrigan is the centerpiece of the issue. Persephone is the reason it starts, but it’s far deeper than that. Baphomet and Morrigan have always had a toxic relationship. Sure, Baphomet and Persephone had sex while Morrigan was being held by the other gods, and Morrigan warned Persephone what would happen the next time she was in the Underground, but Baphomet and Morrigan had been abusing each other since before they became gods, both mentally and physically. At some point, they were going to come to blows and this fight perfectly encapsulates the emotions of their battle. The two love each other in a co-dependent way, but they are also the most volatile of gods. The fight is perfectly paced out, stringing readers along, surprising them with the violence these two are capable of towards each other.
McKelvie’s pages in the fight are perfect. The fight is laid out with long panels in color denoting the battle in the present, with alternating long panels in black and white showing when Baphomet and Morrigan met. In the panels where Morrigan is winning the fight, the border looks like the ravens that she turns into, while the ones where Baphomet is dominating are shaped like flames. It’s a nice little touch. There’s no dialogue or caption boxes, so the script depends on McKelvie’s pencils to sell the emotions of what’s happening in the panel, and he succeeds in this. Alternating the sequences with color and black and white provides a contrast that draws the eye to each panel, making readers pay attention to what’s happening. There’s a lot of visual tricks that the art team utilizes that make this fight sequence one of the best in the series.
The comic starts out slowly, but makes up for that rather quickly. It has some tough boots to fill; every issue in this story arc has been nothing short of stellar. It not only fills those boots, but surpasses the previous chapters in this story. The revelations in this issue aren’t as big as the ones from the other ones, but the battle between Baphomet and Morrigan is perfectly done. The way it ends is completely unexpected, but also fits the strange relationship the two had with each other. The way it’s structured is something that can only be done in comics, juxtaposing the way their relationship began with how it’s ending. It’s visual storytelling at its finest and it’s a high point for the series.