The Wicked + The Divine: 1373 // Review
The Wicked + The Divine: 1373, by writer Kieron Gillen, artist Ryan Kelly, colorist Matthew Wilson, and letterer Clayton Cowles, takes readers back to the time of the Black Death for a tale of a nun named Lucifer. This issue contains a huge revelation about one of the big mysteries of the Recurrence, which makes it a must read for Wic+Div fans.
It’s 1373 in France, and, this time around, Lucifer has incarnated in a nun. Being immune to the Plague, she’s sent to a nearby village to take a confession. A young girl leads her to the village where she finds out whose confession she’ll be taking: Ananke’s. Ananke drops some bombshells on Lucifer about what been going on with the Recurrence, the identity of the girl who brought her to the village, and a final one on the origin of the Plague that’s a big shocker for Lucifer. Ananke manipulates Lucifer to the end and, in the distance, a little girl drags away a bag of heads.
This is the second Wic+Div special that spotlights a Lucifer and Kieron Gillen uses it to show how different they are from the other members of the Pantheon. Both books feature a Lucifer who has lived longer than the two years that the gods usually get during this Recurrence, the difference being that, unlike the star of The Wicked + The Divine 455 AD, this one hasn’t gone insane with her power. It’s interesting that Lucifers were able to live past the usual deadline, and it also puts into context what happened to 21st century Lucifer and her fate. Ananke’s plan seems to be very much thought out, and Lucifers have proven a wild card throughout the ages. It’s possible that, because of events like the ones in these two specials, she chose to deal with Lucifer the way she did.
Her confession is a big deal because it gives a reason for something that a lot of fans have been wondering about, and lays bare the extent to which she manipulates not only the gods as they are reborn, but the world in general. She’s playing a long game. It gives a new dimension to what motivates her, and it adds to what readers have learned in the main series. Her first revelation is about the Recurrence, but the second one about the Plague shows how she feels about the human race in general, and throws into doubt her whole thing about the gods being necessary to stop a Great Darkness that could destroy humanity. Even here, though, she gives just enough information to get her way in the end, which is Ananke in a nutshell.
Ryan Kelly’s artwork is detailed, and captures the stern, religious bearing of Lucifer and Ananke’s sneering superiority, as she reveals to Lucifer some of her secrets. He does a lot with the disfigurations the Plague brings throughout the book, giving those who suffer it a dangerous, almost feral look. Additionally, Matthew Wilson’s colors set the perfect tone. There’s a lot of grays and blues, giving the book a drab, funerary tone throughout that fits the era and the subject matter. It’s a perfect touch for a story set during the Black Death, and makes Kelly’s pencils that much better.
The Wicked + The Divine: 1373 is a integral part of the Wic+Div mythos. It fits into what the main book has been doing, revealing more about Ananke and what’s going with her as a way of revealing more about the Recurrence. It houses some big reveals, and one very subtle one about Minerva that’s worth the price of admission. On top of that, the art fits the story perfectly. This special is a must-have for Wic+Div fans, and worth every penny.