The Wicked + The Divine #42 // Review
The nature of the Great Darkness is revealed in The Wicked + The Divine #42, by writer Kieron Gillen, artist Jamie McKelvie, colorist Matthew Wilson, and letterer Clayton Cowles. This issue is jam-packed with reveals and big moments, setting up things for the final battle to come.
Baal agrees to meet up with Laura and Cassandra and when he gets to the meeting, the source of the Great Darkness is revealed and the full extent of Minerva/Ananke's trickery and manipulation is revealed to him. He agrees to help Laura and company in their battle against Minerva/Ananke. Mimir sends a text to Woden telling him the truth about Ananke. Woden confronts Minerva and she tells him the truth about her and what's been going on and reveals to him how little power he really has. The renegade gods help Baal rescue his family from Minerva and they go back to the Underground, where they get ready for battle… but Baphomet seemingly loses his nerve and abandons them. He shows up at Dionysus’ hospital room and revives him at a terrible cost.
This issue finally gives up the last big secret this book has and it's a doozy. For readers who haven't been reading the one-shots, the reveal will be a little confusing at first, but Gillen makes sure to explain it rather well through a nice bit of exposition. In the end, as always, it's yet another manipulation by Ananke, but it's a brilliant one. She pretty much did it all just to manipulate Baal, to force him to do her bidding. Baal would have killed 20,000 people if Laura hadn't stopped him all for a fantasy that Ananke cooked up to keep him on her side.
This one also explains how the Ananke and Minerva things work and it's rather clever. The triumph of this issue is how well it ties up all the loose ends, which frees up a lot of page space for the last three issues. There's a lot of set-up in this issue, but it never feels boring or screws with the pacing of the book.
Jamie McKelvie's art is great. Two of the best panels have to do with the source of the Great Darkness. As usual, McKelvie's penchant for drawing great faces really sells what's going on in the characters’ minds. The final scenes with Baphomet in Dionysus’ hospital room are made all the better because the reader can see what's going on on Baphomet's mind from his face.
The Wicked + The Divine #42 drops some big reveals and lays out the path for the rest of the book. Beyond the reveals, there are other important moments that perfectly set the stage for the final act. Honestly, this issue is a masterclass for anyone who wants to write a story that not only reveals what it needs to but still delivers even more big moments that work with those reveals, neither overshadowing the other. The art is amazing as usual. It will be a sad day when this book ends, but if the ending is anything like what's come so far, it will be one for the ages.