The Wicked + the Divine #9
This issue has a lot of emphasis on Ananke, the elderly but immortal guide and guardian of the gods. She comforts 12-year-old Minerva and Baphomet, then conducts an interview with Cassandra Igarashi, Laura’s frenemy, crusading journalist, and rock-solid atheist. Ananke tells Cassandra that the gods and their incarnations on Earth created human civilization, and to make sure that future gods would have someone to guide them and show them the divine ropes, Ananke gave up her godhood and ability to inspire humanity so she could be their guide. And she reveals that it’s time for the long-awaited 12th god to appear. Who will it be?
Verdict: Thumbs up. An absolutely brilliant comic with a shocker twist and a thoroughly “Oh crap” cliffhanger. Are y’all reading this? Y’all should be reading this.
The Multiversity: Ultra Comics #1
Well, this one is just complicated as heck.
Welcome to Earth-33, the world with no superheroes — supposedly, our Earth right here. But we’ve just created our own superhero, and his name is Ultra Comics — a conceptual hero powered by crazy science and dreamed into being by everyone. He’s somehow managed to have adventures during every age of comics. But his latest adventure in a ruined New York is a trap — and so is this comic book! Just by reading along, we, along with Ultra, are being ensnared by forces from beyond. Ultra demolishes a bunch of monster superheroes victimizing a bunch of kids. But there are other forces allied against him — cannibals, massive cosmic supermen, and the Intellectron itself. Is there any way to turn the trap around, or are we doomed to die with the Gentry eating our minds and souls?
Verdict: Thumbs up. A fantastically weird comic with heavy horror overtones. Everyone we meet in this comic is corrupted or destroyed by exposure to the Gentry — and the Fourth Wall is so thoroughly kicked down, from the cover image all the way through — so how lucky do you feel, now that the Gentry has stared into your soul?
Charlie Rooks is shocked that his wife no longer remembers that they have a daughter — and when he realizes that Officer Petal’s name is on a list of the Wytches’ servants, he manages to get the drop on him and order him to take him to where they’ve hidden Sailor. Petal leads Charlie into the woods and tells him that, thanks to the deal he’s made with the Wytches, he’s unfathomably old and almost immortal. But he shows Charlie to the entrance of their realm, and Charlie readies himself to travel into hell — he arms himself with flares and tainted bullets and covers himself in a foul-smelling substance to mask his scent. Can Charlie make his way to the Cauldron, the deepest, darkest, hottest part of the Wytches’ lair? Can he find Sailor? Can he make it out without a horde of monsters chasing him down?
Verdict: Thumbs up. Dark, claustrophobic, intense horror. We’ve got Scott Snyder’s emotional, suspenseful, gut-wrenching writing combined with Jock’s astonishing artwork. Just one issue left, and it feels like there’s so much more to tell, too…