In this issue of The Wicked + The Divine, we get a look at this modern life from a god’s perspective. And it isn’t pretty. Is it good?
The Wicked + The Divine #13 (Image Comics)
Continuing the focus of “Commercial Suicide” on single characters, we are finally introduced to the last god in the pantheon, the elusive Tara. And we learn why she turned her back on her worshippers and the stage.
Known as the most physically beautiful of all the gods, Tara’s problems with her looks begin well before godhood hit her. Harassed on the street, in bars, even promoted beyond her efforts at school, Tara’s only solace is singing, real singing, while hiding behind a mask.
Godhood does not come as a blessing, and while the audience loves her as she’s feeding them what they want (her godly inspiration), how quickly the hate comes; we see it in person, at one of her shows and in the online aftermath from various social media.
She wants a way out and finds one, but ultimately not the way she wanted.
Is It Good?
Wow. This might have been one of the toughest comics that I’ve ever read. Gillen warned us that the entire run of “Commercial Suicide” was going to be dark, but this one hit home hardest because even though it’s dealing with the life of a goddess, it’s rooted in situations that are extremely real.
I am not a drop dead beauty, but I am a woman. I know what it feels like to be cat called and harassed on the street, even at a young age when I had no idea how to deal with it. I know what it’s like to get unwanted attention and how draining it is to handle. And I’ve seen celebrity after celebrity be ripped apart on social media for making a small gaffe, or even just existing.
Our society has a terrible habit of claiming ownership over celebrities. They need to act how we want them to act and god forbid (ha ha) if they dare to act otherwise. The sad part is that even my educated and aware and oh so progressive brain had the thought, “oh, it’s so hard to be pretty. Sad pretty girl,” for a split second, before I got incredibly disgusted with myself. This is how we are taught to think.
Gillen uses the gods to showcase the underbelly of celebrity; the two years of power echo the lifespan of a typical pop star. His writing in this issue is especially powerful; I felt Tara’s frustration and hopelessness, and I wanted her to find peace. The mirror image of her final song with Laura’s made it even more painful to see.
And I wonder how it felt to write four full pages of social media screeds. The shocking thing about those tweets is how unsurprising they were – I’ve read some of those exact same statements almost every day.
Tula Lotay’s art enhances the themes in the book. It’s gorgeous, even the harshest scenes are beautiful despite the ugliness of the subject matter. Her faces are so expressive, it broke my heart even harder, like Tara biting her lip as she sings:
That last mini moment we get from Gillen and McKelvie at the end of the issue, the creation of #fuckingTara, is the perfect gut punch.
I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything else but darkness in a run titled “Commercial Suicide” and from our lord of None More Goth. And as painful as these issues are to read, the story has me firmly sucked in. I’m glad we got a “here we are in the story” bit to keep us going and I’m definitely intrigued to see what Woden has to say in the next issue.
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