So we’re back on the main narrative of WicDiv after a delightfully disturbing special one shot, which may as well double as a cautionary tale for our beloved and mischievous characters. If only Ananke still lived to impart such wisdom. Oh well, life goes on.
This new arc is appropriately called Imperial Phase (Part II), as it’s a continuation of the same dynamic from past issues. The Gods are going off the deep end as their divine lifespan is soon to have run its course. And things don’t look to improve as time goes by, especially for Team Anarchy. Quick recap on that matter: Amaterasu fucked up like the dipshit she truly is, resulting in Sakhmet murdering loads of people. Shame is unlikely to be experienced. And there won’t likely be a coverup for this as with Ananke’s murder at the hands of Persephone.
Welcome to the impending doom show.
“Don’t believe in miracles”
Persephone wakes up in the dark after what probably was a long night of debauchery. As we’ll remember from Issue #28, she didn’t stay to hang with Sakhmet and Amaterasu; so at the moment, she’s blissfully ignorant of the latest shit. As a first stir of unease in her morning, we find that she spent the night with a groupie styled after the likeness of Lucifer. This throws her off a little, and gives us a bit of an anticlimactic afterglow from an easier, more innocent time. She who had once ‘groomed’ her into the Pantheon is now a pathetic, hollow likeness with little relevance beyond a one night stand. Nonetheless, it falls to ‘Lucifer’ to break the news to Persephone after looking at her phone for some harmless Facebook scrolling, as you do.
Before the necessary and inevitable procedures of questioning and investigation, we get a flashback focused on Laura Wilson back in the year 2013. The pop-star Gods made their introduction, enrapturing the masses and whatnot. Baal did the honours of introducing the Recurrence to the public. He ‘took away their virginity’ with that thunderous swagger, but the following act, Sakhmet, would take everything else. Cue flaming lions and an illusion of harmless danger, utterly crushed nearly two years after. The police question Persephone, who doesn’t know of Sakhmet’s whereabouts. At this point, the police’s warnings to stay in the country are quite meaningless. The Gods’ reputation is irreparably tainted with fear from those who once loved them.
Quite simply, they’re now hated.
As per her usual way, Amaterasu only bothers to act way after the deed. She dodges responsibility and claims ignorance about Sakhmet’s motives (her fault -all of it). Her use, when not threatening Gods she can intimidate, is really just to deliver messages about. This time, she tells Persephone that Baal wants to see her. Persephone is, of course, not exactly beaming with enthusiasm at the call. Still, Persephone has nothing better to do. She has powers, so she may as well use them for something worth the effort. And speaking of powers, in Valhalla, Baal is currently training Minerva to use hers in combat. Mini is wary on the fact that Baal is starting to sound a bit like Ananke. In response, he chooses transparency by admitting that, in the current circumstances, they’ll have to be decisive like Ananke.
The training pays off. Minerva manages to destroy her first dummy. Yay, indeed.
Amaterasu arrives with Persephone in tow shortly after. As you would imagine, Minerva is still furious at Amaterasu. I wonder why (cue personal impromptu flashback of Amy fleeing after Ananke killed Mini’s parents). Worth noting, the first concern in Persephone’s head is the possibility that Baal intends to send Minerva after Sakhmet, but Baal has no such intention – that’s what Amaterasu is for, along with fleeing. Persephone tells Baal the same thing she told the police – so much for that. Thus, it falls to the Norns to try and figure it out. Urdr, Verdandi and Skuld have had little success figuring out the machine Woden built for Ananke. They can’t find Sakhmet either, so Urdr thinks she may be hiding in the Underground. Persephone denies hiding her.
Well, it seems that members of all three ‘teams’ in the Pantheon are more-or-less working together now. Desperation enables union sometimes. At this time, Team Study is more like the Research and Development department of Valhalla. The gig to power up the machine, and thusly learn its purpose is still on go, which is also something of a PR tactic to assuage the collective fear. But the current priority is finding Sakhmet. So, while Woden stays to make useful gadgets and enable to cage for the wild beast, Urdr, Dionysus and Persephone will go down to the Underground to chat with the Morrigan. As usual, Urdr’s snark sets the mood with a mix of purpose and irony.
Down in Highbury & Islington Station, the immediate effects of Sakhmet’s carnage are evident as the people behave warily around the Gods. Persephone tells Urdr that exploring the Underground with a capital U is not an easy task, so the only proper way to begin the search is by entering the classic way. Hop on the tracks, walk into the dark, and yell “MORRIGAN!” really loud. It works, The Morrigan grants them audience, so long as Persephone leaves. Things are not so cool between them at the moment. Through her usual overly-poetic and cryptic number, The Morrigan accepts to aid them in their search for Sakhmet. While they’re down in her digs, though, fellow Underworld God Dionysus asks her about Baphomet.
Touchy subject, which the Goth Queen has little interest in discussing. Here, Urdr has some remarks on the Morrigan and Baphomet as a couple. There is some distinct sense of possessiveness on behalf of the Morrigan, which goes beyond the reasonable anger at him cheating on her. Urdr then questions if Cameron understood exactly what Marian was getting him into when she introduced him to Ananke, therefore turning him into a God. The two year lifespan is certainly no small matter to consider. The Morrigan retorts by asking the same of Urdr, concerning with two fellow Norns. Touchy subjects all over. The Morrigan defuses the situation by subtly telling them to fuck off and that she’ll be available if needed.
However, it’s not over for Dionysus. A close friend of Marian and Cameron, he won’t stand idly by as this relationship keeps on like this. Dionysus is staying until he has a word with Baphomet.
Urdr meets back upstairs with Persephone, who had been thinking of things Sakhmet told her. In particular, how she murdered her own dad, which she feels pretty happy about. It’s quite clear that Persephone loves fetishising carefree destruction. She virtually admits to it upon revealing to Urdr that Sakhmet and she had been dating. Doomed together sounds romantic, alright. But we can expect not a single thought from Persephone about the people Sakhmet hurt (seven dead, four on life support). At the end of the say, she goes and parties on her own. However, the sympathy of strangers etches a dent on her patience. So, she leaves. Yet the prospect of inhaling some cocaine has her take one (un)lucky boy back to her place.
As they approach her place through the darkness of her little spot of the Underground, Persephone changes her mind. She vines the fella party bro away as she reaches her door left ajar. That’s never a good sign. Still, this turns out an unexpectedly responsible decision as we discover that Sakhmet snuck into her place. The Lion Goddess is watching the news (on her, by the way) since she was bored waiting for Persephone to arrive, and she couldn’t get Netflix to work, as you do. Now that her partner has arrived, she has other things in mind. Netflix and Chill? More like Netflix and Kill. Not taking credit for this one; it’s at the end of the issue.
Now, Persephone didn’t lie when she said she wasn’t hiding from Sakhmet. Though now she kind of is, so it all boils down to one decision. Will she turn her murderous girlfriend in or not? Her friendship with Lucifer in spite of persecution is a testament to Laura Wilson’s loyalty. In this case, such a noble quality may not be a good thing. Stay tuned, lovelies.
The Wicked + The Divine Issue #29 Credits
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art / Cover: Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson
Images courtesy of Image Comics