Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Wicked + The Divine sheds starlight on the enigma

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It’s never easy to live life, or even thinking about it, after the passing of a dear one. The world feels lighter, and quite worse for it, lesser and insipid. Lucifer’s death at the fingersnap of Ananke leaves a significant gap in this diegetic world. Of all the Gods that could have died this early, a Lucifer incarnation that takes after the Thin White Duke certainly comes off as a surprise. Yet it goes to drive the point: nobody is safe in this game of adoration and fatalism. Furthermore, the mystery behind the judge’s death remains. In times of despair and uncertainty (which we are well acquainted with as of lately), we often thank new friends in our lives.

This time we’ll meet someone everybody had been talking about. And it’s certainly not “Fucking” Tara. Enter Inanna.

Issue #6
“I’ve got no reason to be afraid any more”

In the aftermath of last issue’s events, life in Brockley, South London, seems relatively unchanged, on the outside anyways. A God is dead, killed as a delayed consequence of her actions, some of which she’s probably not even accountable for. In this strange era, what effect could a deity’s passing have on the lives of mortals? Well, for starters, Laura seems to have changed her look a bit. Her snazzy mane is gone, in favour of an undercut that only slightly resembles Lucifer’s style. Nonetheless, as indicated by the shirt she’s wearing, it more closely resembles Inanna’s. Perhaps she is trying to ‘incarnate’ his style as she did with Amaterasu back on Issue #1

She appears to be undergoing something of a transitional phase onto the ‘worship’ of another God/Pop Star. As she sees two people wearing “Lucifer died for our sins” t-shirts, she becomes sick, hurling into a conveniently-placed bin nearby. A brief chat in the middle of the street informs us that Laura had recently seen Inanna live. A fancy Pantheon event called Ragnarock is drawing near, and tickets sold out in a matter of minutes. This seems to happen with every event we want to attend forever, doesn’t it? Laura doesn’t seem particularly bothered about missing out; she’s already seen plenty, after all. After waving Lucifer’s fans goodbye, she reflects on the shirt’s slogan with a smile, thinking Lucifer would have loved it. A sudden, brief flashback of Luci’s death keeps the vomit going.

As Laura walks about, snapping her fingers, she informs the reader on the events from past month. Televised media has been following the activities of the Pantheon since Lucifer’s death. The funeral took place at an undisclosed location; Baal didn’t attend it, given his role in Luci’s pursuit. Amaterasu still mourns her. Baphomet unleashes a literal danse macabre at a local cemetery, as you do. Politicians and the like speak soberly before the cameras to keep things calm. As for Laura, she has been trying to spark fire with her fingers, but the gift seems to be gone. Her mother is understandably concerned about her; Laura has even started seeing a therapist to cope. She assures her daughter that she’s willing to hear her out if she needs to talk. During harsh times, that openness is sometimes all one can offer when somebody’s wading through pain and loss.

At first, Laura’s inner self considers being sincere about the finger-snapping lighter thing that so bewilders her. This upfront approach lays her core feelings bare, after which she imagines she’d hug her mum. However, she only ends up giving her a dismissive ‘uh-huh’, and then climbs the stairs to her Pantheon memorabilia-filled room. Her mother calls her back downstairs, though; she has a call from someone so awesome that Mrs. Wilson liked him at first listen. The purplish blue speech bubble hints at a divine voice as of yet ‘unheard’ by the reader. He sent Laura a letter with an address. The sparkles clinging to the envelope imply something a mere phonecall can never convey.

Later that rainy evening, Laura finds herself standing before Lucifer’s grave. The young fellow who gave her the address is a divine expy of Prince, who we all miss as well. Meet Inanna: a female Divination God incarnated in a male body – a glorious genderqueer representation. Inanna is very pleased to see her, and asks Laura if it’s okay to hug her. A heartwarming moment ensues as the God tells her that he remembers her from last year’s Ragnarock, specifically from one of the talks. Inanna was still a mortal then. He observed as Laura stood her ground at the conference, with boldness, faith, and conviction, against one of these middle-aged cynics who think a generation underserving of witnessing grand phenomena.

Back then, he was afraid of being his own person. Ananke’s visit gave him the means to be himself without any fear or limitations. I personally find this to be a lovely allegory of non-binary gender. There may be no Gods of Necessity in our world to lend us that push into accepting ourselves under our own notions of identity and being. Perhaps, all it takes is some of that boldness, faith, and conviction to accept ourselves in all of our nuances, but I digress. Inanna has met her Laura at this location because he cannot trust his own people. Unanswered questions still remain, and Laura’s no closer to the truth on her own. However, she now has a valuable ally in Inanna.

The Queen of Heaven and the Stars tells Laura of the events after everything that happened with Lucifer. He visited the morgue, where he looked at a couple of bodies. These were the men that rained bullets on Lucifer on Issue #1. Inanna worked his divine powers to ‘read’ the identities of the gunmen. He was shocked to find that they were actually fans of the Pantheon. What murky intent could they have in attacking the Gods? It’s up to Laura and Inanna to find out. After the Goddess of Divination disappears in a wisp of stardust, Laura starts her lonesome walk home. On the way, she decides to work some magic of her own.

The rules are pretty simple. Exposure virtually equals power and opportunity. Translated into this diegetic universe, social media as the postmodern way of worship can effectively make a Priestess out of our protagonist. The recent events and her closeness to Lucifer gave Laura a considerable amount of followers on Twitter. While some of us would use such a following for nefarious ends, such as revitaling our Patreons, or sending a lovely package to one Dick Spenser en masse, she has something else in mind. She tweets that she’s up for gigs, cons and all kinds of talks. After a food-break at the local friend chicken joint, she looks at her phone to find that her magic worked.

The search for the rogue God, who set this mess in motion continues. There are still unknown effigies on the Pantheon’s circle, and a couple of unseen Gods yet. This narrative has taken on a rather detectivesque tone, so it’s only a matter of time til we find out who the arrow points at. More blood may run, more chicken may be dined on, and more bewilderment may ensue. Whatever the way the road may take, Inanna is here to stay.

The Wicked + The Divine Issue #6 Credits

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Art / Cover: Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson

All images courtesy of Image Comics

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