No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Sunday, March 06, 2016

2016/21: The Wicked and the Divine: The Faust Act -- Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson

Every ninety years, twelve members of the Pantheon incarnate. They merge their spirits with 'ordinary' people, carefully chosen, who get two years of power and fame -- for instance, as rock stars -- followed by an early (and likely unpleasant) death. This ninety-year cycle is known as the Recurrence.

The Faust Act opens with fangirl Laura going to see the goddess Amaterasu perform. Laura meets Luci(fer), incarnate as female, who introduces her to soe other members of the Pantheon -- and to Cassandra, a sceptical reporter who mocks the Pantheon members and says the Pantheon's nothing but an elaborate hoax. Assassins attack, and Luci kills them by snapping her fingers. Unfortunately, when she's up before the judge for murder, she demonstrates the gesture and the judge's head explodes. Luci claims it wasn't her, but the circumstances are against her.

Laura -- who's crushing on Luci -- teams up with Cassandra to investigate the Pantheon. Did one of them frame Luci? Did one of them send the assassins? Their investigations are interrupted by Luci's escape from prison (which obviously she could have done at any point). She is not happy. There are violent disagreements with others of the Pantheon -- and then, despite Laura's help, Luci finds herself written out of the story. Temporarily? I have volumes 2 and 3 ...

Though the members of the Pantheon go by the names of figures from mythology -- Lucifer, Ananke, Amaterasu, Morrigan -- it's by no means clear to me whether they are, in any meaningful sense, those ancient deities. On the other hand, plenty of mythology is based on gods behaving like teenagers. In The Wicked and the Divine, each god's persona is a blend of mythology and the life-story of the original 'ordinary' person who's been subsumed into the myth.

That said, The Faust Act felt very much like an introduction, an opening chapter, so my interpretations may be modified once I've read further.

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