GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Wicked + The Divine. Vol. 2: Fandemonium

Jamie McKelvie & others (illus.). Image. 2015. 168p. ISBN 9781632153272. pap. $14.99. Rated: M. MODERN FANTASY
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Gillen's (Star Wars) pantheon amounts to a satire with a twist. The gods are superpowered young people with attitude; a dozen come to Earth every 90 years to take over the bodies of unsuspecting teens. Channeling rock stars for style and given only two years to live, these deities have glamour but no forethought, and passion but no wisdom or empathy. They're still confused kids who can't cooperate or strategize yet, while adults are terrified if adoring. The first two volumes center on Laura, a human fan/wannabe who befriends Lucifer, who is here nicely portrayed as female. The complex plot centering on interdeity alliances and politics evokes how confusing the adult world might appear to teens. Hypercolorful and dramatic art from McKelvie (Young Avengers) features day-glow colors for the gods and their powers, contrasted with somber grey-greens for humans.
VERDICT The intriguing premise realized with striking art bears watching, although it's too early to guess where Gillen is taking this dark fantasy. Older teen and adult readers seeking variations on the superhero concept will be caught up with these unformed characters behaving—in many cases—badly.

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