The Wicked and The Divine Vol. 1 Review

What’s it all about?
*Spoilers Ahead* Once every ninety years, twelve gods from various mythologies reincarnate as humans. They are loved by masses of adoring fans and yet hated by many more. After two years, they perish-only to start the cycle all over again. But what happens when one of them steps out of line and shakes up the established order? How do the remaining eleven gods protect themselves from the truth being discovered by those not ready to hear it? And what becomes of the ‘fan’ who tries to help them?

Seventeen year old Laura attends a pop concert featuring Amaterasu, one of the twelve gods masquerading as a music star whose music has a powerful drug-inducing effect on her fans. Upon waking up after passing out during the show, Laura is introduced to Luci, a Ziggy Stardust-esque version of Lucifer and finds herself in a world she’s only dreamed of being a part of. Things get complicated, however, when there’s a murder and Luci is made the scapegoat. Emboldened by her desire to help, Laura is quickly in over her head and must decide where she wants to be and whose side she’s on.

The Review

The story opens on New Year’s Eve in 1923. We see the final four gods, Susanoo, Baal, Amaterasu and Minerva, sitting around a table with Ananke presiding over them. Around the table in front of eight empty seats are the skulls of the eight gods who preceded the final four in death.

When Ananke asks if there will be further gospel and none of the four reply, Ananke tells them it’s been a pleasure. With tears in her eyes as she leaves, Ananke tells the quartet that she loves them and that she’ll miss them. Susanoo, Baal, Amaterasu and Minerva sit in silence before Susanoo asks if they have time for a drink or forty. Baal replies in the negative and Susanoo regretfully states that it’s goodbye then.

Amaterasu objects, saying that it’s never goodbye, but “au revoir. Just au revoir.” The four of them count down as they snap their fingers, causing the house they’re in to explode into a spectacular fireball. Watching the explosion and subsequent rain of debris from outside, Ananke murmurs to herself that, “Once again, we return.”

We move forward in time just over ninety years to New Year’s Day, 2014. Seventeen year old Laura prepares to attend Amaterasu’s concert in Brockley, South London. She narrates to readers that she doesn’t want her parents to know that she’s sneaking out to the concert, because she wants the experience to be entirely her own. As she steps into the bathroom to do her makeup, she tells readers that with every stroke of eyeliner, sprinkle of glitter and her red wig, that she wants to be seen as a god.

As the concert starts in the crowded club, Laura reverently states that no one believes that Amaterasu is seventeen as well, because according to her fans, she’s the epitome of immortality. As the rest of her fans revel in her music, Laura tells readers that it doesn’t matter that no one understands the words, Amaterasu’s words still mean everything to them and that every second is the best of Laura’s life. Laura also says that Amaterasu is better than many of the others such as Baal, Sakhmet, Inanna and Tara.

It’s a blatant orgy of bliss, adoration, euphoria and worship as Laura feels Amaterasu’s eyes on hers. Around her, a young woman passes out, hyperventilating while another young man experiences an orgasm. Amaterasu smiles at Laura and Laura feels as though she’s floating in bliss, before she too, loses consciousness. While you could argue that Amaterasu is using her power to induce such euphoria in her fans, it’s a prime comparison to the obsession and desire many fans in the celebrity-obsessed culture have towards stars today.

As Laura comes to, she loses her breath as she’s greeted by the Ziggy Stardust-inspired Lucifer, who introduces herself as “Father of Lies, The Adversary, Lord of Flies, The Old Serpent, God of This World, Dragon, The Lightbringer, Apollyon,” before telling Laura to call her Luci. Laura nearly has a meltdown, thinking that Luci has used her powers before Luci tells her that all she did was go through her wallet. When Luci says that it’s a shame that Laura is seventeen, we as readers get an undercurrent of flirtation from the god, made even more apparent when she extends Laura an offer to meet Amaterasu. When Laura tells Luci that she’d do anything to meet Amaterasu and that she’s everything to her, she tries to backtrack and state that she loved Luci in Brixton as well. Luci simply shrugs it off, stating “Please. I am not a jealous God. Quite the opposite, in fact. Come with me.”

As they walk into the exclusive suite, Luci warns Laura not to embarrass her as she’s her guest. Laura nearly has another conniption fit when she spots Sakhmet lounging on the couch. Amaterasu is the middle of an interview with Cassandra and her camera crew and she tells her that they’re gods who live to inspire and that they make life worth living for an evening at a time. When Cassandra questions what happens after they’ve been gods for two years, Amaterasu states that they go away for a time.

Cassandra, meanwhile, doesn’t believe that Amaterasu or any of the others are gods. “Just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. I know the PR line. Forget “Amaterasu”. Forget whatever bullshit you’ve bought into-reincarnation, God-souls and fuck knows what else. You are Hazel Greenway. You are a seventeen year old from Exeter. If this is true, you’ll be dead before you turn twenty. If you really believe that, how can you be so calm?” Cassandra believes that Amaterasu’s demeanor means it’s a hoax but Amaterasu tells her that she spent her whole life wishing she was special and then she finds out that she is and that nothing is without a price. She no longer feels like Hazel, she is Amaterasu and her story must continue and it must end.

Cassandra brings up that once a century, they get ‘The Reccurence’ where the gods supposedly die. When it happened in 1923, there was footage of flickering black & white people freaking out and now, there’s history of everything from drugging audiences to mass hysteria. She’s been to see every single one of the gods and yet, doesn’t feel a thing. Luci retorts with “And this is different to normal how exactly?” When Amaterasu tells Luci to back off, Cassandra replies with “Do you know what I see? Kids posturing with a Wikipedia summary’s understanding of myth. I see a wannabe who’s never got past the Bowie in her parents’ embarrassingly retro record collection. I see a provincial girl who doesn’t understand how cosplaying a Shinto God is problematic at best and offensive at worst. I see someone who’s been convinced that acting like a fucking cat is a dignified way for a woman to behave!”

After that verbal onslaught, Luci maliciously attacks Cassandra for being transgender. “You know, I’ve had the misfortune of watching your tedious videos. And I was wondering…Are you actually called “Cassandra” or are you just another hypocritical little parasite? That’s enough click-bait forage. This interview is—“Cassandra slings it back as good as she can with “ F-fuck you! Are you that scared of the questions? I haven’t even mentioned the fucking “miracles”. A little SFX shaky leaked camera footage has to help ticket sales. If you can perform miracles, why keep it so quiet?”

The escalating argument is interrupted by Sakhmet, who, distracted by a red dot on Luci, pounces on her the way a cat would. As Luci scolds Sakhmet for her actions, Cassandra states that the farce isn’t impressing anyone. Sakhmet pounces on her as well after the red dot moves towards Cassandra’s direction.

Luci warns whoever has the pointer to stop teasing Sakhmet and Laura finally speaks up by holding the pointer. Without warning, automatic machine gunfire decimates the room, killing two of Sakhmet’s entourage. As the gods and Laura take shelter behind the furniture, Luci tells Laura to hold her cigarette as she’s fucking furious and done playing nice. As Amaterasu tries to hold Luci back, in a display of power, the windows completely shatter and Luci stands in front of the two gunmen, completely bathed in red light. They fire upon her, yelling the words “Die Lucifer!” Luci sarcastically thanks them for guessing her name and snaps her fingers three times, exploding the gunmen’s skulls.

In the aftermath, Luci turns to Cassandra and answers the reporter’s earlier question. “Why would we be so coy with the miracle, Cassandra? Maybe we didn’t want to scare the shit out of you?”

Luci is then taken into custody by the police and we join the court proceedings in progress. When Luci questions the judge on what she’s done wrong, the judge claims she knows exactly what she’s done. Luci argues that all she did was click her fingers. “Surely, it’s for the court to prove a causal link between my actions and those poor murderous men’s untimely deaths? Some manner of expert who can explain how the finger click makes me responsible? There’s no science. No murder weapon. No anything. It sounds more like…oh, I don’t know. An act of God, maybe? Now, if the court wants to rule that I’m a God, I’ll have to live with that. But I have to say that’s a veeeeery interesting precedent to set.” The judge tells Luci that if she doesn’t stop the line of argument, that she’ll be held in contempt of court. Luci sarcastically apologizes for the offence.

The judge states that Luci is no god but that until the matter is settled, she is responsible for any unexplained phenomena in her vicinity and that she must respect that. Luci retorts back that if she snaps her fingers, she’s some kind of criminal? The judge then declares her in contempt of court and it’s made to look as though Luci snaps her fingers and the judge’s head explodes.

As Luci is led away from the court room by officials, she tells the audience at large that she didn’t do anything, that it was just a finger click. Laura, sitting in the gallery for the court proceedings, narrates that she knew Luci didn’t do anything but she was the only one who believed Luci.

As Laura watches, Luci begs Amaterasu to get Ananke to help. The story then cuts to Laura at home watching the news with her parents. Baal is being questioned and he steadfastly believes that Luci should not have been in court because there were gunmen trying to kill her and everyone in the room. The talk show host opposite him says that Luci is accused of killing the judge as they do have to question the one in the room who still has her head. The host then insinuates that Baal condones violence. When the Baal states that he condones it more than putting up with the host’s bullshit, the host then claims that they’re all dangers. Baal states that he’s had enough of this, that they’re no better than the Pantheon, he’s better than them.

As Laura narrates that she loves Baal, her dad says that it’s a messed up hoax. Laura also says that the audience may be wondering why her parents aren’t asking her about her eyewitness account. It’s because they believe she’s in college. Meanwhile, Laura researches into Ananke and discovers that she is the personification of necessity and that she is the absolute ruler of destiny and fate for gods and mortals alike.

As Laura prepares to visit Luci in prison, she narrates that she knows for sure that she’s failing her A Levels and that it doesn’t matter to her because her future is either as someone who helps that Pantheon or nothing at all. Laura gets into Luci’s cell and tells her that she knows no one has been to see her and that Laura herself only got in because she called Luci’s lawyer, name-dropping Ananke.

Luci praises her for the undercover work and then flirts with Laura saying that she must feel terrible that they didn’t consummate their earlier flirtation. They could try now, but the screen makes it somewhat tricky as intangible cunnilingus may be beyond even Luci’s abilities. When Luci chastises Laura for not bringing her any cocaine or even a cigarette, Laura asks her who Ananke is because she wants to help her find her. Luci deadpans, “Heh. You know the story. Twelve gods, reincarnate, ninety years, et cetera. A sad, sad story of lives wasted being truly divine. She’s the one who breaks the wonderful news. She’s the one we don’t talk about.”

Luci reveals to Laura about the night that Ananke awoke her, notifying her that she was Lucifer. Ananke told her, “You are of the Pantheon. You will be loved. You will be hated. You will be brilliant. Within two years, you will be dead. You are the lord of the pit. Of eternal fire. Of inspiration. Or rebellion. Of damnation. We meet again, Lucifer. I’ve missed you.”

As she tells Laura her story, Luci also reveals more about Ananke. “She’s the caretaker for our kind. She’s been there from the beginning. She finds us and helps us. She tries her hardest to keep us safe and gives us the very best advice….I suspect disobeying her is why she hasn’t come. I suspect no wanting to annoy her any further is why I haven’t broken out.” Luci claims to Laura that even her hubris has its limits and that sitting in jail has made her realize the horrible truth: she needs to be on a stage. If she can’t do that, then everything is pointless.

When Luci asks Laura for her name again, she makes Laura an offer: if Laura helps her, Luci can change her into one of her disciples. When Laura asks what makes her so special, Luci’s reply is both poignant and heart-breaking. “Because Lucifer is in Hell. And you’re the only one who came.” The scene ends with the two of them touching fingers across the narrow open slot in Luci’s cell.

On her quest to help, Laura meets with Cassandra at the National Portrait Gallery about Ananke. Cassandra seems surprised that Laura knows about Ananke as Cassandra has a Masters in comparative mythology and did her thesis on the stories around the Recurrence. When Laura asks her if that’s why she’s so bitter, Cassandra says that she’s bitter because it was all lies and that Luci is such a bitch. When Laura sarcastically mentions Luci blowing up the gunmen’s heads, Cassandra states that it’s not what they do that’s a lie, it’s when they speak the tongues. It does nothing and it means nothing.

When Laura says Cassandra’s wrong, Cassandra said she’s fucking doomed. “You really think the latest incarnation of Mad, Bad and Dangerous To Know didn’t kill the judge?” When Laura comes to Luci’s defence, Cassandra mentions that she could lie as Satan does that. Laura points out that it’s not exclusively the Devil who lies, people lie as well.

When Laura says that they need to help Luci but that they don’t know what they can do. Cassandra interjects that she has a student loan’s worth of information. “It’s a fire god, or someone who could abstractly play with fire, like a sky god. Maybe some chthonic….I mean underworld…gods too. Amaterasu, who was there. Baal, probably. Sakhmet, definitely. Woden, Inanna, Minerva, The Morrigan…possibly. Tara? Who knows about Tara? We don’t know whether she’s Buddhist, Hindu or Tara from fucking Buffy.” Cassandra deduces that they’ll be going to Woden’s Valhalla and that she’ll be able to get in by invoking Ananke’s name. She tells Laura to talk to one of the others.

Laura elects to go see The Morrigan. She narrates that she’s seen Baal in East London, she was crying in the front row every night when Inanna was in Camden. She’s also see Lucifer in Brixton, Minerva in Shepherd’s Bush, Sakhmet everywhere from Bethnal Green to O2 Arena and Tara in the West End. But she says that Morrigan’s not like the others. The others are pop stars and Morrigan’s more underground.

They have to break into a closed London Tube station for the concert and Laura shares some of the myths surrounding Morrigan with readers. “They say if you try and take a photo of her, when you check the shot, nine times out of ten you’ll see a picture of who you’re going to fall in love with…at the moment of their death. If you’re the one in ten who actually gets a photo of her, and you try to put the shot online, the “like” button is replaced by a new one reading “DOOM” and the only woman who’s allowed to click it already has. They say lots of things. She sounds like the worst thing in the world. She sounds perfect.”

No one waiting for the concert says a word, not even any of Morrigan’s names as they wait for the concert. After half an hour, someone asks if Morrigan is coming. A male voice answers ‘No’, before snapping his fingers and lighting up the ceiling with racing flames. When Laura asks who the hell he is. Baphomet seemingly holds up Morrigan’s head as he says, “the new king of the underground.”

Baphomet orders the rest of them to pay homage to him and throws the head of Morrigan at them to ‘show them how it’s done’. Among the lines the head spouts praising Baphomet include, “Baphomet is a serious intellectual capable of culture allusions! TS Eliot is an anagram of toilets! This is something Baphomet knows. Baphomet thinks “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” should be tattooed on every birth canal as warning to exiting children! Baphomet is definitely not fucking with you.”

Suddenly, the real Morrigan walks out of tunnel, accompanied by dozens of black birds, condemning Baphomet. “A little prop of meat and bone? To scare the Queen’s believers? For that, beaks will fuck your pretty little eyes out. And The Morrigan will be Queen long after her little king is spent.” When Baphomet scoffs at the threat and tells Morrigan that he thought she didn’t want anyone to see her bad side, she tells him that he will cum blood before the night is over and that when he’s dead, she’ll see if there’s any part of him that takes her fancy.

Baphomet retaliates by stating that Morrigan “Do you know how many people thought it was a good idea to throw themselves onto the tracks here? I do. Why don’t you come and join them? We both know how good you look in sheets. Why bother delaying anything? You’re walking dead and a fucking idiot to pretend otherwise. It’s the lesson you never learn, miss immortal. No one gets out of here alive.”

Laura, desperate for a distraction, picks up the Morrigan head and states that she never knew Morrigan and that aren’t they all here to play? The Morrigan head answers that it’s beneath them, the underworld is a play that they’re failing at badly. The head is then transported back onto Morrigan’s body and she and Baphomet face off. They decide to count down and snap their fingers to destroy the station. As Laura watches, paralyzed in fear, the walls of each panel start to close in on her and it fades to black as she says they’re all going to die.

The cops finally arrive and try to break up the situation. Unfortunately, Baphomet snaps his fingers, causing one of the cops to be lit on fire. As everyone else, including Laura thinks that the cop is dead, another concertgoer known as Gentle Annie snaps her fingers and wakes up the cop as though nothing happened.

During the commotion, Morrigan slips away down the tunnel and Laura runs after her. When she catches up with Morrigan, she tells her that they need to find Baphomet as he killed the judge, framing Luci. Morrigan tells Laura that it wasn’t the case as she was Baphomet’s alibi as they were having sex at the time. Telling Laura she wishes she could help more as Luci is one of theirs, Morrigan leaves Laura with this farewell. “You’re a good girl. If you come to the dark and call, The Morrigan will be there for you. Or BadB if things are that bad. Hope they never are. Fare ye well and all that crap.” Laura is then arrested.

As she gets home after her parents pay her bail, Laura narrates to the audience as they argue with her. She says that she’s paying attention to what her parents have to say, more than it appears she is. She’s saying things she doesn’t mean and she regrets it already and regrets readers seeing this but that it doesn’t stop her. She wishes that her parents were angrier, that they would stop her and judge her more. But most of all, she just wants it to be over.

When Laura meets with Cassandra next, she tells her about what she found out regarding Baphomet but that he has an alibi. Cassandra says that she was able to get into Woden’s Valhalla and that everyone was in attendance, other than Tara. She tells Laura that she needs to know exactly what Luci said about each one of them. In a flashback, Luci tells Laura that “I’d love it to be Tara, but this isn’t her style. If she did it, she’s want everyone to know. She’d have done an art installation about her very special murder.” Then Cassandra asks about Amaterasu. Luci tells Laura, “She’s a sappy cow. She cries when she passes adverts for free-range eggs. She’s also my best friend. Entirely incapable of jealousy, and, trust me, I’ve tried my hardest to provoke it. Genre tropes dictate it was probably her. It’d explain why she hasn’t visited…” When Cassandra asks Laura about what Luci told her about Ananke, all Luci says is that Ananke “is disappointed in me. She knows more than we do. But this just doesn’t seem very her.” Cassandra says that it’s a dumb idea to entertain it but she still asks about Inanna.

Luci tells Laura that Inanna “has a meaner streak than people realize…but it’s still a tiny dash on a marble or pure loveliness. I’d like it to be him, jut to dirty him up a little. As in, ethically rather than sexually. G-O-D knows he doesn’t need to get any dirtier sexually. I’d never admit this to anyone else, but he even tired me out..” Cassandra then asks for information about Sakhmet and Woden and in the flashbacks, Luci tells Laura that Sakhmet doesn’t have anything against her, other than her body, more than once. And Luci also claims that Woden has sexual fantasies about Asian girls. Luci dismisses Minerva as a threat in her conversations with Laura as Minerva is only 12, but admits that she doesn’t know her that well as she doesn’t have much time for her.

Luci finishes off her critique of her fellow gods by saying that Baal was never her type and he wasn’t happy that she slept with his boyfriend.

Cassandra tells Laura that it’s being kept under wraps but Baal and Inanna had a screaming fight at the Pantheon’s retreat the day before. Inanna stormed out and Baal came close to putting him through the wall. Cassandra says that she bets it’s Baal Hammon, the Carthaginian god of fuck you. Laura surmises that he has a grudge, so Cassandra labels him a suspect.

They’re interrupted by Baal himself, who tells them that if they’re going to be haters behind his back, they better make sure they’re behind his back.

Baal takes Cassandra, her crew and Laura to Woden’s Valhalla where they see a large mural of Baal. When Cassandra accuses him of being egotistical, Baal states that when you’re as good as he is, it’s humble. Cassandra reminds Baal that he threatened them with his lawyers unless they got in his car. Baal states that he would’ve preferred just to throw the lawyers at them as a rabid fan and a rabid ‘journalist’ aren’t his scene. “If you’re going to spew some of your venom, girl, here’s your quote: “I’ve always claimed I’m a god, even before I knew I was one.” But as for your conspiracy theory? Understand there’s gods and there’s gods, and you’ve got the wrong one. I’m not Baal Hammon. I’m Baal Hadad. Yeah, both sky gods. One had a much bigger line in having kids roasted…I don’t do fire. I do lightning. I do power. And I stop your heart if I look at you in the right way.”

Laura, feeling brave, asks Baal why he put Inanna through the wall. Baal corrects her that he nearly put Inanna through the wall. He states that Inanna didn’t agree with how they were all dealing with the situation with Luci. He wanted to go to her and Baal said that it would fuck everything up, they have to let everything play out. Baal states that if they had a choice, it wouldn’t be going down this way.

Cassandra argues that they do have choices, that Baal could do anything with his life. “What does it matter what I do? In two years I’ll be dead, and I won’t see any of you for another ninety. Assuming Baal decides to make an appearance next time. We don’t get to change anything. We get to change you, and then you choose what to do with it,” Baal replies heatedly.

“When I speak, people know that in my gut, I’m bad. They feel better about being bad in their guts. No one has to lie to me. I let people stop lying to themselves. I’m not afraid of who I am. And that’s lucky, because there’s no fucking choice,” Baal says as he leads Laura into the room where Ananke wants to meet.

As Cassandra is left behind, Baal tells Laura that he found their location because one of Cassandra’s group on Twitter sold them out. When Laura attempts to get indignant, Baal tells her that she would do the same. Through narration, Laura agrees.

Around the room, Sakhmet lounges while Minerva sits next to a prototype of the Owlphone. Ananke appraises Laura from her seat while Baal takes his seat, already forgetting Laura’s existence. Amaterasu is the only one who greets Laura with a wave.

Ananke thanks Laura for trying to help Luci as she’s been so alone, but that it’s for her own good, it’s for everyone’s good. A miracle, says Ananke, is beyond explanation. It’s the reason why, she tells Laura, that they’ve never used their other abilities publicly against mortals. They use them against each other is natural as it’s private and deniable and that gods have not always seen eye to eye. “But, we have defences,” Ananke says. “Against a human? Any of us with the power of fire could have done it. Even from many miles away.”

Sakhmet states that she could’ve done it and that she’s previously done worse. Woden says he couldn’t have done anything himself but he could’ve given something to his girls, he could have given something to anyone, including one of the others. Amaterasu says that she couldn’t have done anything, not because she’s incapable but because she doesn’t want to believe she could’ve framed Luci. Ananke says that Luci was playing games that she shouldn’t have and Baal deduces that it could’ve been Ananke all along. “We don’t openly act on humans because this is how it ends up. We are beyond them. We can only police ourselves,” Ananke tells Laura. “And there has been times when it has all gone wrong. The humans are not as defenceless as they think.” Woden says that Luci staying in her cell keeps her safe, keeps them all safe.

Ananke says that Luci has always had trouble believing in the gods, including herself and they must do what they can to distance themselves from Luci in order to keep the belief in the gods alive. Otherwise, this could be the last Recurrance and the inspiration would leave the world forever. According to Ananke, if Luci stays in jail until the end of the cycle, then so be it.

Laura tries to argue Luci’s case by stating that Baphomet killed a cop that Morrigan brought back to life but Ananke says it’s deniable as it was in private. Laura claims it’s not fair but Ananke states that it’s not fair for anyone of them, that they don’t enjoy it but they do what they do, for eternity. She tells Laura to tell Luci that they love her.

Laura calls them out, claiming that it’s bullshit, that one of them is the murderer and they don’t seem to care that every one of them could be sitting next to a killer. Ananke simply apologizes and simply states that “Tell Lucifer, above all else, it is not too late not to be foolish.”

Laura delivers the bad news to Luci and Luci states that none of the others get it the way she does, she knows that it’s not going to be OK. Laura tries to reassure Luci by stating that she’ll find something. But Luci has decided to completely disregard everything. She doesn’t care about the next life when she has a perfectly good one now.

Laura gives her the cigarettes that she smuggled in and Luci uses them to light a fire that breaks her cuffs, melts her cell and allows her to blow a hole through the wall of the police station, allowing her to escape. When Laura begs her to not get herself killed, Luci scoffs that all Laura really wanted was the slice of power she promised her. Luci admits to her that she lied, that there’s nothing she could do for her.

Luci says that it’s not surprising that she lied, maybe she was the one who killed the judge. Laura steadfastly says Luci didn’t do it but Luci leaves anyway. Before she leaves, Luci does tell her “Thank you for trying, Laura. I was hoping so much you could do something. Alas, all you did was remove the possibility of hope. How annoying.” As Laura tells her not to do it, Luci leaves the ruins of the police station behind.

As Laura tries desperately to get pass the police blockade a mile away from Holloway prison, desperate to talk to Luci, Cassandra shows up and says that Luci can reap what she sows. Amaterasu comes barreling through, saying that she needs to have a word with Luci. Amaterasu tells Luci that she doesn’t have to do this, she’s a star. She broke the rules and Amaterasu reminds her that she told her not to but that she still loves her. Luci vehemently states that she’d rather die than go back.

Baal arrives and he and Luci engage in a fight as he says that she can’t act like this. “Oh Baal..” Luci says. “What part of leave me alone is so difficult to understand?” Sakhmet also joins in the fray. Laura, realizing that the others mean to kill Luci, she grabs Cassandra and goes running for the nearest tube station. Just as Laura nearly gets hit by a train, Morrigan rescues her and she tells her exactly what’s going on.

Luci crouches, momentarily winded as both Baal and Sahkmet order her to go back to prison. With Morrigan’s black birds providing cover, Laura grabs Luci’s hand and they run to safety. Laura tries to get them to stop filming but Luci orders them not to. She realizes that she hurt so many people without meaning to and apologizes to Cassandra for hurting her on being transgender. Cassandra tells Luci to shove her apology as Laura concocts a plan to have Luci live with Morrigan.

As Luci steps outside the threshold, however, Ananke is waiting for her. She tells her she loves her and snaps her fingers, causing Luci’s head to explode. Amaterasu and Morrigan grieve as Gentle Annie tells Laura that she can’t bring Luci back, she’s dead for good.

Ananke requests to speak on camera to Cassandra’s team to make people understand. “I am Ananke of the Pantheon. I have been around as long as the gods have. I guard them. I keep their secrets. I train them. I try to prevent…this. There is nothing you can do to stop or control us. We police our own. I will speak to your leaders. I will make this clear. I understand you will be afraid…for your comfort, I can say only this. I have spent my entire existence serving the pantheon. And the truth? Mortals have always shown more interest in god than gods ever have in mortals. Generally speaking, gods desire nothing by adoration. Enough, leave us to mourn.”

The story ends with Laura’s narration on how she was interviewed over and over again. She thought having her face on the news is what she wanted but it really wasn’t. She felt like a stranger to herself and she thinks that she might be depressed. She thought about the legacy Luci left behind, including memories, hatred and a little wonder. Laura takes out the last cigarette that Luci left her and snaps her fingers, completely shocked that it lights the cigarette. It’s clear now, that Laura is also more than just an ordinary human and that her involvement with the Pantheon isn’t over.

Final Thoughts

I found the idea of limited immortality intriguing in that every single one of the twelve gods could only live 2 years before waiting another ninety to be reincarnated. It’s also interesting that that not all of the twelve gods make an appearance in Vol 1, so there is more intrigue as to what the stories of the other 5 gods will be like. I look forward to exploring more about their stories and the how and why Ananke keeps each Reccurance on schedule.

While I understand that they must keep their powers hidden as much as possible, it seems hypocritical of them to turn on Luci for defending them all against actual assailants with guns. So, the laws that govern the Pantheon state that they can’t even defend themselves? I also found it completely unacceptable and out of left field that the court system held Luci in jail for unexplained phenomena (ie. the gunmen’s heads exploding) when there was no physical forensic evidence that she did anything. Yes, you could argue that there were eyewitnesses but many of them were still hiding behind furniture due to the oncoming gunshots. I know that Ananke warns all of them as they are awakened in their new incarnations that they’ll also be hated but I wondered how much of that hate is because of their fame and fortune as rock stars? Is that why the gunmen tried to kill them? I also question Baal’s assertion that they don’t have a choice. Yes, they’re still going to die within 2 years, but presumably, they lived normal lives prior to being awakened. Was becoming music stars really the only path forward to being a god?

Regarding the 21st century incarnations of the gods as music stars, I definitely appreciate the nod towards David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust in Luci’s incarnation. But gods as famous musicians is definitely a critique of today’s popular music scene. Yes, there are many fans who are obsessive and who treat their celebrity musicians as gods and there is inherently an edge of unhealthy naiveté and danger as many of these fans cross the line into stalking and murder and a lot of their own naiveté means that the fans don’t know what they’re getting into as well. That’s Laura’s problem as a character. While I give her credit for genuinely caring about Luci and wanting to help, her fangirl obsessiveness and immaturity in the situation really grated on me. I felt as though she walked into every situation, not fully understanding the ramifications of what she was involved in and focused more on having near meltdowns over her favorite music stars. Laura is part of the problematic obsessive fan culture that I mentioned earlier and I feel as though it clouded her judgement on the situation. Yes, she tried to help Luci, but it wasn’t her job to help. So much of the Pantheon was outside her understanding and her naiveté almost got her killed. Ultimately, with this new change in her character, I can only hope for more growth in the following volumes.

Cassandra, on the other hand, is all of us who are rational, skeptical thinkers who frequently ask questions and analyze the information we’ve been given. Yes, she comes off with a chip on her shoulder but ultimately has the clear head that Laura is lacking to get to the bottom of true situation at hand. Thanks to her education as well, she is relatively calm and unflappable in the face of the danger at hand. Even Luci, in her own way, garners some sympathetic understanding as she realizes too late what her rebellion has cost her.

Overall, it is the story of the Recurrance, all of the twelve gods and what’s next for them, that has me looking forward to Vol 2.

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