by Spencer Irwin
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
The first part of the “Imperial Phase” storyline was all about answering the question “what comes next?” — all about the Pantheon figuring out how to proceed after Ananke’s death, and generally doing so in the most self-indulgent manner possible. In The Wicked + The Divine 29, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson kick off the second part of “Imperial Phase” by asking the same exact question, only this time in the aftermath of Sakhmet’s deadly attack on her followers. The Pantheon’s answers to that question don’t appear to have changed much.
By that, I mean that there’s a palpable lack of urgency to the Pantheon’s response, despite the great danger Sakhmet being at large now poses to the Pantheon’s reputation, followers, and even perhaps their very own lives. The Pantheon do make efforts to try to track down Sakhmet, but never let it distract them from their own previously planned missions, from the paths of battle, study, or anarchy they chose back in issue 26. Baal trains Minerva to fight the Great Darkness even as he strategizes a search for Sakhmet, and Woden and the Norns are definitely working the search in around their plans to activate Ananke’s machine.
The only character who truly seems shaken by Sakhmet’s actions is Persephone, and that’s mainly due to their intimate relationship. Like the others, she tries to return to the hedonism that’s defined the past few months of her life, but it can no longer distract her from her problems. She’s finally grown past Sakhmet’s influence on her, just in time to confront her face-to-face.
This isn’t to say that the Pantheon’s other concerns aren’t important — hell, I’d even call Dionysus planting himself underground to check up on Baphomet noble — but just that they’re letting their own desires, noble or not, distract them from things going on right in front of their faces. This might be most evident with Amaterasu.
I can’t tell whether Amaterasu legitimately doesn’t realize how her words triggered Sakhmet or if she just doesn’t want to admit her culpability in the attack, but either way it continues to demonstrate how the Pantheon’s personal concerns are blinding them to the true urgency of the Sakhmet situation. Between that and the fact that Sakhmet was set off by the Pantheon lying to her in the first place, Sakhmet’s attack — and whatever she has planned next — may just be the Pantheon’s sins and faults coming back to bite them in their own behinds.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?