by Spencer Irwin
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
It should be no surprise that almost every character in Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked + The Divine are hiding major secrets, nor that, as the series enters its final year, more and more of those secrets are coming to light. What might be a bit surprising, though, is how well the cast leverages these secrets — both their own and others’ — in order to get what they want. Secrets can be a liability, but in the world of WicDiv, they’re just as often an asset, a weapon just waiting to be fired.
Despite several major confrontations and spectacle-filled escapes, the most tense moment in WicDiv is a conversation between Cassandra and Minvera — one held not face-to-face, but over text message at that! Both gods are playing a game with each other, trying to decide what information and how much detail to reveal to get what they want from the other.
Information and secrets are a weapon here, as Cassandra tries to dangle just enough details to entice Minerva, while Minerva (or, more likely, Ananke in control of Minerva) eventually decides to divulge one of Baal’s secrets to throw Cass and Laura off her trail. The fact that Baal lied about his exact identity and has been involved in child sacrifices is a major shock that absolutely needs to be addressed, but it’s also a distraction from the even greater threat of Ananke, Woden, and their talking heads. I’d say Ananke has won this round, but I suppose that’s no surprise: if this is a war fought with secrets, then she has more ammunition than anyone.
It seems notable that the gods who have always seemed most noble, clear-headed, and trustworthy (Baal and Minerva) are not only hiding some major dark secrets, but hiding their true identities entirely. Gillen and McKelvie are painting secrets, not just as weapons, but as ones wielded by the “bad guys,” while Cass and Laura are only lying to their enemies, with Cassandra’s mission as she exits the issue explicitly being to “tell the truth” to pretty much everyone else. It’s a pretty major moral divide, and it might just be all that separates the heroes from the villains in this series.
Although he doesn’t appear in this issue, I can’t help but to think about Baphomet. He too has been hiding his true identity — he’s actually Nergal, not Baphomet at all, remember? Does this mean he’ll end up just as dangerous as Baal or Minerva? Or perhaps, since he was introduced in more of an antagonistic role compared to those two, and since his secret is one forged by his own insecurities and hidden out of shame, not malice, his secret is one that will eventually put him into place as a more heroic figure? And what of Laura, who last issue implied that she still has one major bombshell of a secret of her own waiting in the wings? As fun as it is to speculate, there may still be too much we don’t know to get an accurate reading just yet. What’s clear, though, is that secrets might just be The Wicked + The Divine‘s greatest weapon of all.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?