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Comic Book / The Wicked + The Divine

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Laura on the left, Luci on the right.

"I want everything you have."

The Wicked + The Divine is a comic series written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Jamie McKelvie, colored by Matt Wilson, and lettered by Clayton Cowles. It is published by Image Comics.

Every ninety years, twelve gods return as young people. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are all dead. The year is 2014. It's happening again. It's happening now.

This is the latest "Recurrence", as the gods put it, and they're the sensation that's sweeping the nation. Equivalent to rockstars, they perform in sold out shows, hold crazy raves, and have die-hard fans. One such fan is Laura, who's been to see every god she can. She especially loves Amaterasu, but things take a turn for the mysterious when she is personally greeted by the prince of lies, Lucifer (or Luci as she calls herself). Soon she finds herself caught up in a conspiracy involving all of the gods, their mysterious backer, and her frenemy Cassandra as they try to unravel the truth about the recurrence.


The series is divided into 8 arcs:

  • The Faust Act: Issues #1-5
  • Fandemonium: Issues #6-11
  • Commercial Suicide: Issues #12-17
  • Rising Action: Issues #18-22
  • Imperial Phase (Part 1): Issues #23-28
  • Imperial Phase (Part 2): Issues #29-33
  • Mothering Invention: Issues #34-39
  • “Okay”: Issues #40-45

In addition, several one-shots done by guest artists spotlight the Pantheons from previous Recurrences. These are collected in the 8th TPB called Old is the New New, released March 2019, in the middle of the final arc. While they were published in the order listed below, the trade orders them by plot year.

  • 1831 AD features a Pantheon inspired by the Romantic Authors of the era and was released in September 2016, between Rising Action and Imperial Phase.
  • 455 AD focuses on the Lucifer of that time during the sacking of the Roman Empire and was released on May 2017, between Imperial Phase (Part 1) and Imperial Phase (Part 2).
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  • 1923 AD shows the events leading up to the demise of the pantheon briefly seen at the beginning of the series and was released February 2018, between Imperial Phase (Part 2) and Mothering Invention.
  • 1373 AD takes place after the Black Plague ravages Europe and tells “the story of penitent nun Lucifer hearing the confession of penitent murderer Ananke.” Released September 2018, between Mothering Invention and “Okay”.

Two one-shots were Something Completely Different: collections of shorts done by different artists (and writers, in The Funnies). Included in the Old is the New New trade.

  • The Christmas Annual has short stories which occurred around the time of The Faust Act and Fandemonium, and was released December 2017, between Imperial Phase (Part 2) and Mothering Invention.
  • The Funnies is a collection of humorous shorts (ranging from Loose Canon to Bizarro Episode), including “The Wicked + The Canine,” by various creator friends. Released November 2018, between Mothering Invention and “Okay”.

In May 2015 it was announced that Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick will be producing a television adaption of the series (as well as the former's comic, Sex Criminals) with Universal. No creative talent have been attached to the project as of yet.

This comic book series provides examples of:

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  • Abusive Parents: Woden to a T.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Luci almost says this word-for-word when talking about Sakhmet being teased with a laser pointer.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Commercial Suicide Arc (starting in issue #12) gives focus to different under-developed members of the pantheon in each issue. #12 is Baal, #13 is Tara, #14 is Woden, #15 is Amaterasu, #16 is the Morrigan (and Baphomet), and #17 is Sakhmet.
  • A God Am I: The Pantheon, as part as the Deity of Human Origin theme. Special mention to Amaterasu and Baal, the former who starts a cult and the latter who says he knew he was a god before the ascension.
    • A God I Am Not: It is discovered this is the true way to break the cycle. After Ananke shows the remaining Pantheon the truth, they realize they had never been actual gods, only pretending to be gods, in a case of Your Mind Makes It Real. Lucifer flips this around, since she, Satan, is definitely not a god, she doesn't believe the rules apply to her... until Laura convinces her to stop anyway.
  • Alas, Poor Yorick: Laura's "Shakespeare in the Dark" scene from #3 is a direct reference to the trope namer. She picks up the fake Morrigan head, makes a Shakespeare-esque speech, which convinces Baph and Morri to stop fighting.
  • And Then What?: Imperial Phase (Part 1) is essentially a whole arc about this trope. They killed Ananke, what do they do next? Imperial Phase (Part 2) seems to indicate the answer is start to turn on each other and cause all kinds of trouble.
  • Anyone Can Die: Luci, who was often billed as almost a Deuteragonist along with Laura, seemingly dies in issue #5.
    • And Laura, ostensibly the protagonist and Audience Surrogate of the series, seemingly dies in issue #11. Inanna, another Pantheon member who features heavily, seemingly dies too.
    • Tara seemingly dies in issue #13, just after she's been properly introduced.
    • Ananke is offed by Laura in #22.
    • Amaterasu is murdered by Sakhmet in #31.
    • Sakhmet is killed by Minerva in #32, and Dionysus is rendered braindead in the same issue.
    • Badb kills Baphomet and then as Gentle Annie revives him at the cost of her own life in #37.
    • Issue #42, Minerva kills David/Woden and Baphomet revives Dionysus at the cost of his life.
  • Arc Words:
    • 1-2-3-4
    • Once again, we return (to this).
    • Necessity.
    • I’ve missed you. / I will miss you.
  • Art Shift:
    • For the Fresco of Baal in the Valhalla. Though McKelvie drew the panels, they were coloured by Nathan Faibarn.
    • A minor one for issue #14's "remix", which reuses previous art with pixellation and recolouring overlaid on top to give a more computerized feel. Two pages of the issue are drawn by Chip Zdarsky, as they actually come from Sex Criminals.
    • The majority of the Commerical Suicide arc is done by different artists to match the style of the spotlighted characters. Amaterasu's is like expressive watercolor while Sahkmet's is a more gritty cartoon, graffiti-influenced style.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Whatever Urdr and Persephone find in the secret room in #32 causes Urdr to let out one.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Several of the gods were Pantheon fans when they were mortal, including Innana and Dionysus. Laura/Persephone is a big one. Cassandra/Urdr is more of an Ascended Anti-Fan, who continues to claim that it's all bullshit after becoming a god herself. Woden/David was a Pantheon scholar who traded his son's life for a chance to enjoy the hedonistic perks of godhood for two years without worrying about dying.
  • Badass Finger Snap: All the gods tend to work their powers by snapping their fingers.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The final issue opens with a middle-aged Laura driving to a spouse's funeral, giving the impression that it's Eleanor's. It's soon revealed, however, that Laura and Eleanor are exes and that the funeral is for Cass, Laura's actual wife.
  • Baphomet: He's one of the twelve reincarnated gods. He doesn't look anything like the demon's classic image, but does have a goat-skull sigil as a nod. It eventually turns out he's actually the Mesopotamian deity Nergal, but took the Baphomet name because he was afraid of getting Nurgle jokes.
  • Beat Panel: A noticeable one where Annie tells the cops not to follow her, immediately turns into Badb and threatens them, and then dissolves into crows. After that happens, everybody stares at where she was standing for a moment before a total riot breaks out.
  • The Beautiful Elite: All members of the pantheon are traditionally attractive. Gillen has said that this wasn't intentional when designing the characters, but it certainly works with the concept of their popularity.
  • Bedmate Reveal: The cliffhanger final page of #18, between Persephone and Baphomet.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Subverted. An early issue strongly implied that the Lord Byron of the WicDiv universe was an earlier incarnation of Lucifer. Though the 1831 Special continues this theme, Gillen's writer's notes state that the members of the Pantheon are not actually the figures they resemble; instead expies in a similar way that the modern Pantheon resemble musicians, and the one-shot about the 1831 Pantheon confirmed this. See the character page for the full list of connections.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Between Laura and Lucifer in issue #44, just as Lucifer is renouncing her godhood.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Most of the Pantheon is dead, but so is Ananke, meaning the Recurrence has ended for good and the survivors have been allowed to lead normal lives into middle age. Laura and Eleanor eventually (amicably, it seems) split up, but Laura then began a relationship with Cass, which led to a loving marriage that lasted decades until Cass' death.
  • Blessed with Suck: Get godly powers, live like a rockstar, die within two years - yeah, being a member of the Pantheon comes with a pretty hefty price. Several members think that said godly powers are reason enough to enjoy what they've got. Several... do not.
    • Tara doesn't even get that. She gets so much hate for merely existing that she wants to end her life.
    • Dionysus's powers seem like the coolest...until he admits he hasn't been alone in his head for over two months and can't sleep if any of his parties are going. By late in the Imperial Phase, it starts costing him to where Cass openly worries for his health.
  • Brown Note: The Morrigan causes this in pictures of her. 90% of the time, if you take a picture of her you instead get a picture of your true the moment of their death. The other 10% turn out properly, but when they're posted to facebook there's a "doom" button instead of a "like" button, and only The Morrigan can click it - which she always does.
    • Persephone's singing and powers seem to cause this in some listeners, with many collapsing and crying.
  • The Bus Came Back: Luci and Inanna at the end of Issue #41.
  • Butt-Monkey: Fucking Tara.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Laura at the end of Issue #5. Her eyes glow faintly red with her cigarette.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Inanna is genderqueer, Cassandra is trans, Baal has a boyfriend, Luci's up for whatever, and Sakhmet goes for Anything That Moves. It's implied that most gods check off a box there as well.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The flyers that people keep offering Laura at Fantheon end up being ads for Dionysus's first appearance - and the party that will follow.
  • Combining Mecha: Woden is capable of combining all his Valkyries into a single giant energy being.
  • Couch Gag: Every chapter begins and ends with the icon wheel, showing representations of each god as well as their status.
    • Some sections of the wheel are empty, representing gods not yet known by the media.
    • Dead gods have their icons replaced by skulls.
    • Any god held in captivity has bars over their icon.
    • When Baphomet bursts onto the scene, his icon appears for the first time in the wheel while wreathed in fire.
    • Dionysus's icon appears at the end of issue #7 between The Morrigan's and Inanna's. It's shown in colour in it's initial appearance to show that it's a bundle of pills hanging from the vine rather than grapes. They're shown in colour again at the end of #42, after Baph sacrifices himself to revive Dio.
    • When Dionysus's party gets started in issue #8, the wheel is... different.
    • Averted in issue #11, where the wheel doesn't change despite Persephone's appearance
    • When Luci and Inanna return with new bodies, the wheel at the end of issue #41 shows Luci’s symbol wreathed in flame and Inanna’s surrounded in his trademark purple sparkles.
  • Conversation Casualty: In #31, Sakhmet and Amaterasu have a conversation in a museum. Provoked by something she says, Sakhmet slices at Amaterasu's throat and leaves her to bleed out.
  • Crying Wolf: Ananke tells Morrigan that Persephone slept with Baphomet. Morrigan refuses to believe it, saying that Ananke's lied so often that Morrigan will never believe her again. Morrigan eventually discovers that she wasn't lying, though, and it doesn't end well.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Badb threatens to rip out Baphomet's shinbone and use it as a dildo.
  • Crawl: Over some of the news clips in issue #6. Most of them simply reiterate what the speakers themselves are saying, though there is one with Baphomet declaring himself to be none more goth.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Almost every pantheon is represented in the gods named in the first few issues, and even then not all of those present in the Recurrence are named.
    • Japanese Mythology: Amaterasu is present in the 2014 pantheon. She is also in the 1923 pantheon, along with Susanoo.
    • Christianity/Satanism: Lucifer has appeared in every pantheon that we've seen so far: 455, 1831, 1923, and 2014. Baphomet is also in the present day pantheon. Or not, since he's really Nergal.
    • Egyptian Mythology: Sakhmet of the 2014 pantheon is a very literal interpretation of the lion-faced god, acting like a cat while looking like a woman. Amon-Ra and Set both appeared in the 1923 pantheon, with Set incarnating as female. Thoth was mentioned as being a member of the 1831 pantheon, and being based on Edgar Allan Poe, he has a raven for a head instead of an ibis.
    • Classical Mythology:
      • Ananke, Greek goddess of fate, has acted as the guide of the Pantheons since she gave up her divinity millennia ago.
      • Minerva incarnates as a child in both 2014 and 1923. She's also mentioned as appearing in 455.
      • Dionysus appears in 2014, 1923, and 455, though the latter relates more to the Roman Bacchus.
      • Persephone also appears in 2014, an unexpected thirteenth god.
      • Other deities appearing or mentioned are Neptune (1923); Hades, Morpheus, and Hestia (1831); Mithras and the Moirai (455).
    • Norse Mythology:
      • Woden (the Continental Germanic version of Norse Germanic Odin, and the name that serves as the etymological source of Wednesday). He also has his own band of Valkyries which, although possibly not actual reincarnations (since they're human girls imbued with a portion of his power), do take their names from the mythology (such as Brunhilde). The Norns also appear, with Urdr as the last God proper while Skuld and Verdandi seem to function similarly to Woden's Valkyries. There's also Mimir, the actual member of the Pantheon who's powers are being stolen by Woden.
      • The Norns and Woden also appear in the 1923 pantheon. Like in 2014, Woden is a false god leaching his powers from a real deity.
      • A genderbent version of Woden was also part of the 1831 pantheon.
    • Celtic Mythology: The Morrigan is an underground goth icon, alternating between three personalities: The Morrigan, Badb, and Anand (Gentle Annie). A genderbent version has been part of both the 1923 and 1831 pantheons, though these versions don't demonstrate alternate aspects.
    • Mesopotamian Mythology: Inanna was present in the 455, 1831, and 2014 pantheons, and incarnated in a male body in the latter. Also Nergal, who pretends he's Baphomet.
    • Hindu Mythology/Buddhism: Tara is either a Hindu deity or a bodhisattva. Or maybe she's the Celtic Tara, or the Polynesian one. Even she isn't clear on it, and Ananke isn't going to repeat herself.
    • Hebrew Mythology: Baal appears in the 2014 and 1923 pantheons, and is mentioned as being a member of the 455 pantheon. The modern incarnation is specifically the Canaanite Baal Hadad. Or so he claims. He's actually Baal Hammon, a much less pleasant Baal.
    • Slavic Mythology: Perun is mentioned as being part of the 1831 Pantheon.
  • Deadpan Snarker: See World of Snark below.
  • Death by Sex: The people at Amaterasu's ShinTwo party-turned-orgy suffer this, courtesy of Sakhmet.
  • Death Is the Only Option:
    • Judging by the prologue in issue #1, even if a god lasts two years without dying by somebody else's hand, they must still die in order for the Recurrence to continue. Otherwise humanity will lose all creativity, apparently. In the 455 special, Lucifer lasts the two years and refuses to die. Over the next two weeks, he goes completely insane and winds up dying via burnout.
    • Later disputed by Laura, though she claims you don't continue to live as a god in that case. However it's happened, she's managed to exit the cycle in some fashion and offers it to the others. Even Cass' powers no longer identify her as Persephone, adding credence to the idea.
    • Further evidenced with The Reveal of Ananke's origin and the origin of the cycle. Ananke, her sister and several others had powers already, shown at least to have power over fire. When they start to believe themselves as actual gods, the two year time frame goes into effect.
  • Death of a Child: The entire point of the recurrence is that the gods are incarnated as young adults, who will die within two years. Minerva, the youngest, will be dead before she's fourteen. Or will she?
  • Deity of Human Origin: The entire Pantheon, and premise of the book. Except it turns out they are not actually gods; only led to believe they are gods.
  • Devil, but No God: Lucifer exists in this world, but the Abrahamic god has no appearance or reference. This is implied to create some problems with Christian extremists.
  • Devil Complex: Lucifer, of course. This leads her to temporarily reject the attempts to reject the Pantheon's own divinity; after all, she isn't a god, she's the Devil.
  • Defiant to the End: Inanna tried to be, but Baph couldn't go through with killing him in the end. He doesn't get to repeat it, as Ananke kills him before he can react.
  • Dies Wide Open: Amaterasu died this way in Issue #31.
  • Distant Finale: Issue #45 is set in the year 2055, decades after Ananke's death, as the survivors of the Pantheon attend Cass' funeral.
  • Divine Race Lift: Amaterasu is a white girl representing a Japanese goddess. Cass has a big problem with this, and brings it up often.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: It's eventually revealed that "godhood" is simply a means to turboboost what certain people already have inside themselves. They could either choose to use this "cheat code" or spend years trying to learn certain lessons on their own. It all sounds quite similar to drug abuse. Rather than dealing with life on it's own terms, seek solace and escape in a comforting substance that makes you feel like a million bucks, at the cost of rapidly depleting health.
  • Documentary Episode: #23 is an in-universe magazine with interview features with some of the Pantheon. The features were written by real-world cultural and political journalists, with Gillen providing the interview answers in character.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: When Baphomet first appears.
    The Morrigan's Severed Head: Baphomet is the ultimate decapitation headliner! Headliner! Head-liner!
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted when the Morrigan severely beats Baphomet and keeps him prisoner after he confesses that he slept with Persephone. Dionysus in particular calls it out as abuse, and the general tone of the story sympathises with him.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Issue 8, courtesy of Dionysus's powers.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Fittingly, Woden's valkyries can make rainbow-coloured bifrost portals when he tells them to.
  • Evil Old Folks: Ananke is killing and manipulating the gods for the sake of some ritual sacrifice, and has no compunctions about offing mortals who get in the way.
  • Expy: David Blake is very similar in appearance, personality, ideology, and plot role, to Indie Dave from Phonogram.
  • Facial Markings: Face paint and makeup crop up a lot in this comic, usually around the eyes.
  • Fade to White: The background gradually disappears in the final panels as Laura delivers An Aesop about how the future is a blank space that is up to you to fill. This leads to two final white pages.
  • Fan Convention: The London Fantheon, which is a crazy convention for the fans of the gods (and the gods themselves).
  • Finger Snap Lighter: One of Luci's trademarks. Eventually Persephone's. It's even the trope picture.
    • Laura is able to do this once in #5, and tries (and fails) to do it again.
  • Fisher King: An unusual example. When Nergal sacrifices The Morrigan’s three dead bodies to give new bodies to Luci, Inanna, and Mimir, the cathedral Nergal built to him and Morri begins to crumble.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Among her other allegations, Kerry mentions that Woden has trouble getting it up during sex. Which makes sense when you realize that Woden is much older than he has been letting on.
    • Minerva's ascension is never depicted, unlike most of the other characters.
    • Laura summons fire a few issues before she ascends as a goddess. As of Issue 43, this was actually the first indication that the Pantheon had powers before they ascended, and godhood is just a way to supercharge them at the cost of an early death.
  • Frame-Up: Ananke stages the deaths of Laura, her parents, and Tara as the work of Baphomet. It's easy for others to believe, since he did actually try to kill Inanna and Ananke further convinces them with Inanna's burned corpse... which she burned herself after killing him. Really, the fact that he took a shot at Cass in front of witnesses pretty much sealed Baphomet's fate as the party to blame long before anyone died.
  • Freudian Threat: Badb once threatened to rip Baph's shinbone out to use as a dildo.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Fucking Tara. Deconstructed later.
    • Woden. He has valuable skills, so the Pantheon (especially Ananke) put up with him, but nobody (including Ananke) actually likes him.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: It takes Baphomet roughly six months to convince himself to take a life - and even then he needs some convincing from the devil on his shoulder. And then still couldn't do it.
    • Laura decides to kill Ananke after thinking of her dead sister.
    • After awakening Baal, Ananke tells him he must sacrifice a child to prevent the Great Darkness. He refuses, until the Great Darkness kills his father. Then he begins the ritualistic murder of a child every 4 months.
  • Gender Bender: Lucifer is reincarnated as a girl (who generally goes by Luci and uses female pronouns). Inanna, a female Sumerian goddess, was likewise incarnated as male. The 1831AD one-shot reveals that this wasn't a 21st-century innovation, as the nineteenth-century Morrigan was male and the Woden of the same era female.
  • Gilligan Cut: In the 455AD one-shot Lucifer vows that he'll be a good emperor of Rome. The next panel is a "two weeks later" caption, and over the next two pages... Ooops. Yuck.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Inanna dies happy at how magical and free the last year of his life has been. Subverted when it turns out he didn't die there and was killed more dramatically by Ananke.
  • Has Two Thumbs and...: In issue #32:
    Woden: Who's got two thumbs and thirteen Asian girlfriends? This shithead.
  • The Hecate Sisters: Issue #34 reveals this is the case with Ananke and her sister Persephone. Ananke will reincarnate as Maiden (Minerva) and Crone (Ananke), while her sister gets Mother (Persephone).
  • Hero Killer: Deserved or not, Baphomet is getting this reputation.
    • In reality, Ananke is responsible for all the deaths he's been blamed for as of issue #20, and uses him as a convenient fall guy.
  • Homage: The second half of the 1831 special is one to Frankenstein — fitting, since the pantheon of that time were based on the Romantics and featured Woden as an expy of Mary Shelley.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The Christmas Annual is a lot more sexually explicit than the regular series, featuring full Male Frontal Nudity and characters explicitly depicted having sex. It stops just short of being straight-up pornography.
  • Hurricane of Puns: In issue #7 the food court at Fantheon (seen on a map) includes Hamerterasu Sandwiches and Baal-You-Can-Eat Buffet to name but two.
  • Hypocrite: Following Ananke's revelation the Pantheon are not actual gods, the members realize how hypocritical they have been involving their goals. This leads to some of their own internal Broken Aesop regarding their motivations. For example, Cassandra specifically mentions she wanted to disprove the magic of the Pantheon but by becoming one, she could not disprove anything since she was one.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: A good chunk of the Pantheon had this before they were actually inducted into it, which is why they can be so calm knowing that they'll be dead within two years. This is a defining feature of Laura.
  • Important Haircut: After defying godhood, Laura cuts off all her hair, a major change.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Woden and Dio are attracted (though in different ways) to Cass, who is already in polyamorous lesbian relationship with the other two Norns.
  • Internal Reveal: In issue #41, Luci reveals to Laura and the Norns that Minvera is Ananke as soon as Laura cuts the thread holding Luci’s mouth shut.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Cassandra.
  • Ironic Echo: The in-universe meme of always referring to Tara as 'Fucking Tara' gets a callback when Amaterasu asks who killed her. Baal just responds: "Fucking Baphomet."
  • Irony: Woden is famous for being a sexist jerkass in the modern pantheon, while his incarnation in 1831 was a woman. Furthermore, 2014!Woden is bitter about only being able to create things with his powers rather than use them himself; 1831!Woden is bitter about her seeming inability to create anything with her powers.
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Just before she passes out, Laura's last thought about Amaterasu's performance is:
    Laura: (Best gig ever, FYI)
  • Kill and Replace: Minervas and Anankes usually work on a cycle of this with Minerva killing off Ananke and taking her place as the new Ananke, who is in turn killed by the next Minerva. The exceptions are ones where Ananke is killed by someone else (usually a Persephone) before the end of the Recurrence.
  • Killed Off for Real: Death seems to stick in the WicDiv world.
    • While it seems Persephone comes back from the dead in Issue #18, Issue #20 reveals that she wasn't actually killed by Ananke; Inanna was while he and Baph rescued Persephone.
    • This only applies to such gods as are actually dead, and not the ones who were decapitated but are now living heads.
  • Laser Sight: It's mistaken for a regular laser pointer before the bullets start flying.
  • Literal Metaphor: The gods Ananke has trouble controlling are the ones who are "underground" and have a more indie vibe to them, Baphomet and Morrigan. They also hang out literally underground, with the Morrigan always being found in subway tunnels and basements.
    • They also have Shadow Walker powers that allow them to “drop” into their special Underground where Ananke and Woden (aka the management) can't reach or find them.
    • Used again during Issue #18 where Persephone exhibits the same power and access to the Underground.
  • Logging onto the Fourth Wall: Dionysus's party flyers have the url, which takes one to an actual website to subscribe to updates on the event.
  • Losing Your Head:
    • Baphomet decapitated The Morrigan, but she was still able to sing his praises. And it was a fake anyway, so ultimately averted.
    • Issue #33 shows that Luci, Inanna and Tara still live on as bodyless heads in Ananke's sacrifice altar. They don't seem to be alive to move, but they can talk.
    • David Blake cuts off the head of his son, Jon, right after the latter is ascended as Mimir. Doubles as a Mythology Gag.
    • Turns out Ananke has been doing this for thousands of years, sacrificing four living heads from each Recurrance to power her immortality.
  • Magic Music: The gods' concerts are magical, ecstatic experiences for the people present. Notably, while the gods do release songs, the concerts themselves are not quite music and can't be recorded.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Baal and Inanna are seen in all their naked glory in the Christmas Annual. Bonus points for being erect.
  • Mercy Kill: The monster created in 1831 lived for essentially 150+ years being chained up and exploited by Minervananke to be used as the "Great Darkness". When the gods burn it to death, it screams, but is also saying "Thank you".
  • Mood Whiplash: Laura believes that she was gifted Lucifer's powers after Lucifer's death, then comes to believe this probably isn't true. Then Ananke awakens her as Persephone, giving her what she wanted. Then Ananke murders her. And her parents.
  • Mundane Utility: Baal uses lightning to make toast in Issue #25.
  • Murder-Suicide: In Issue 44, Valentine grabs Minerva and jumps off the roof of Valhalla.
  • Nay-Theist: Cassandra, even after her ascension.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Virtually the entire pantheon is based on contemporary pop stars:
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Done perhaps deliberately on Persephone's part, since she is billed as "the Destroyer." Most notably, her decision to harbor Sakhmet after her killing spree in Issue #28 ends with Sakhmet and Amaterasu dying, Dio going braindead, Baal getting severely injured, and Mini being traumatized by being forced to kill Sakhmet. Persephone shows no signs of improving when Urdr calls her out on it.
  • Non-Human Non-Binary: Inanna is the current incarnation of a Sumerian goddess, who is non-binary and uses he/him pronouns.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: Inanna in issue 11. Subverted when it's revealed Baphomet never had the heart to kill him.
  • Official Couple: Baal and Inanna, Baphomet and the Morrigan.
    • The former were on the rocks when Lucifer and Inanna hooked up. Inanna then dies before he and Baal could resolve things. Baal then dates Persephone because she and Inanna were friends. As for the latter, Baphomet and Persephone slept together, but while Morrigan knows, she thinks it was a lie.
  • Oh, Crap!: Baal and Persephone's reaction to the glass wall of their apartment suddenly shattering before Minerva's snatched.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The series opens with the death of the 1920s Pantheon. Four years later in the 1923 special, we see the events that lead up to the rest of the Pantheon's demise and who these deities are, as well as understanding Ananke's role in things thanks to revelations in the modern day. In issue #35 we get this again, seeing that this Minerva is also connected to Ananke like the one in the present day, and that the two have also been gathering living heads.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted not in the story but in the mythology itself. Cassandra notes that there are several different Baals in history, and has no idea which one the one in the pantheon is until he tells her. As for Tara, nobody knows whether she's the Hindu or Buddhist deity - not even her.
    • The gods have also repeated themselves: Woden, Morrigan, Lucifer and Inanna were all in both the 1830s Pantheon and the 2010s Pantheon. Lucifer and Dionysus/Bacchus also appeared in the Pantheon on 455.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Morrigan reveals a terrifying one in issue #37.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Amaterasu, being The Pollyanna, pretty much never uses strong profanity, which is what makes it all the more shocking when she says "Oh fuck, oh God, oh fuck, oh God" in reaction to Persephone tearing Ananke to pieces with her vines.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The giant shadow monster that kidnaps Minerva at the end of Issue #25. Nothing like it has been seen before.
  • Physical God: All members of the Pantheon, and presumably any of their followers that they gift power to.
  • Playing with Fire: Luci, Baphomet, and theoretically any sun or fire god has domain over fire. Amaterasu later showcases the same.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Sakhmet points out that there was no real reason to keep the murder of Ananke from her (she wouldn't have cared), and the fact that she had to be accidentally told by Amaterasu is what starts her murderous rampage.
  • Pseudo Crisis: At the end of issue #2, when Baphomet appears to have decapitated The Morrigan, and at the end of issue #3 when Baal interrupts Laura's and Cassandra's conversation in a rather threatening way but doesn't actually do anything.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Dionysus develops one when he tries to break Woden's control over the audience in issue #32.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Minerva, even at their most evil, insists that using mind control to rape people would be wrong.
  • Ravens and Crows:
    • Morrigan has a raven silhouette over her eyes with makeup, and her icon has a skull with a raven decal in the same area. Both her and Badb can turn into ravens.
    • Thoth of the 1831 pantheon has the head of a raven rather than an ibis due to being an expy of Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Reality Ensues: The power and adoration one gets by becoming a god is enough to convince people to do some very horrible things in order to get the chance to ascend. It convinces two fans to try to kill Lucifer, shooting innocents in the progress, and convinced 1830s Inanna to agree to murder her sister's children in exchange for ascension.
    • Most of the gods are not at all happy with their drastically-reduced lifespan, especially poor Minerva, who's 12. She was acting.
    • Being a god does not mean that you're above the law, as Lucifer finds out. Also, when Laura/Persephone kills Ananke, the other gods' first thought is how they'll stop her from getting convicted for murder.
    • The gods are all teenagers of various ages who have been given vast amounts of power and adoration, who can do almost whatever they want, and who have to deal with the shock of their new identities, their reduced lifespans and their responsibilities on top of all their other problems and already-existing insecurities. The result? Sure, some of them are nice, but a few are complete douchebags.
    • The gods are viewed as entertainers, and most people consider their original personalities to not really matter. As a result, when Tara tries to play her own songs and recite her own poetry instead of just performing like everyone else, the crowd turns on her and she gets so much hate that she gives up and commits suicide by Ananke.
    • Laura becomes Persephone, achieving her every wish, and then has to watch as Ananke, a woman she trusted, kills Inanna- Laura's good friend- and Laura's entire family. The poor girl is so shocked and traumatised that she does almost nothing for days afterwards.
    • Ananke has known the gods for millennia, is the one who helps them ascend, and is trusted absolutely. So she's in the perfect position to stab them all in the back.
    • Rising Action is an arc full of climactic moments and revelations as the gods battle Ananke. But once that's done, Imperial Phase (Part 1) is full of the gods having no real idea what to do with their lives apart from party, perform and wait to die- at least until the Great Darkness shows up.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Persephone and Baal, after Ananke dies. However, she leaves him after the gods meet to discuss their plan of attack regarding the Great Darkness.
  • The Reveal:
    • Issue #20 is full of them Ananke is the one who killed Inanna, Persephone was saved before she could be killed, and Baphomet is actually Nergal.
    • Issue #33 reveals that Woden is David Blake, usurping godhood from his son Jon, who is Mimir. Also, Lucifer, Inanna, and Tara (or at least their heads) are all alive.
    • Pretty much all of Mothering Invention is Kieron dropping reveal after reveal, both for the present day and Ananke’s past, including the origin and rules of the gods, the relationship between Ananke and Persephone, the specifics of Minerva and Ananke, the purpose of collecting the living heads, and even PersephONE’s final lie to Ananke.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Once it's revealed that Woden is David Blake and not actually a god at all, a lot of things in previous issues suddenly make sense.
    • Baal's actions in Issue #27 (namely, teleporting to Valhalla, setting something on fire and then marking the Great Darkness' next appearance in early May) makes significantly more sense when it's revealed that he has to kill children to stave off the Great Darkness for four months at a time.
    • Amaterasu instantly teleporting herself and Persephone to Baal's family home in Issue #26 makes more sense after it's revealed that the Great Darkness is specifically targeting the people Baal loves.
  • Running Gag:
    • In Issue #7, people trying to give Laura a flyer and her yelling at them to make them stop. She may have wanted to grab one earlier, though, since it was advertising the reveal of Dionysus.
    • The letters page in many of the issues contain a letter from a person named Cameron (not to be confused with Baphomet's real name) who writes excitedly about many of the plot reveals and twists. Each time, Kieron Gillen responds to him with "Thanks, Cam."
  • Sanity Slippage: According to David Blake, the gods start to go off the rails in the second year.
  • Save Your Deity: Unsuccessfully for Luci, Tara and Inanna, successfully for Persephone and Minerva.
    • Laura and Urdr manage to rescue Luci, Inanna, Mimir and Tara in Issue #41, and the former three get new bodies thanks to Nergal.
  • Sex for Solace: This has been Persephone's way to avoid her depression.
    • She sleeps with Baph because she feels an connection with him, with the Bonding over Missing Parents and all.
    • Baal also becomes this, though she leaves him because she thinks she's hurting him.
    • Then she dates Sakhmet as they connect with trying to avoid hurt.
    • Implied and Defied in Issue #33. After Persephone confessing to Urdr why she is in hell, she leans close but Urdr immediately backs away when she realized what she was doing.
  • Sharing a Body: The Morrigan actually alternates between her default form, the violent Badb, and the kind Anand/Gentle Annie.
    • YMMV: Technically, her death shows that each aspect has her own body with only one present at a time. Until her death, when Baph/Nergal takes her body to their cathedral and places it on the altar. Then the corpse of each aspect is separately shown floating.
  • Shock and Awe: Baal is a sky god, but his domain is storms rather than the sun (unlike many of the other gods in this recurrence). He does lightning, not fire. Or so he'd have you believe...
  • Shout-Out:
    • Acknowledged by Word of God: The dialogue on the first page of the first issue is a deliberate homage to the first page of the first issue of The Invisibles.
    • Cassandra doesn't know if Tara is from Buddhism, Hinduism, or fucking Buffy.
    • Luci's outfit is a shout out to David Bowie. She also has a few Beatles references in her, such as in Waxing Lyrical below, and her last name being Rigby.
    • The chapter title "None More Goth" is a reference to "none more black" from This is Spın̈al Tap.
    • Laura uses the decapitated head of The Morrigan to prevent an all out fight between Badb and Baphomet by using as a prop while paraphrasing Hamlet.
    • Baphomet references It while talking to Laura from an underground subway station, first by offering her a balloon and then telling her that they all float.
    • Amaterasu is apparently a fan of Ōkami, with a ringtone from the game and Amaterasu doll.
    • Confirmed by invokedWord of God from Brandon Graham: characters in the post-orgy scene in Sakhmet's spotlight issue include Corto Maltese, Tintin, and Divine.
    • Simiarly, the alternate cover for said Sakhmet issue contains the words "ar lasa mala revas" (elven meaning more or less "you are free"), from Dragon Age: Inquisition.
    • Baphomet tells Morrigan that they must "change or die". Given their goth tendencies, this almost certainly refers to The Sandman.
  • Scientist vs. Soldier: Two of the three teams in Imperial Phase are Study and Fight. Baal, Amaterasu, and Minerva want to defeat the great darkness ASAP, while Cass, Woden, and Dio think it is smarter to learn about it first.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Both the Valkyries and Beth's crew (save for Beth herself) decide to hi-tail themselves away from Valhalla after being freed from Minervananke's control.
  • Sleeping Dummy: Minerva has her owl create a holographic image of her asleep in bed so that she can sneak away from her parents.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • Issue #14 is a remix - literally. It takes art used in previous issues and some from Sex Criminals and reorganizes, re-dialogues, and reworks it to show the events of the previous two arcs from Woden's perspective.
    • #23 takes the form of a magazine about the Pantheon, and therefore has minimal artwork and focuses on the text-only interviews with several Pantheon members.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: According to Word of God, this is a self-Spiritual Antithesis to Phonogram. Phonogram is about fans' relationship to recorded music and the artist being irrelevant to the process, while The Wicked + the Divine is all about artists' personal relationships with fans and fans who want to become artists.
  • Spoiler Cover: Issue #18 which has Persephone on it, seven issues after she's supposedly dead.
    • Issue #35 has 1920s Minerva
    • Issue #45 has a middle-aged Laura.
  • Stage Parents: Minerva's parents have her do blessings at the Fantheon... for a price. And don't even bother counting the money as it rolls in. Issue #38 reveals that they're not even her real parents, just a random couple who were greedy enough to take her in and act the part in exchange for the money. It doesn't end well for them.
    • Woden, after a fashion. David Blake arranged for his son, Jon, to become part of the Pantheon so he could reap the benefits. Unlike traditional stage parents Blake achieved this by presenting himself as the god while keeping Jon locked away in Valhalla and having him create the technology behind the Valkyries.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The Pantheon of 1923 end their time by causing the room they're in to explode.
  • Super Empowering: Woden. He can create outfits/suits for his "girls", transforming them into something beyond human but not quite a god. It seems that while Woden cannot speak in the way the rest of the gods can, his Valkyries can create such an experience.
    • Luci offers to turn Laura into one of her demons, but it remains to be seen if she was serious or not. At the end of Issue #5, it would appear that she was... but she wasn't. Laura had her own power.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Baphomet is definitely not fucking with you!"
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: The plot of the 1923 special.
  • Teen Pregnancy: In Mothering Invention, Laura reveals that she's pregnant.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When Baphomet kills Inanna, he blows up the entire building around them as well. Subverted in that he didn't actually kill Inanna, who mocks him for blowing the building up. The real queen of the trope is Ananke, who kills Laura's parents after they see her burning Inanna's body and then blows up their house for good measure.
  • They Killed Kenny Again:
    • Given that gods are incarnated throughout history, and they must all be dead within two years, this is a given.
    • Issue #36 reveals Persephone has been incarnated in every cycle and was killed by Ananke, though some of them either fought back and wounded Ananke, escaped, mutually-killed Ananke, or in the case of Wrangel Island, escaped and killed Ananke instead.
  • Touched by Vorlons: See Super Empowering above.
  • Truth in Television: Woden's fetish for surrounding himself with Asian women (including his ex-wife) doesn't seem that weird when you learn that men subscribing to misogynist/racist "alt-right" ideology favor dating Asian women based on stereotypes that they are submissive and hypersexual.
  • Turn Off the Camera: After Laura rescues Luci from Baal and Sakhmet, they find a way into a house, were Intrepid Reporter Cass and associates follow, camera on. Laura yells at them to "stop fucking filming." It's subverted when Luci objects that they can keep it on anyway, as turning it off would be "the worst thing."
  • The Unfettered: Baphomet seemed well on his way to discarding all his moral qualms so he'll get to live a little longer, but in the end couldn't. Ananke, on the other hand, fits the trope quite well - she'll personally kill her "charges" if she decides it's necessary, including Minerva.
  • Urban Fantasy: Gods and magic are present, but so too are rave parties, rock concerts, and social media.
  • Visual Pun: When Inanna, who takes costume cues from Prince, appears in a rainstorm, the rain around him glows purple.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot/Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Laura vomits twice in the first pages of issue #6. We only see the first time.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Baphomet.
  • War God: Heavily represented in this pantheon. Three goddesses, Sakhmet, Minerva and the Morrigan, as well as potentially Woden and Nergal, who goes by Baphomet.
  • Waxing Lyrical: A common trait of Luci's, such as when she complains about Laura being too old for her.
    Laura: I'm only just seventeen?
    Luci: You know what I mean.
  • We Didn't Start the Führer: The 1923 one-shot reveals that the early-twentieth-century Pantheon's Baal (based on T S Eliot), Set (based on Virginia Woolf), and Woden (based on Josef Goebbels) attempted to carry out a ritual that would have set world history on a path of elite authoritarianism, which is implied to have led to the 1930s fascist dictatorships.
  • Wham Issue:
    • Issue #5. Ananke kills Luci, and Laura gains a portion of Luci's powers.
    • Issue #9. Ananke reveals that the death gods can kill other members of the pantheon to steal the time they have left, causing Baph to consider going on a rampage. And Cassandra becomes the twelfth member of the pantheon, Urdr.
    • Issue #11. All of it. While Baphomet kills Inanna, Ananke turns Laura, the Audience Surrogate, The Protagonist, and The Narrator, into the goddess Persephone, and then kills her, followed by Laura's parents.
    • Issue #13. Tara is introduced and promptly dies, at her own request, by Ananke's hand. Ananke then destroys her suicide note so everyone will believe Tara was murdered.
    • Issue #18. Persephone is Back from the Dead and out for vengeance on Ananke, and the Pantheon schisms with Persephone, Baphomet, the Morrigan, and Minerva leaving. Not to mention that final page Bedmate Reveal of her alongside Baphomet.
    • Issue #19. Ananke is trying to preserve some sort of ritual and is planning to outright sacrifice Minerva on her birthday. Minerva is kidnapped back into Ananke's clutches by a well-meaning Amaterasu.
    • Issue #20. Baphomet didn't kill Inanna; Inanna died when he and Baph tried to save Persephone from Ananke. Also Baphomet is actually Nergal and Persephone's powers work on Urdr.
    • Issue #22. Laura/Persephone violently murders Ananke.
    • Issue #25: Minerva is grabbed by an enormous thing seemingly made out of darkness.
    • Issue #28: Sakhmet massacres an orgy of Amaterasu's followers.
    • Issue #31: Woden takes over Dio's hive mind, which seems to give Dio an aneurysm in the process. Woden also incapacitates the Norns. Meanwhile, Amaterasu tracks down Sakhmet and ends up getting her throat ripped out. We also find out more background on Baphomet and the Morrigan indicating he was not happy when he found out she asked for him to become a god.
    • Issue #32: Whatever Woden was planning fails, but Dio is braindead and it's stated he won't be coming back. Minerva is forced to kill Sakhmet when she attacks Persephone. Urdr and Persephone find a hidden room behind the machine and discover... something which causes Urdr to utter a huge Atomic F-Bomb.
    • Issue #33: Good god. Woden isn't a god at all and he's really David Blake posing as a god. Ananke is not dead at all, as Minvera IS Ananke. And biggest reveal of all...Lucifer, Inanna and Tara are still alive as disembodied heads.
    • Issue #36: Baal has been engaging in child sacrifice every few months because it's either that or the Great Darkness goes after those close to him. Persephone is three months pregnant, and she's not sure if it's Baal's, Baphomet's or even someone else's.
    • Issue #41: Laura and Cass rescue Luci, Inanna, Mimir and Tara and take them to Baphomet, who gives the former three new bodies using The Morrigan's alternate ones.
    • Issue #42: David/Woden is told the truth about Minerva and is then killed by her, and Baphomet revives Dionysus at the cost of his own life.
    • Issue #43: Ananke reveals the truth to the Pantheon, that they were never actual gods and were only led to believe they were gods. The Pantheon rejects their godhood, turning back into regular people, except for Luci(fer), who acknowledges she has never been a god at all.
  • Wham Line: Ananke is sure good at these.
    • Issue #9 gives us one hell of one when Ananke says the following to Cassandra.
    Ananke: You were always a difficult one.
    • Issue #11 tops it all with Ananke saying to Laura:
    Ananke: It's taken so long to find you.
    • Issue #20 has a flashback where Ananke's speech to Baphomet when she found him ends in her declaring him Nergal.
  • Wham Shot: The end of Issue #28: Ananke writes a very OOC letter to an unnamed accomplice, sending it off with a Woden tech teleporter.
    • Two in Issue #31: Amaterasu gets her throat torn out by Sakhmet and Woden pulls a gun on Dio and the Norns, possibly killing Dio.
    • Several in Issue #33: Woden is really David Blake and not a real god at all. Lucifer, Inanna and Tara are still alive as disembodied heads. Minerva has been possessed by Ananke.
    • Two for Issue #41: First, Lucifer, Inanna, and Mimir regain their bodies. Then, at the close of the issue, Luci's icon is on fire while Inanna's icon is shooting purple sparks, signifying their return.
    • Issue #44: The preview cover for the final issue, kept secret until now, shows Laura having reached middle-age.
  • Whole Costume Reference: The outfits the various gods wear are based off well known stars in the music industry. See here for comparisons.
  • World of Snark: Everybody is able to get some in.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: The rumoured "Prometheus Gambit" - if you kill a god, you become a god. Brunhilde tries it, but it turns out to be nonsense. Ananke tells Baphomet that it is possible for gods to kill their peers to gain their years - but she's lying.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: The gods have started to count down the days.
  • Your Head Asplode: Lucifer snaps her fingers and saves Laura by doing this to would-be assassins. She's also framed (maybe) for doing it to a judge, and it's later explained that any god with domain over fire could also pull that trick. It's also how Ananke punishes Luci, how she seemingly executes Laura/Persephone, and how Minerva executes Sakhmet after the latter goes on a killing spree. It turns out, Ananke needs the gods' heads for unknown reasons and they're still alive.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: By being told they are gods, the Pantheon comes to believe they are actually gods, leading to the perpetuation of the cycle. The only way to break it is to realize they are not gods at all, only pretending to be gods.


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