The overall feeling of suddenly finding out you have two years to live, even as a powerful being. It clearly takes a psychological toll on the characters. Word of GodKieron Gillen has explained that the story was inspired by finding out his father had been diagnosed with terminal illness, which makes sense - in much the same way, the Pantheon have a grim prognosis despite being in the prime of their lives. The story taps in to the Adult Fear of premature death, terminal diagnoses and child death frequently (every member of the Pantheon is under 25).
The cover of Issue #11 features a bloody neck stump and nothing else, foreshadowing what is about to come.
ISSUE #11. ALL OF IT. It effectively turns the comic from a grim and philosophical Dark Fantasy series into what can only be described as a Neil Gaiman graphic novel as written by Cormac McCarthy. Yes, it's Serious Business. The issue has a slow building feeling of dread after reading the rollercoaster of the last few issues and then...Baphomet, who wants desperately to live longer, believes that by killing Inanna he can extend his life. So he does. Oh, but you thought that's the worst of it? Think again. Laura, who is still trying to get to the bottom of Luci's apparent murder of a judge, learns from Ananke that she is actually Persephone!Ananke even asks her to sing, and she does! Then Ananke brutally kills Laura with a click of her fingers. Bear in mind that this is the seventeen-year-old protagonist who we've come to empathise with. Just to rub it in, the author has Laura's parents discover their daughter's still-burning body laying on the grass, before running indoors. Ananke blows up Laura's house with her parents inside it as well, and that's where the issue ends! Sweet dreams!
Persephone's debut. The only words on the pages while she's singing are "Persephone is in hell" as we see the fans' dramatic reactions, while the rest of the pages are blacked out.
Minerva being forced to leave her parents behind at the end of Issue #18.
Not mention witnessing Ananke murdering them in the following issue!
Ananke's death in Issue #22. Instead of the usual head explosion death we've seen other characters suffer, Persephone tears her to pieces with tentacles. There are still bits of her lying around after.
Why is Baal so sure that the Great Darkness exists? Well, maybe it has something to do with that ''giant fucking shadow monster' that turns up at the end of Issue #25.
Oh, it gets better. It's not just one shadow monster, it's many of them. One of them ate Baal's father. And apparently the Great Darkness will consume the world if they don't beat it.
In Issue #27, David Blake says that previous Pantheons indicate that the gods start going off the deep end in their second year. Since the second year started a couple of issues ago, that seems to imply that even with Ananke dead, and even without the Great Darkness, all is not well for our heroes...
He wasn't wrong. Issue #28 has Sakhmet murdering and eating her way through Amaterasu's followers in a rage.
Issue #31. Woden betrays the rest of the group by using the machine to take over Dio's hive mind, incapacitating the Norns and seemingly giving Dio an aneurysm in the process. Baal, Minerva, and Amaterasu track down Sakhmet at the British Museum, where Ammy seemingly talks her into returning home to the Pantheon... until she gets Innocently Insensitive and causes Sakhmet to gruesomely rip her throat out.
The massive reveal about Woden in #33 is downright terrifying: Woden isn't a real god, but a Chekhov's Gunman named David Blake; the real god is his son Jon, who has been locked up since his ascension and used by Ananke and David to create whatever gadgets they needed. The reason this is is because David resented Jon for forcing him to raise a kid during the prime of his youth, and saw godhood as a two-year ticket to living the hedonistic lifestyle he felt he was entitled to. He's still grumpy about the whole thing since he can't pretend to be Woden anymore once time's up, yet gives not one single shit that not only will his son be dead, the last two years of his son's life have been spent counting down with none of the glorious parts of his divinity to comfort him.
How about the living head reveal? Think about Lucifer, Inanna, and Tara sitting in that cave for months.... Taken Up to Eleven in issue #34 when Ananke is carrying around the heads IN A BAG. WITH THEIR MOUTHS SEWN SHUT!
However, in issue #37, Minerva, afraid Woden is going to find them, gives them this same treatment.
From Issue #35:
There is a fourth head in the cave, who is confirmed to be Persephone. Given that the 1923 pantheon lasted the entire two years and issue number 36 revealed she was put down there sometime in 1922... How has she not gone crazy?
1923!Minerva making Anankes head explode is particularly graphic, with one eyeball and a handful of teeth visible in the flying gore.
This is so graphic that even Set is shocked.
The fact that Susanoo was the fourth head. The only one who flat out deserved this fate was Set.
The reveal that Baal engages in child sacrifice.
In Issue #40: Baal's attempt to murder 20,000 fans in a concert. It's a startling amount of people to kill at once, and these were his fans; people who adored him. Imagine going to see your favorite musician and they kill you.
And as Baal's sister points out, his mother was in the audience. If not for Laura, everyone would have died.
In Issue #42, while Woden deserves it, being ripped apart is horrible way to go.
Fridge Horror kicks in when you think about the mind-controlled Valkyries who Minerva had do the deed. Were they aware of what they were doing? Will they remember ripping Woden into a bloody pulp?
From the Specials:
Lucifer's musical instruments in the 455AD one-shot. Come on Kieron, this isn't Über...
In two weeks, Lucifer goes from a man determined to be a good emperor to a man who makes musical instruments out of corpses. What the hell happened in those two weeks?
In the 1923 special, it's revealed that Baal and Set brought about the Second World War and the Holocaust because they wanted to kill millions of people so they couldn't get their hands on what they considered to be 'real' art.