So this is it, the Great Darkness, the baddie beyond reasoning and bargaining, the horror-horror. Not only do we now have our ultimate antagonist, but the entire outlook on things is different because of it. Up until this moment, Ananke was merely a homicidal old lady with skewed, secretive ways. Now, with the Great Darkness’ emergence, she retroactively becomes a necessary evil to stave off an arguably greater one. Though her methods are still more than questionable, and then some, one may greatly benefit from her still being alive.
The prefacing moral of this story is try not to kill your elders in righteous retribution. Captivity still sucks and knowledge is golden. Cleaning up a deadie and uncertainty, both of these things are shit.
“You’re lying. You know more than that.”
We start off at a fast tempo this time around, picking up exactly where we left last issue. The Great Darkness has come to town to wreck shit up. Worse even, it has taken the young God Minerva in its clutches, threatening to do what Ananke had planned for her, in a much messier way. With eyes and hands full of thunder, Baal tells Persephone to call Amaterasu and inform her of the return of this entity.
In the meantime, he will keep the Big Bad Dark distracted. Persephone phones the Sun Goddess, who is in the middle of watching The Walking Dead with her mum. It’s possibly some place around Season 4, before it stated to suck. Anyway, Amaterasu hangs up right after Persephone gives her the news. But this is no mere fit of cowardice as we’ve come to expect from her.
In the face of dire urgency, Amaterasu reacts competently; she manages to teleport Persephone away, literally before she can finish complaining. Their destination: the home of Baal’s family. The coming of an ancient evil is quite the awkward setting to meet your significant other’s mum and siblings. More importantly, we find that the huge mass of bad that attacked the Shard hasn’t come alone. Smaller, monstrous manifestations of Darkness have also come to the Campbell household. Persephone pulls Mrs. Campbell and her children away with her vines in the nick of time as the monsters attack. On her part, Amaterasu sets them ablaze with her divine rendition of Cyclops’ optic blast.
Another baddie prowls around their backs, but Baal’s younger brother warns them of its presence. Persephone takes it on. But her powers have an unexpected effect on these monsters. Rather than destroy it, her underworld vines seem to nurture and amplify its size. Dear me, is this not a cruel twist? Persephone is confused about this turn of events, so Amaterasu calls Baal, who successfully dispatched the black mass and rescued Minerva. With a quote by DJ Khaled, Baal instantly appears in his mum’s house, ready to take out all adversaries there as well. Confidence is a beautiful partner to thunder and lightning-based powers. He does just that, wrecking the place in the process, as you do.
However, in spite of their triumph, the mood is dour. Persephone did nothing but hinder their resistance, and this is not even a matter of competence, but of apparent innate chemistry between her powers and the Great Darkness. As for Baal, a look at a family picture highlights the absence of his father tonight. This is possibly a hint that his father passed away, but when coupled with his not-belief-but-absolute-conviction of the Great Darkness’ existence way before its appearance last issue, his father’s death may actually be related. If this proves true, then his allegiance to Ananke is standing on ground more solid than simple naïveté. By extension, Ananke’s doings start looking more like a set of painful grey hues than a sheer murderous black and white.
Shortly after, Baal calls for a meeting at Valhalla. All remaining Gods attending. Baal takes the lead, telling the rest of Ananke’s warnings about the Great Darkness back in the day. At that time, we knew the Lightning God to be a shallow prick. This attitude ultimately saw him unprepared to stand against the Great Darkness in a previous resurgence, resulting in his father’s death, thus confirming the theory. This new resurgence now demands Baal and Amaterasu put all the cards on the table. Ananke had imparted them knowledge, which she insisted they had to keep hidden from the rest of the Pantheon. As you’d expect, Urdr and Woden are the most miffed at this reveal.
Some light bickering ensues, but they all—that is, the ones that care to say anything remotely useful—agree on one thing. There are several approaches to this looming doomsday bringer. So they should vote on what would be the best course of action if they’re to act as a unity. There are three options. Fight the Great Darkness, research further, or do whatever they want.
On the actively opposing the Great Darkness camp, we have Baal (duh), Minerva, and Amaterasu. In the study group, we have Urdr (duh), Woden, and Dionysus, which is kind of unexpected. And on the anarchy route, we have Sakhmet (duh), The Morrigan, and Baphomet. This leaves three votes for each party, thus making Persephone the bearer of the deciding vote. Woden and Amaterasu debate on whether her vote should count, especially given how her powers unintentionally feed the Great Darkness. However, Urdr insists that she be given a vote, so she gets to be the decider. Surprisingly (or not), she picks anarchy, because she can’t bothered to give a shit (what the fuck, Laura) about anything anymore.
After the voting, Baal confronts Persephone on her decision. She declares that she feels she is part of the problem (not entirely wrong there), and the only good thing she feels she can do is to walk away before she takes anybody down with her. Perhaps, Urdr and Woden’s words last issue did end up weighing on her. Nonetheless, this is more or less an official end to their relationship. Meanwhile, Urdr humorously rages (I love her) about Persephone’s decision. However, Dionysus and Woden offer another take on it, that perhaps anarchy is a blessing in disguise. This course doesn’t mean they have to stop researching. In fact, the three can do that unhindered by the rest.
Afterwards, Urdr and Dionysus have a brief talk, hinting that he’s asexual. This interaction unearths some frustrations about Urdr’s perceived asexuality by the fandom and peers. So, before embarking on the most intense studying session of her life, her Norns talk her into taking a breather. This is implied to be fucking (and potentially of the BDSM kind), which is a good idea; with the situation at hand, there may no be room for breaks.
And speaking of breaks, Persephone rides her bike recklessly on the road, going so far as to crash it just because. Walking away from the fire, all edgy and shit, she calls for partying arrangements with Sakhmet later on. On the subject of self-destruction, violently crashing your bike is nothing next to spending any kind of time with Sakhmet.
What the fuck, Laura.
The Wicked + The Divine Issue#26 Credits
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art / Cover: Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson