Must Read Independent Comic of 2016 – The Wicked + The Divine (Image Comics)
The Wicked + The Divine, Image’s series about the games that reincarnated gods and goddess play, continues to ramp up the drama and body count throughout 2016. Kieron Gillen (writer) and Jamie McKelvie (illustrator) deliver on the title of the main 2016 story arc, Rising Action. Aiding in making Rising Action a success is colorist Matthew Wilson. Wilson’s rich and warm color palette that elicits a visceral whenever body parts are dismembered.
Part of the appeal of WicDiv is seeing how the various characters manipulate each other for their own ends. However genre comic books (like HBO dramas) need a bit of action. By changing the book’s tempo, Gillen and McKelvie really elevated the title this year. Kieron Gillen did not rest on his laurels after the game changing ending to issue 22. Prior to starting the next arc in November, Gillen decided to play with gothic genre conventions. The Wicked + The Divine 1831 one-shot allowed readers to follow the exploits of earlier incarnations. Artist Stephane Hans provided a moody atmosphere that complimented Gillen’s script.
Honorable Mention – Saga (Image Comics)
Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ space opera continues to provide plenty of WTF moments and naughty bits over the course of 2016. During 2016 a family was reunited, individuals were separated, someone got laid, and scores of beings were killed. Just another typical but well executed year for Saga’s creative team. Saga is one the most consistently high quality titles published that understands how to effectively utilize cliffhangers.