Lucifer’s jailbreak has dire consequences in The Wicked + The Divine #5, as her coffee run turns into a mile-long trail of fire and destruction. The pantheon has washed its hand of her and Luci finds herself alone once again. Gillen and McKelvie make an appealing case for Luci in this issue, appropriately titled Sympathy, with only Laura on her side as she resigns herself to her role in the larger story of gods and miracles.
As Laura helplessly watches from the sidelines, the city catches fire. Cassie is little help, still holding a grudge over Luci’s previous disrespect, and Amaratsu’s attempts to reason with Luci fail. Soon the rest of the pantheon arrive to stop Luci as her story as the rebel comes to a familiar climax. The ensuing battle is a bloody one as Baal and Sakhmet pound Luci into the pavement, but Luci doesn’t back down, giving them a brawl worth going out in. Out of time, Laura calls on Morrigan for help, and, with all the visual panache we expect from McKelvie, together they carry Luci away to safety.
In a final moment of redemption, Luci tries to make amends for the people that she’s hurt. However, she expects no sympathy in turn. As she and Laura leave to hide out with Morrigan to plot their next move, Ananke appears to kill Luci in front of Laura, the pantheon, and Cassie’s film crew. This very public killing results in a media circus surrounding the pantheon that drives a traumatized Laura back home. Faced with her disturbing moment of fame, Laura is numb. She reaches for Luci’s pack of cigarettes, given to Laura just before her death. With a flick of her finger, the cigarette lights, the tip sharing the same red glow as her own eyes. The issue, and this arc, ends in two of the simplest yet most compelling pages I’ve seen from McKelvie so far.
It pretty much goes without saying that this may be McKelvie’s strongest issue. Every page, every panel is so spot-on, carrying this freight rain of a story to its violent and painful conclusion. His figures, which are all ridiculously attractive and sometimes repetitive, convey a wealth of emotional range in this issue that brings their characterizations and their designs together cohesively. Wilson’s color and texture work enlivens these spaces with a frenetic energy that matches the pace of the story, and his efforts are absolutely stunning from start to finish. The fight sequence between Luci, Baal and Sakhmet is the visual highlight of the issue, using contrasting purples to make the oranges and reds of lapping flames and action effects truly pop.
Gillen’s scripting is air-tight here as well, giving Luci a proper send-off that is both enthralling and tragically in-character for his version of Lucifer. Laura’s narrative tone is nothing short of wrenching as she watches this drama play out, made painfully aware of her own role in such celestial machinations as she goes from witness to something more. The tension is palpable, and while the conclusion raises more questions than it answers, The Wicked + The Divine #5 provides an exciting and highly satisfying end to this series’ inaugural arc. This is a highly enjoyable issue from an amazing creative team.