Sure, it's early to be posting June reads, but I didn't post last months reads and have been reading comics so there are quite a lot to share with you, fellow comic book nerds :) Both series are rated for mature readers.
The Wicked & The Divine (Volumes 1-3) - Kieron Gillen
It's back snippet summarizes the storyline beautifully:
"Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever."
This story is such a neat concept for anyone who enjoys mythology, creative illustrations, and a plot that just gets better and more intense on each page.
The setting is in London, England in modern day, and follows the life of a teenage girl who finds herself entangled in the lives of these pop star gods, and wanting more than anything to be like them. She befriends many of them, even attending their parties and trying to help them when they get into trouble. Many of the characters come from diverse backgrounds, and there are a range of people on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, making this a series I think many people would enjoy.
There are different elements that I enjoyed in the various volumes. The first volume offers enough background information for the reader to enjoy getting to know the situation and the characters, but also doesn't bore the reader with these background details, and simultaneously jumps right into the action, demonstrating how having gods and humans live in the same world can be problematic.
By the end of the second volume, all twelve gods have been reincarnated, but we haven't met all of them yet or gotten to know who they all are, so at time it is a bit confusing. However, I really enjoyed the creative layouts used in this volume to tell us more about a character or a setting.
The third volume is spent getting to know more about those gods who had not yet been in the first few books. Though I appreciated the fact that introducing these characters was spread out, because there are quite a few, I have to admit that I missed the fast paced action and interesting layouts of the first two. This volume is done by different artists in each issue, which is something I sometimes enjoy with comics, and sometimes don't as much. In this instance, it was helpful to see each character in a different light or perspective. In the first few volumes, some of the characters looked like celebrities such as Rihanna. It was just interesting to see how their features changed and stayed the same from artist to artist.
I really enjoy the characterization in this series, which is likely the focus of the writers, given the whole concept. Each god is so different from the next, and I think it's easy to see pieces of oneself reflected in different aspects of the various characters, both mortal and immortal.
This series has a total of nine volumes, and I know I will see it through to the end because I am enjoying it a lot. It is also one that you can re-read because there is so much that has gone into the story.
Illustrator Bio: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/221821.Jamie_McKelvie
Colorist Bio: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/705826.Matt_Wilson
Book Link (GoodReads): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23093359-the-wicked-the-divine-vol-1
Wayward (Volumes 1 - 3) - Jim Zub
This series features an Irish-Japanese teenager who moves from the UK to live with her mom in Tokyo. When she arrives, she soon meets a series of creatures from Japanese folklore (including their stories in the back pages) and a power evolves within her that she's never had before. Soon, she learns that a few other teens in the city have different powers and they join forces.
I found that I really enjoyed learning about life in Japan and a little taste of the culture there - it was clear that the writers and illustrators did their research. Each character also are very different from each other, and I think show a good representation of the range of teenagers - from the outgoing and fearless to the shy and more family-oriented.
Many reviews on GoodReads show that some people were disappointed by the series, but I definitely wasn't. I regretted not buying the second volume when I got the first because I was that hooked on the story. I also found a website (that I've since forgotten) where I could scan the pictures and English translations of all the Japanese writing (on vending machines, graffiti, etc.). I really enjoyed seeing this hidden layer and wish I could remember the site! Any I've used since either are full of ads or just don't work properly.
Another thing I like about this series is that there are only six volumes, so reading the whole series isn't a huge commitment.
Illustrator Bios: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/585500.Steven_Cummings
Book Link (GoodReads): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23622918-wayward-vol-1