The Lord of the Underworld is back as Vertigo relaunch their celebrated series, Lucifer. This time out God is dead and far from being the one to kill him, Lucifer finds himself searching for his creator’s slayer.
It has been a decade since readers last saw this series in all its biblical glory but it must be said that it has aged tremendously well as a concept. The ideas presented here still feel fresh as do the characters who each have an immediately recognisable and appropriate aesthetic to them. Lucifer himself is as enigmatic as ever as he exudes a kind of dark sexuality that is so closely associated with this representation of The Prince of Lies. From the moment he appears an invisible evil is brought with him and depravity starts to take ahold all around him as is made perfectly clear by the ominous narrator who provides insight throughout this book, which is tremendously helpful for those who aren’t familiar with the series’ previous 75 issue run. The Dark Lord gives off a palpable sense of disregard and distain for mostly everyone he comes into contact with and the aura this creates for the reader is somewhat intoxicating. He is every bit as captivating as he should be and it is because of this that Holly Black, Lee Garbett, and Antonio Fabela have already proven themselves to be the perfect team for this project.
The titular fallen angel isn’t the only compelling protagonist to follow either as Gabriel returns alongside him, although his visage is decidedly different to what you may expect. Gabriel is also back on Earth but he certainly isn’t bringing word of a baby with him. No, instead he has been cast out of heaven, his wings taken and his heart torn from his body. He is shown to have resorted to cheap liquor for comfort and his appearance is one of suitably stubbly dishevelment, expertly captured by the artistic duo of Garbett and Fabela. His journey of atonement and quest to reenter the kingdom of Heaven should serve as a highly effective and interesting hook for the foreseeable future as will his uneasy, and one would think temporary, alliance with Lucifer. Fans are treated to a much grittier version of this particular character which is in-keeping with the books overall tone. In fact, there isn’t a single character that feels out of place in this entire comic and that, especially in this era, is a true achievement.
Artistically speaking this is a triumph right from the off. No opportunity is missed for some exquisite detailing as in the case of Lucifer’s wings and hair or the stubble that adorns Gabriel’s chin. The warmer colours utilized by Fabella help to set an uneasy tone whilst also allowing for some striking beauty to be created with each character and setting. Even minor characters are given the proper care and attention and what results is one of the most complete feeling books, at least visually, that is currently on the market. A nod must also be given to the gorgeous cover art which is worthy of being framed, such is its beauty.
Lucifer may never have been as acclaimed as its predecessor, Sandman, but it has always had its following and both they and new fans alike are sure to be pleased with what’s on offer here. As with many other comics out at the moments this one has come just in time for the launch of a TV show in the near future. Unlike most of those comics this does not feel like a cobbled together advert but rather a fully realised piece of creative excellence.
With this first issue, Lucifer has set itself apart from everything else on the shelves and has shown itself to be a true breath of fresh air. The potential is massive for this title and it is off to a devilishly good start.
Score: 5 out of 5.