In a slightly unexpected but very welcome turn of events, Lucifer returned in comic book form last month and wowed audiences with a deliciously dark story. It would have been impossible to ruin that in the space of one issue but was the newest installment a step down for the series?
Holly Black split this issue into two distinct narratives and both of them were as spellbinding as each other. She is very obviously the right selection to work on this title and she is making very few missteps at this point.
The first and main story continues to centre on the unlikely buddy cop dynamic currently going on between Lucifer and Gabriel as they search for clues as to who killed God. The pacing of the relationship as it builds feels very natural. You wouldn’t expect these two bitter enemies to suddenly be best friends just because of a common goal and they certainly aren’t portrayed as such in this issue. That being said, they do have a certain rapport as they bounce off of one another with witticisms and jibes. It does feel like two people have been thrust into an unwanted pairing and are just trying to make the most of it.
In this issue they take a journey to Hell and it is here that Beelzebub is introduced to the series. He has been written pretty perfectly as you get the sense that this demonic character cannot be trusted, a feeling that is further compounded when Gabriel is skinned alive his lair. With this character and numerous others, Black is creating a very rich world for Lucifer and Gabriel to exist in. No one feels like a spare part at the moment and there is tension in almost every encounter as the mystery deepens as to who killed God.
No answers have been given to that key question yet but clues are being drip fed to readers in a very satisfying and carefully thought through way. Black has clearly put a lot of effort into crafting a compelling story and it is already paying off.
The subsidiary tale tells of a fairly ineffectual, rotund woman who is just trying to get a little peace on life. Peace is not forthcoming though as she is plagued by a jar of what appear to be little demons. Through her short adventure you get to see these entities tempt her into committing increasingly evil acts.
This story is a nice fit for the book as it furthers the idea that Lucifer’s reemergence on Earth has caused a new wave of depravity to sweep the land. That theme was handled heavily in the first comic and to see it touched on in a less direct way is very effective.
There is always the chance that this seemingly unrelated story will factor into the main plot down the road but it doesn’t need to do so in order to be a very welcome addition for readers. Hopefully time will be allotted in future issues to continue to follow this new character through her troubled existence.
There is a further side story told over the space of a single page but it doesn’t have any context to it at this point and so is impossible to rate with such a small glimpse to work from. Perhaps next month it will be built upon to a degree that can be talked about.
Lee Garbett and Antonio Fabela continue to wonderful things with their combined artistic talents. Once again the characters and setting are thematically appropriate and oddly gorgeous in a very twisted way. Lucifer retains his handsome, charming nature that is so associated with him and Gabriel is very interesting due to his fall from grace and new, far less clean cut, look.
Just as was the case last month, Lucifer is a comic high point once more. This is now a title that should be looked forward to each and every month as the team show that they are more than capable of delivering on all the promise that goes with such a title. The recent TV show may not be very good but this series is superb.
Score: 5 out of 5.