God is dead. That’s not some Dawkins-esque statement designed to comment on the decline of religion in the modern age. No, instead it is the simple yet highly effective premise of this series. With such an impactful start, could the team maintain things for a third issue?
Just as it was last month, this comic is split into two separate narratives that deal with very different characters. Each continues a plot point previously started in the last Lucifer and they both do so excellently.
The main plot deals, as you may expect, with Lucifer and Gabriel as they continue their realm spanning search to find God’s killer. At the end of the last book they found themselves on a path to The Dreaming, a mysterious land where you cannot trust your own perception of reality. This installment sees them complete that journey and start to make their way through The Dreaming in order to gain more answers.
In previous issues the success of the godly side to this story can be attributed in no small part to the repartee between Lucifer and Gabriel. That is not to be found this time around but it is replaced with something much richer and more captivating. Readers are treated to the story of the creation of the God Azazel. The tale may, at first, seem to be quite divergent to the main mission but Holly Black brings it around in such a way that it adds tremendously to the central narrative.
As a standalone the creation of Azazel would have made for some of the most compelling reading on offer from this month’s titles but as it was weaved into the already spellbinding story of Lucifer it became something even more important. Black proved her ability to craft a complex yarn with just this half of this issue, though there was still much more on offer here.
The supplementary story in the last issue told of an underappreciated woman who found a jar of demons. Those demons quickly corrupted her which lead to a double homicide and that is where the story ended. Until this issue that is.
At first it looked like that plot would not be continued this time as the story instead centred on a young girl who had been adopted by a new family. What seemed like a nice, normal set up quickly became much more sinister as it was made clear that the girl was the victim of abuse from the fundamentalist Christians ‘caring’ for her. She was locked under the stairs, beaten, and stopped from contacting her brother. What this story achieves so well is to allow the reader a break from the supernatural surrealness and become immersed in an altogether more human tragedy.
Black creates a situation in which your heart strings are genuinely tugged upon and it also begs the question of whether these followers of ‘God’ are truly good. You want to see these hateful people, wearing masks of civility, meet their comeuppance and for the little girl to be freed and vindicated by some measure.
That’s what makes it oddly cathartic when the murderous woman from last month appears and kills one of the other children in the family. It is undeniably a horrific scene but it is also true that you won’t feel massively sorry for the child or his family in the wake of the slaying. The often abused girl manages to save the sister from meeting a similar fate and ends up in possession of the jar of demons after the killer commits suicide.
The question you are left asking yourself is this; will she open the jar? And if she does then will it fix things for her or make everything so much worse? You’d be smart to guess the latter.
Lee Garbett continues to handle the art along with colourist Antonio Fabela. From top to bottom their work is a treat for the eyes and it serves to enhance the story through its unapologetically adult nature. Unlike in more teen targeted books the work here does not shy away from brutality and nudity, in fact it rather relishes in it. That’s not to say that it does any of this without purpose, it is only ever to further the script in a meaningful manner, but it is still so refreshing to see an adult comic that is truly adult in nature. On top of this the pair excel as simple characterisation and panel creation too. Each being, be they human or something more, looks distinctive and is unlikely to flee your mind anytime too soon. Similarly, the individual panels, particularly in the dream realm, are given a misty quality to them that threatens to float from the page.
It should come as no surprise that this was yet another incredible book as this team has proven themselves to be beyond reproach in their efforts on Lucifer. Things look set to only get better from here on out and you do not want to miss a single second of it.
Score: 5 out of 5.
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