‘Cold Heaven’ has now concluded and God’s killer was finally revealed. Sounds pretty exciting, right? It wasn’t.
Before getting into all of the negativity that is to follow it might be nice to take a moment to appreciate that beautiful cover art. All five issues of ‘Lucifer’ so far have had absolutely gorgeous covers but this one really is the cream of the crop. It sets the tone of the series immediately and if you can look at it and not be compelled to look inside then you either have a will of iron or zero interest in comics. Probably the former, considering where you are right now.
So, the entirety of this first arc in the rebooted Lucifer has dealt with the murder of God and subsequent search for the culprit. If that premise wasn’t interesting enough for you, and it really should have been, Gabriel and Lucifer were forced to pair up in order to find their father’s slayer. Each issue was steeped in supernatural delights, fantastical biblical characters, and more mystery than you could shake a stick at. It all came together to make some of the most compelling reading in recent memory and it certainly showed that this series was worth the revisit. With that in mind it was rather exciting to reach the end of the first arc and receive the answers to all of the questions posed throughout the saga. What a shame it is that all of those answers fell flat.
The most disappointing of these endings was the one given to the Azazel. He was first introduced as a demon in a jar a few issues back and quickly made an impression by compelling a down on her luck middle aged woman to murder her friends. The story then became even more spellbinding after a young girl, fostered by an abusive family, came into possession of the jar and finally found a way out of her hellish life. The avenues that could have been explored on the back of this premise were too many in number to go into here and all of them would have made for some fantastic reading as Holly Black had done a great job of building this B-story into the best one in any comic at the moment. Then issue #5 happened…
The big cap off to this terrific narrative occurred over the course of just a few pages and had all the impact of a lightly thrown tic tac. Azazel, for all his build as a deadly foe, was released from his jar only to be killed moments later as Lucifer, Gabriel, and Metatron did battle. He wasn’t even important to the story in that moment, all he did was remove the sword fragment from Lucifer’s side and then that was all she wrote. Black could have done anything with this character, she could easily have extended his story throughout the next arc too and it still would have been a treat for readers. Instead off all that though she squandered it on a moment that you would be hard pressed to care about under any circumstances. Just as she did with the far bigger reveal of the issue.
At last readers found out who killed God. There was surely much excitement in fans as the answer to that most pertinent question approached, but it was all for naught. The culprit will not be named here as there is no place for such a large spoiler in a review, however you should be forewarned that it is the most lackluster, inane ending that this story could possibly have had. Black should have strived for something more when the ground was so fertile from the incomparable work she had put in for four straight issues beforehand.
All of that being said, you will come away from this issue with a suitable degree of hype for the next arc. It is built up in a very effective manner and promises to be something to write home about should Black return to form by that point.
It’s not all doom and gloom throughout this issue though as Lee Garbett once again created some stunning art work on each and every page. His characters continue to be drawn in a manner that fits with the fanciful nature of the script. The background could have been more colourful and eye catching but they still weren’t a weak point by any means as each of them served their purpose admirably. It is heartening to see one half of this creative team stay on course.
You’ll have already gathered that this comic is not highly recommended. If you’ve been reading the full series thus far then you’ll want to pick it up in order to get your answers but don’t get it if you are new to the title and want a taste of what it’s about. It was a massive disappointment and has sullied the good work that Holly Black has put in for four months on this series.
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