Hey there guys ‘n’ gals, and welcome to yet another issue of Pulp, your home of all things comic-y! I hope you’re all having a grand ol’ time doing whatever it is you do. This week I’ve picked up a resurrected classic in DC’s reboot of their Vertigo series Lucifer.
It seems that DC’s “everything old is new again” mantra accompanying Rebirth is carrying across to their Vertigo titles too; the original Lucifer series spun out of the masterpiece that was Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Chronicles back in 2000, and ran for a solid six years and 75 issues. While I’ve never gotten around to reading the original (though it’s definitely on my list), I’ve read the Sandman Chronicles cover-to-cover more times than I can count, so at least I’m not completely unfamiliar with the character and his history. The original Lucifer run was written by Mike Carey (also known for his work on Hellblazer) but for whatever reason writing duties fall to Holly Black, probably best known for her book series The Spiderwick Chronicles.
Despite departing the known universe at the conclusion of the original series, Lucifer Morningstar has returned, and he has the world’s worst timing. At the time as his return, a crack has appeared in the Throne of Light – the throne of God – and through it, the deity himself can be seen.
There’s just one problem: he’s dead. Incensed, the Archangels Metatron and Raphael send their disgraced brother Gabriel to find and kill the one they deem responsible: Lucifer. Pissed off that someone got to God before he could, Lucifer vows to track down the murderer and keep his brothers off his back. With a half-drunk Gabriel at his side, Lucifer puts on his detective hat and begins a search that will literally take him to hell and back.
Despite being something of a reboot, this version of Lucifer relies heavily on the canon that has come before it. Rather than changing everything up, Black has preferred to keep Carey’s work as an established history and build on it. This can sometimes disadvantage new readers; there are a lot of characters from Lucifer’s history that feature in cameos that probably have more significance to long-time fans. While I got all excited at a brief, one-panel cameo from Dream of the Endless, characters such as Mazikeen don’t hold as much significance to me. That said, Black does a good job of briefly explaining the history behind the characters; while it’s not the full picture, it’s enough to inform new readers of their significance.
Story-wise, Black has done a good job; the cosmic detective story makes for a fantastic read, and it’s great to revisit a number of locations from the original series. Lucifer’s adversarial relationship with just about every character in the book makes for an interesting – if slightly repetitive – series of interactions. It’s enough to justify Lucifer’s constantly exasperated outlook, and helps readers see things from his point of view. Artist Lee Garbett (Loki: Agent of Asgard) does a remarkable job, he’s able to capture both Hell and The Dreaming with ease, as well as crafting interesting designs for pretty much every character.
All things considered, this sorta-reboot has picked up where its predecessor has left off in encouraging fashion. There’s enough callbacks to Mike Carey and Neil Gaiman’s works to please the old crowd, and starts on a path to something new and kinda exciting! Definitely worth a read.
Written by Alastair McGibbon