Comic Book Review: Lucifer Vol. 1 : Cold Hell

(Submitted by our Superheroic SciFi guru, Mr. Dr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Duper friend!! PS- Canada, am I right?? 😉 xoxo)

“Lucifer is back—wounded and weakened, but suave and savvy as ever. And he’s about to be handed the biggest mystery in the history of Creation: God has been found dead, and the Lightbringer is the prime suspect in His murder. To clear his name and reclaim his throne, Lucifer must solve the Deicide himself. But even with help from the disgraced archangel Gabriel, the task is daunting. To maintain the status quo in both Heaven and Hell, angels and demons alike are determined to pin the crime upon the First of the Fallen—but it will be a cold day in either realm before the Devil fails to get his due. “ (DC Entertainment)

The character of Lucifer is getting his time in the spotlight. First, a television series inspired by the Vertigo comic book and now a new ongoing title. This may lead you to believe that this comic is a tie-in, merely serving as promotion to the television show.  This is actually not the case. Although, the show and the book do share commonalities. In both iterations Lucifer has left hell, owns a nightclub named Lux, and the character of Mazikeen is present. In the show, Lucifer has left hell and moved to LA as he’s fed up with God, and needs a vacation from running the biblical underworld. Mazikeen serves as his right hand woman, helping him run Lux, while he consults with the L.A.P.D. in solving crimes and capturing the worst of the worst criminals.  Near the back half of the first season and for much of the second season to date, God send’s Lucifer’s angelic brothers to Earth, in an attempt to return Lucifer to hell, a place he has no intention of revisiting. The comic sees Lucifer leave hell because of his ongoing tension and frustration with God, but also because he’s fed up with being blamed for everything that goes wrong in both heaven and hell.  Unlike the show, in the comic when leaving hell, Lucifer had to relinquish his angelic abilities and also different from the show, Lucifer hand picks Mazikeen to preside over hell in his absence.

The book starts out with a bang, as we are introduced to a wounded and powerless Lucifer, who’s wound mysteriously is spreading to his heart. We are also introduced to the angel Gabriel,   who has been banished from heaven and stripped of his powers, after failing to kill Lucifer. We then cut to heaven, where archangel Metatron discovers that  God has been killed. He instantly blames Lucifer. When Lucifer and Gabriel discover the news, they set out on a journey to clear Lucifer’s name and find the real killer . I liked the dynamic of Gabriel and Lucifer working together even with an antagonistic relationship in place. The back and forth between the two brothers definitely called to mind Sam and Dean Winchester on Supernatural.  Although, there is far more hatred between Gabriel and Lucifer given the fact that they both tried to willingly and consensually kill each other.   Writer Holly Black fully embraces religion and mythology by taking our characters and the readers on a journey through hell and the dream world to solve the mystery. They did mention and show a flashback to Morpheus in the dream world, which is a nice nod and call back to the Lucifer characters origin in The Sandman series. In fact, this series doesn’t negate the previous Lucifer or Sandman series.  Instead, this is part of that continuity. This little tidbit got me curious to finally bite the bullet and start reading some Sandman. Having our two characters traverse the dream realm almost gave us  second story in this book. During this segment of the sojourn, we learn of Azazel, an angel who was responsible for consuming people’s sin’s. He eventually got overwhelmed by the lure of sin and craved more. However, survivors of a village Azazel has over run with sin are fed up and coerce him into having a child.  That child is groomed to hate his father, eventually killing him. In a bizarre sci-fi twist, the son eventually becomes his father. Lucifer remembers that Azazel is the one who stabbed him. In modern day, Lucifer and Gabriel track Azazel to Earth, where he is possessing humans, and forcing them to comitt terrible sin.  Lucifer forces Azazel to heal him.  I must admit, writer Holly Black had me convinced that Azazel was the killer, however, in a clever off-panel twist back in the dream world, Lucifer learns that it was Gabriel all along that had killed God.  Like the reader, Gabriel had no inclination that he had done this. He had been manipulated into doing so and then wiped of his memory. So appalled with himself, Gabriel storms down to hell, asking Mazikeen to tell her who put him up to killing God. In exchange, he will become one of her servants, a curse upon heaven. The two strike an accord and armed with his full set of powers and brand new black wings, he heads off in search of who wronged him. As for who that was and what’s next for Lucifer Morningstar, we have to wait and see.

The art was  drawn by Lee Garbett with colors handled by Antonio Fabela.  The art style is a mix of animation with some grit to it. I’m reminded a bit of Eduardo Rizzo. There’s a great image of Lucifer in his car, arriving in L.A. and overlooking the city. Having that as the first page of the story allows the reader to enter the story with the main character, making me feel as though I was part of the proceedings.  The story sequence where Lucifer and Gabriel enter the dream space had two great moments in it. One was seeing Lucifer confront the dream sequence version of himself, which looked like the more monstrous version of himself, complete with red skin, horns and hooves.  The other is the scene where we see Lucifer leaving the dream world wearing a trench coat and a fedora. It felt appropriate because at times this book had a film noir look to it. The flashbacks featuring Azazel’s origin’s made him look like evil incarnate. He looked so evil in fact, that you almost forget that Lucifer is the lord of hell.  There’s a great splash page of Lucifer and Gabriel flying high in the sky as the sun rises to start the day. The scenery and colour here was absolutely perfect. If you like that classical depiction of angels, this image is definitely one for you. Hell looked appropriately dank, desolate, and scorching hot. Mazikeen sitting on the throne of hell looked powerful, dominant and looked perfectly at home reigning in hell. If the character’s personality wasn’t enough, these images tell you exactly why Lucifer chose her as his replacement. It’s worth noting that both male and female exposed nipple is featured in this book.

This book has been getting a lot of praise from both my inner circles and mainstream comics press and rightfully so.  This graphic novel succeeds at appealing both to fans of the TV show as well as fans of the original comic book run.  If you aren’t familiar with either, you don’t have to be. It’s easy for new readers too! This book is definitely finding a place on my permanent rotation.  This book proves, that no matter morning or night, this version of Lucifer is a star!

  • I quite enjoy the series although it does tend to be a box ticking exercise following the same formula. I must get reading it too.