(Submitted by Senor Prince Adam…Thanks for kicking ass, Kinky Kolleague! 🙂 xoxo)
“Rosemary’s just an average American co-ed bringing her boyfriend, Takehiko, home from college to meet her parents, who happen to be Satanists.” (Vertigo)
When I first started reading through this story, I thought that this was going to be a one off filler issue. Instead, what we get is a jaw dropping mythological twist and the setup for the next big arc. The issue starts off very casually enough. It’s about a boy and a girl, heading to a seemingly quaint town in New England, so the boy can meet the girl’s parents. You even see the girl warning the boy that her family is weird and to be prepared for anything. The stereotype is perpetuated by the boyfriends typical reaction of shrugging her warnings off as hyperbole. While this may sound like a typical romance story, it is anything but that. Shockingly, Rosemary and her parents. are part of a group of Satanists, living in the town of Devil’s Knob. Maybe the name of the town and the fact that this is a Lucifer comic book, should’ve made me think twice about writing this issue off as a romantic filler with some scares. As Rosemary tells her boyfriend the history of Satanism in the town, we the reader get just enough exposition that we need for the payoff for the rest of the story, we learn that a resident named Gordo, who started a church because he knew that if he ran a church, he’d never have to pay taxes, That reasoning is so humorous , yet so believable. I can imagine some lazy bastard doing this because he didn’t want to pay taxes. The fact that the church is in part a Satanic church and a club for Death Metal Band, serves the nature and tone of the comic book on the whole and the overall story. Rosemary tries to soften the idea of her parents being Satanists for her boyfriend Takehiko, by telling him that while there is a segment of Satanists who believe in a devil with horns and a pitchfork, for most, including Rosemary and her parents, Satanism is about physical gratification, putting yourself first, lusting after hot people, eating inappropriately, being a bitch or an asshole and treating it like a sacrament. Takehiko asks Rosemary if there are any true demonic or ghost stories associated with the church, she say yes. We then get the story that really kicks this comic into a high gear and it starts to have relevancy. During one of the parties, things got too crazy and the church/house burnt down with a drunk girl named Joanna Newton, who died inside. Gordo then, as folklore tells it, sold the girls soul for money to build a new church. If this were any standard romance story, the boyfriend would cut it and run. Instead, Takehiko says he’s looking forward to meeting her parents and attending their church function. He is ambushed by her parents and other members of the congregation, who are naked except for wearing robes and horns. They pull a blade on him, claiming to sacrifice him for Lucifer.
At this point, Takehiko snaps and calls them blasphemers and summons the supposedly dead Joanna Newton. Turns out Joanna survived the fire and managed to escape, after Gordo and the others left her for dead. This revelation means that, the deal Gordo made in exchange for her soul is incomplete. After learning the demon Gordo made a deal with was Asmodeus, Takehiko summons him. Here’s where the real twist comes in. Asmodeus is Lucifer’s brother and uncle to Takehiko, meaning Takehiko is the first born son of Lucifer. The book ends with Asmodeus ordering Takehiko to return to hell, allowing him to bring Rosemary, while he keeps Gordo as a slave, as a means to fulfill his deal. With Lucifer back in action, Asmodeus indicates it’s time to challenge Mazikeen for the throne and reclaim his birthright, becoming the King of Hell. I’ll be completely honest, I did not see that twist with Takehiko coming. The sad thing on my part, is that there were hints. For example, its mentioned that, his father was long gone and that eventually he would have to deal with the family business. These bits of writing were in bold, so I should’ve paid them more attention. Even worse, there were small demonic wings sprouting out of his back, as he was having sex. I’m going to use the fact that there was a sex scene and the fact that I was so engrossed in the backstory of the Satanic Church, thus I missed it. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. There was no mention of Lucifer having children in the first story arc and I don’t know enough about Neil Gaiman’s initial run of this series, Given that reasoning, I have to give credit to writer Holly Black, for writing such a fascinating and distracting story.
Art for this issue was drawn by Stephanie Hans. This is a different artist than the first story arc but I liked her work just as much, if not more. While I said that a page or two looked painted in the last story, this whole book had a painted look to it. Specifically, an oil paint style. I don’t think it is actually painted though as it’s not mentioned anywhere in the credits info. Also, they don’t mention a colorist, so I’m going to assume, that too, was done by Stephanie Hans. The opening scenes, with the young couple driving through a wintery New England, was idyllically picturesque. I know people who live in New Hampshire and winter’s can produce quite the snowfall, so this imagery has some accuracy to it. The flashback scenes to the drunken party had this purple filter to them. I’ve seen color pallets such as this used in films and television when people get piss drunk or sky high and I like that this book borrows stylistic choices from other media. The art for the fake Satanic sacrifice ritual poked fun at the stereotypes that are out there about Satanism. I like that the art and this book as a whole, is very self aware and does this sort of thing. While Lucifer and his son look nothing like the stereotypical version of the devil, I’m glad others like Asmodeus do have the more red skinned, horned demon look we are used to. Gives the book some variety. Regarding Takehiko’s red demonic looking wings, as opposed to Lucifer’s white angelic looking wings. I’m going to assume this is due to the fact that Takehiko’s mother is an ancient Japanese demon herself, while we must remember that Lucifer is in fact an angel. Once again there is plenty of nudity in this book and it is very naturalistic and never done to be in your face, or over the top.
This issue is a great example of what a stand alone issue after a main story arc should be. A more personal intimate story that gives the reader time to catch their breath, while at the same time, getting us excited for what’s to come. I am beyond excited for the Game of Thrones-like supernatural battle for the throne of hell, that is about to go down. This book may be about the devil but the quality of writing and art continues to be heavenly good! It’s worth your time and money. After reading this, I am definitely going to do a commentary article on the television series, after Season 3 concludes, especially with Smallville alumni Tom Welling on the series.