Pick of the Week

November 19, 2003 – Lucifer #44

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Size: pages

Story by Mike Carey
Art by Peter Gross & Ryan Kelly
Colors by Danile Vozzo
Letters by Comicraft

Published by Vertigo/DC Comics | $2.50

In truth, Lucifer may be the best book I’m reading. There certainly aren’t any books better than this title. I knew this was going to be a good one, because I didn’t like it at first. Like many of my favorite CD’s or films, this title was not an instant hit for me. I read the first couple issues, decided I didn’t know what was going on, and stopped reading it. It’s a spin off of the Sandman Universe, but at the same time, it’s an entirely different feeling, as Neil Gaiman has nothing to do with it now. Anyway, about six months later, a good friend told us all that it was great and I may have been the only one who gave it another shot, and boy, am I glad I did.

This issue is the last of a three-parter involving some big nasty stupid monsters (titans, to be exact) finding a loophole in the cosmic plan which allows them to take over the place of God, giving them omnipotent power. In order that Lucifer’s world isn’t shaken up, he has to be the one to save the Silver City (That’s Heaven) from them, as the host of angels are almost completely useless. Of course, herein lies the irony, as Heaven and Lucifer don’t exactly mesh well. This simple plot line is one of the things that make this book such a masterpiece. There’s an excellent subplot, which, of course, ties in neatly with the main plot, involving the ever intriguing Mazikeen and Beatrice, who’s been around since the beginning of the series.

The best thing about this series is that it’s nearly impossible to decide who wins. If Lucifer prevails in whatever challenge is before him, can you say the good guys won? Hardly. Likewise if things are reversed. It’s must be incredibly rewarding to write a character with such implicit irony as Lucifer. It must also be too challenging for most writers, but Carey performs his task with seeming effortlessness.

I’ve heard the art in Lucifer described as simplistic. I’ve heard from some that they didn’t like it, because it was so basic. I think, however that it’s deceptively simple, much like the plots and characters in the book. There’s really much more there than appears at first glance. There are no wasted lines, but at the same time, there is simply nothing missing. I’m not sure how it works, but there are two artists on this book, Peter Gross and Ryan Kelly, and they are in total sync with each other and Carey. It really is perfect for this story.

Lucifer is a giant kind of story. It’s so big that the world “epic” is dwarfed by the scope of this story. However, in the shadow of this hugeness, there are wonderful, rich characters, and simple, enjoyable storylines. We’re talking about Lucifer, the fallen son of heaven, and the only one of the angels to defy the maker and strike out on his own. This is big stuff to tackle and Mike Carey is easily one of the most skilled creators in the business, telling story after story in this universe, such that, after 44 issues, I don’t feel at all tired of where we’re going. I can’t imagine this title ending. Only now, it just feels like it’s hitting its stride and has miles upon miles to go. I certainly hope that’s the case.

Josh Flanagan
Y’know, that Satan ain’t such a bad guy

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