Continuing from the Sandman Universe Preview, we catch up with the missing Lucifer, now blinded and held captive in an unknown place. The narrative of the issue alternates between a tour of Lucifer's now-familiar cage and Detective John Decker who is dealing with his wife's terminal illness. The issue winds its way through despair and confusion for both men, Lucifer's tale is an almost manic parade of witch-disciples, actors, and rebellious acts. Decker's world starts in the rather human world of illness and grief but slowly slips into mystery as he tries to uncover the secrets his wife has been keeping. The two stories slowly converge as a common player emerges, and we learn who has imprisoned Lucifer, if not why. The issue closes with both men on a mission of discovery with the possibility of a side of bloody vengeance.
As expected with a first issue, most of this installment is used to set the stage. Many characters are introduced, witches, performers, wives, and friends. Even what seems to be a talking tumor? It’s not clear yet who is background and who is a major player, but they keep the story moving along as we switch back and forth between two men in a bad situation and in search of answers.
Max and Sebastian Fiumara deliver some terrific artwork, with two different but stellar styles for each of the narratives winding around one another. The clean, classic style of Decker’s story tinted with a blue undertone courtesy of Dave McCaig and the harsh reds of Lucifer’s grittier narrative contrast each other well, and also blend together well in the few panels where one world seeps into another. All aspects of visuals work together to create some highly enjoyable scenes.
Watters sets up an intriguing mystery for both Lucifer and Decker in fairly short order and at a good pace for each of them. We get a good sense of how desperate and despairing Decker is at what has happened to Penny, and at the secrets she’s been keeping from him. Similarly, we get to know this new Lucifer, a stark contrast to the dapper and smooth character from the previous Sandman stories and his own title. This is an angrier Lucifer, but still rebellious and still defiant. It will be interesting to see where each man’s path leads them, and how they will intertwine.
I also found the use of literary references nicely implemented. If you’ve read the Tempest and Paradise Lost, you will recognize some of the narratives of the story, as direct passages are quoted from each. And if you have read them, the mystery antagonist introduced towards the end will make sense. If you haven’t read them, never fear the story does not rely on it, it just adds a bit of literary depth to some of the choices.
Whether you're looking for a throwback to classic Vertigo, an action story, some supernatural horror, or just a good story with some great artwork this is a series that's worth checking out. Overall a solid start to a series with lots of potential twists and turns.
Lucifer #1: “Good wombs have borne bad sons”
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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