When the Devil wants you to do something, he doesn’t lie at all. He tells you the exact, literal truth. And he lets you find your own way to Hell.
Lucifer is a series that means a lot to me. I am a huge Sandman fan – it wasn’t my first graphic novel; that honour goes to V for Vendetta, courtesy of my high school Library; but it was the first I actually bought and treasured. And one of the most compelling of Gaiman’s characters was Lucifer Morningstar: reluctant King of Hell, rebellious son, a charming, Bowie-tinted sort who threw off his obligations to go sit on a beach and enjoy the sunset.
And then came Lucifer, a stand-alone series written by Mike Carey, in which the erstwhile Devil ran a club in LA (Lux), assisted by the beautiful/ terrible warrior Mazikeen (a Lilim, one of the children of Lilith). Sophisticated, charming, manipulative and with a moral code entirely of his own making, Lucifer was the ultimate anti-hero. He did (mostly) the right things, as much as it suited him, but has little compassion for those he hurt, tricked, or manipulated along the way. He was a very compelling character in a series filled with rich stories, great art, and side characters just as cool and interesting (though rarely as charming or likeable) as him.
You can imagine then, my mild disdain when I heard they were re-launching the series. “Ugh.” I grouched,“is this really necessary? Do we need more Lucifer? They’re going to ruin it!”
Thankfully, they handed writing duties over to Holly Black (author of the Spiderwick Chronicles and Coldest Girl in Coldtown, one of my favourite vampire YA novels¹). She manages to maintain the Carey version of the character while at the same time asserting her own unique voice.
In the first collected volume Cold Heaven, Lucifer is visited by the ex-angel Gabriel. God has been murdered, and Lucifer is the prime suspect. Of course, Lucifer is not the culprit, so he and Gabriel hit the road to find the real killer. Their investigation takes them to heaven, hell, and the realm of Dream, where they’ll deal with politics, power plays, brutality and a certain badass lady lilim.
Cold Heaven is a very promising start to this series, and while I’m not sure it’ll be able to reach the cult status of the Carey run, if Black keeps this up it’ll be a worthwhile and entertaining addition to the Canon.
¹ Still super sad there won’t be a sequel.
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