Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lucifer Vol. 1 - Devil in the Gateway

Lucifer Vol. 1 - Devil in the Gateway
By Mike Carey

It goes without saying that most efforts to match Neil Gaiman's now legendary Sandman are destined to fall short of the mark. It also goes without saying that in writing a spinoff to Sandman, Mike Carey ended up in the unfortunate (and at times unfair) position of having his comic be relentlessly compared to Gaiman's landmark series.

And yes, I am going to further poke at the wound in this series of blog posts.

Two arcs (one from a miniseries) and a single issue make up the opening trade in the 11-volume Lucifer series, which is based on the portrait of Lucifer painted in the Sandman arc Season of Mists. Are the stories collected here any good?

Yes, they are good. Not great, but certainly good.

In the opening arc, Lucifer, who abandoned hell in aforementioned Sandman arc, is given a task to do. A task from God. The big guy has a problem, you see -- elder gods mucking with humanity in a bad way, and this will cause Big Problems -- so he goes to Lucifer to take care of the matter. An odd choice. Wonder what God is up to?

The watercoloured art in this first arc is great. The concepts are interesting, if vague, and the dialogue largely rings true. The resolution falls a bit flat, however, though it does feel as if it sets up future events. (As of this reading, I don't know if that's the case, but I assume so.) All in all, s solid start.

The second arc sort of picks up where the first left off, and involves a deck of cards filled with ... I dunno, spirits or demons or something. Carey obviously had some neat ideas he wanted to play around with, but I felt like this arc was unrefined and unfocused. You could see where he wanted to go, the themes with which he wanted to play and the ideas he wanted to seed, but it didn't quite click. A noble effort, to be sure, and certainly not bad, but clearly too early for Carey to start hitting his stride.

Not a bad start. I look forward to Vol. 2, in which (I'm pretty sure) the series' regular artist comes on board.

An earlier version of this review was originally posted at

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