Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lucifer Vol. 2 - Children and Monsters

Lucifer Vol. 2 - Children and Monsters
By Mike Carey, Peter Gross, & Ryan Kelly

As with the first volume in Mike Carey's epic Lucifer series, the second volume contains two story arcs (2.5?) between its covers. They pick up where the first left off. Lucifer, as a reward for completing a task for God, has been given a gateway to an untouched void; a brand new realm in which there is nothingness; a place outside of creation.

This is, I guess, a big, big deal, because everyone wants it. And by everyone I mean EVERYONE, including the angels of Heaven, who are ready to mass an attack on Lucifer in order to get control of the gateway.

So Lucifer has some problems.

First we get Lucifer trying to regain his wings, which were torn off at his request in the pages of Sandman. This chapter has a nice Asian influence, cracking art and some good twists. It feels like a divergence, but it's an important step in building Lucifer back to the character he was before he left Hell.

Later we get some muddy stuff about an immortal girl and some such, a tangent that had me backtracking once or twice to be sure I was following the story. (As I will come to discovered later, this is not unusual for this series.)

And finally, we get the angels' attack on Lucifer's LA club, Lux, an attack that manages to take all that came prior (including in the first volume) and bring it full circle. Nifty stuff, and ultimately some very smart storytelling by Carey. He uses a number of elements introduced earlier, including some that seemed mere throwaways, and brings them into play for a rousing story.

All in all, Carey's writing is very good, at times excellent, and his plots are relatively strong. I have an issue with clarity, though. Maybe it's just me, but I at times find myself flipping back to double check on details from earlier stories or reminding myself who and what certain characters are. The art is fine, nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done.

Is this up to Sandman's level? Not after the first two volumes, no, not really. But then, what is? If the series improves for the third volume, it will be well on its way to excellence on its own terms. And really, that's the best thing a good comic can aspire to.

An earlier version of this review was originally posted at IMWAN.com.

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