Lucifer #1 – Dan Watters, Writer; Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara, Artists; Dave McCaig, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: The Devil’s In the Details
Ray: Lucifer #1, the third of the Sandman Universe titles debuts, and it’s by far the darkest and trickiest outing yet – a complex, mind-bending, time-travelling thriller that follows the devil himself through multiple realities. When the issue begins, long ago, Lucifer is playing a mysterious, endless, constantly rising tune. But we soon cut away to a very different Lucifer – a broken, mentally ill man who rants half-naked while being looked after by a mysterious woman. He claims to be aware of secrets lurking below the surface of the small town he lives in, but can barely make it out the door without assistance. At the same time, there’s a third and completely different story going on – that of Detective John Decker, a long-time honorable police detective who is struggling to deal with his dying wife’s suffering. He wants to help her pass on peacefully, but his guardian application to make medical decisions has been delayed. In an act of desperation, he sneaks her out of the hospital to go on one last drive with her.
The next thing Detective Decker knows, he’s waking up in the bottom of a ravine, in his destroyed car, with his wife having been killed in the accident. Everyone immediately suspects that this was a failed suicide pact, which he adamantly denies. The Lucifer stories are compelling, complex, and disturbing – the bedraggled Lucifer’s journey through town has one creepy visual after another, including a pair of witches who have carved their eyes out – but I didn’t think any of these segments had quite the emotional punch of Decker’s story. His involvement in all of this has yet to be fully disturbing, but by the end of the issue he’s seeking out his wife’s cousin Robert at the mysterious Gately House, a supposed “sober living facility” that seems like anything but. Like The Dreaming and House of Whispers before it, Lucifer creates a compelling, creepy vision of its world. Unlike those two, I don’t think it quite has a fully coherent story yet.
Corrina: The most compelling story in all this is Detective Decker. I realize the creators’ desire to include Lucifer’s tale with Decker’s story, as they are clearly related to each other. And it is, after all, Lucifer #1.
But the three disjointed storylines make for a confusing, rather than an immersive, first issue.
Decker is dealing with a wife he loves who is fading away without dignity. But he’s also apparently dealing with some original sin from her family. Is it related to hell? Will we see his wife in hell at some point? It’s an intriguing opening and it has real emotional power behind Decker’s grief.
There was also much to parse in the tale of the powerless Lucifer without his wings, not the least of which because it featured background images of Blues legend Robert Johnson, who supposedly sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads, and Hitler himself. (And a few others who I’m sure some readers will recognize.) The hint is that this is Lucifer’s hell and he can never climb out.
Then is the piano-playing devil before or after Lucifer trapped in his hell? It’s unclear. In any case, it’s the framing segment that feels the most out of place.
One note, however. None of the main characters seem to be female and the one that is, Penny, is helpless and dying. The other major female character seems to be Lucifer’s nurse who exists only to prod him.
I would hope that, as we go forward, there are some female characters with agency.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.