What a coincidence! There's a new DC Comics/Vertigo series titled Lucifer the debuted just in time to coincide with FOX TV's new series Lucifer! Well, we all know it isn't really a coincidence, but if the debut of a new TV series loosely based on the character leads to a new Vertigo series, it's great for comic book fans as Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles) and Lee Garbett's (The Outsiders, Batgirl) first couple issues start off strongly and do the original material justice.
What's Happening: The last time we saw Lucifer was at the end of Mike Carey's Sandman spin-off series. Lucifer had helped install a new god on the throne of heaven and was leaving our universe for good. Well, he's back. The new god is strangely missing, and the angels left in heaven are fretting because god the "Father" is dead (or at least appears to be). The angel Gabriel, now a flophouse drug addict is recruited by a few angels from the Silver City to help find out what happened to "Father" and, of course, since Lucifer is back and running a nightclub again, he's also tasked with helping. The two return to Hell this issue, to discover that Lucifer's old flame (pardon the pun) Mazikeen is now the Queen of Hell. What the hell (again pardon the pun) ever happened to the angels Remiel and Duriel, who were ruling Hell these days, (readers of Sandman will know to whom and what I'm referring) isn't discussed. Things don't go as well as Lucifer and Gabriel would like, but they do get a clue which leads them to their next stepin the, ah...adventure. Meanwhile, AzZaZzel, who's trapped in a jar in Sulphur, Oklahoma (fitting) wreaks havoc. How our disembodied and many mouthed old demonic friend ended up there is something that I guess we'll have to wait for an answer to as well.
The Writing: Holly Black does a great job moving the plot along, but this incarnation of Lucifer, as a series, seems more interested in engaging is some well written side horror subplots and straightforward supernatural whodunit plots than morality plays and philosophical expositions. It's fitting this time around though I guess, since if the series is meant to coincide in theme with the TV show then our comic book Lucifer needs to run around solving crimes as well. I'm not going to get into the TV show's plotting, but it definitely needs some work. The Lucifer of Holly Black's series is at least portrayed as demonic (figuratively and morally) whereas TV's Lucifer is more interested in doing good. That's not saying that Black's Lucifer might not end up doing a good deed now and again, I just doubt that he won't be so gleeful about it.
The Artwork: Lee Garbett does an excellent job breathing new life into scenes, realms and beings we've seen over and over again throughout the course of the years in DC/Vertigo Comics and in a myriad of other media. Hell, the devil, angels, flaming swords, and angelic armor all take on a new and interesting look in Garbett's vision. It's Antonio Fabela's colors though that really set the tone here. Dark, heavy and oppressive, Fabela's work evokes the best of what made the artwork of early Vertigo supernatural series' so visually spellbinding.
The Verdict: I'm on board with this new Lucifer series, for now. I just hope he doesn't turn into the grinning do-gooder of the series, or worse yet, rent out his services to the LAPD in the coming issues to solve crimes. There's enough supernatural crime-solver series out there. While the Lucifer of the TV series might be interested in getting physical above all else, here's hoping Black's Lucifer decides to get metaphysical instead.