Holly Black's Lucifer series for DC Comics Vertigo imprint has been a great read thus far. There's an overarching plot and a host of supporting characters who are well developed and engaging. This issue though, with a break in the action, Black crafts a holiday issue, along with Richard Kadrey, devilish enough to entice Krampusnacht villains into action, and a pair of demons into devilish gift giving.
The Lucifer Christmas Issue isn't exactly heartwarming, but Black and Kadrey manage to tale a couple of tales with a moral, and that's pretty much what makes a holiday tale worth reading isn't it? Greed destroys a couple of thieves and a potential date rapist learns that even the devil dislikes sinning against free will. With both tales taking place over the holiday season (one on the aforementioned Krampusnacht of December 5th and the other at an Ex Lux Christmas party complete with a Secret Santa event), this most unlikely of comic books series for a Christmas special actually ends up being one of the better Christmas themed issues of a mainstream series this holiday season. I've always loved holiday issues of my favorite series, no matter how hokey some might consider them.
The artwork in both match the theme of each story perfectly. Black's story is illustrated by Marco Rudy (Swamp Thing), whose art perfectly matches the story with it's mood capturing pastel color changes. Ben Templesmith's comic strip/indie pencil work style meshes well with the short story-like setting of the issue's second half tale "Secret Santa."
So it's Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, if you will, from DC Comics' most popular devil, and Lucifer #13 isn't only a fun read, it's a good one.