When more than one person wants the new king dead you know the lead up to the power struggle is a complicated one. We’re seeing that in the current story arc of Lucifer, but is it good?
Lucifer #16 (Vertigo Comics)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
The power struggle in Hell persists as Rosemary emerges from the sidelines to work the system, and Lucifer accepts aid from an unlikely ally. But this is no charitable act, and Lucifer won’t be permitted to forget the favor. Meanwhile, Arabelle faces her toughest case ever as the search for Gabriel’s heart takes her to demonic realms she never could have imagined.
Why does this book matter?
Artist Lee Garbett has given this series a unique look and feel that’s edgy in a way that feels like a street level detective drama and yet the gods and magical elements look fantastic too. Richard Kadrey joins him on writing who has done his fair share of writing Hell in his past novels. Together they offer a unique look at Lucifer.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Getting some Final Fantasy vibes!
This is one of those issues where you put it down and say to yourself in a whisper, “The plot thickens.” There are a lot of balls in the air with this issue, with multiple characters progressing their plans and characters checked in on. Kadrey does a good job cutting between the characters in a coherent way. You won’t feel confused and it has the feel of a TV show that’s building towards something. One of the best scenes involves a Mr. Sante and his Slender Man-looking dad. It’s all kinds of creepy and sets up the complicated nature of this father son duo.
Arabelle continues to be an interesting character. She has that sleepy-eyed look that suits a detective (can’t show people your tells) and she continues to use a magic box to get answers for Lucifer. This leads to a fun interchange with a gross looking demon dude in a strange basement. Another clever idea in this issue is a baby that can talk named Paul. It’s a neat concept that Kadrey plays around with to humorous effect.
The issue is not without a bit of action either, as Garbett draws a fantastic bit of action as Lucifer takes on some tiny little pests with his giant sword. In this page there’s a good amount of detail and creative juices flowing in the creatures that crawl up Lucifer and though only four panels compose the page you get a sense of the big swings of the giant blade. Speaking of the sword, Garbett draws a great credits page with the creators’ names down the blade (see above) that is quite something. I really love how he draws Arabelle’s facial expressions.
Definition of a creeper.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I can’t shake the feeling that this issue is dream walking. Because we need to check in with so many characters we seem to only just get our bearings before we cut away again. There’s less actually happening than you might think too. Characters talk quite a bit, but the progression of the plot is so slow I was feeling myself bored at times. This is a case where the plot may be moving too slowly for single issue consumption and best read in a collected format. Ultimately, this feels like a bridge issue more than one that delivers key moments in the narrative.
Is It Good?
While the issue feels as though it’s dragging its feet, I still enjoyed key scenes and solid character moments in this issue. Lucifer is the type of book that feels like it’s allowing us a look inside a supernatural realm only misfits and castaways could ever dream of.