This new Lucifer series has focused on two very different protagonists trying to solve their own mysteries. Firstly, there’s Lucifer Morningstar and the questions of where he is and why he’s trapped there. The second protagonist is John Decker, trying to get to the bottom of unanswered questions surrounding his dead wife before he succumbs to a brain tumor. Issue #4 is what avid readers have been waiting for as it finally sheds light on how these two stories are linked.
The twin stories both get a lot of time here. Decker’s story is bleak as it’s full of doubt, obsession and self-delusion. The art style perfectly fits the morbid tone with the harsh lines, Decker’s harrowing look, and the deathly pale skin tones. Dan Watters’ use of notes is a great choice that suits the character and his situation. The notes themselves are brilliantly executed by Kyle Hotz and Dean White, whose lettering really helps to keep track of who is talking when the narrators overlap. While Lucifer is the core of this book, the Decker sequences have been a great portrayal of a man fighting his own body in order to find his last answers.
Lucifer’s story in this issue is not so much his, but that of his surroundings. He is less a source of dry wit and humor and more a focal point. We start to understand where Lucifer is trapped, why he’s there and how things have gotten away from him. It’s fascinating to see how the Lord of Lies has been manipulated by the whispers of Stingy Jack.
The core of this issue however is the crossover, which explains the link between Decker and Lucifer. While I won’t spoil the substance, I will praise the style. Watters uses two dueling unreliable narrators in a way that both makes you question what you’re being told and brings the two pieces together. It’s clever and very effective storytelling. Even better, while the two pieces are together, we do not get a perfect whole. Instead, it’s two rough drafts overlapping each other, allowing you to imagine the shape of the final piece but missing the details. While the art in this section may not match their brilliant portrayal of Decker in the earlier pages, Max and Sebastian Fiumara produce one of the most grotesque scenes in the series so far. The Fiumara’s work in this run has been a joy to see; it’s a style that is creepily beautiful.
Lucifer #4 is a well told and satisfying tale full of revelations and machinations. Many of the mysteries start to unfurl amongst a backdrop of unreliable narrators and intertwining stories, told with aplomb thanks to Max and Sebastian Fiumara’s grimly beautiful and macabre art. This series is highly recommended for fans of comics that are stylishly dark and smart.