Review: Lucifer #15
“Lucifer #15 continues to show that not only is the series a worthy successor to Mike Carey’s seminal 75-issue run in the book’s previous iteration, but that its current stewards understand Lucifer in a way that allows them to open new doors into the character’s world.”
Publishers: DC Comics/Vertigo
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: Lee Garbett and Antonio Fabela
Release Date: Wed, February 15, 2017
The story of the fallen angel Lucifer, whether in religious lore or in popular culture, has always been an allegory on choice—our ability to make decisions and how those moves will affect us afterward. It’s fitting, then, that Lucifer #15, written by Richard Kadrey with Lee Barbett and Antonio Fabela on art, would focus so much on the choices of the book’s main characters—to either be pushed toward a decision or act of their own free will.
Lucifer continues on with his mission to acquire a certain angel’s heart by co-opting Arabelle—psychic magician and detective extraordinaire with a more than striking resemblance to John Constantine—to seek a doctor who might lead the pair in the right direction. This leads the Morningstar down a road to learning information about someone close to him, forcing him to make a choice in how to take down the new Supreme Deity in the neighborhood. Meanwhile. Medjine flaunts some new powers that’ll hopefully make protecting her friends a tad easier.
While there are many touchstones that demonstrate that Kadrey was the right person to pick up the writing chores on Lucifer, his dialogue and characterization are the shining stars of his storytelling toolbox. Vertigo’s version of the Morningstar can be a tricky thing to master. The character has a cockiness about him, but one that’s not ostentatious or overly braggadocious. From his (seemingly) straightforwardness with Gabriel last issue to how he nudges Arabelle to seek out an angel’s heart, Lucifer in Kadrey’s hands is forceful yet subtle manipulator rather than a bull in a china shop.
Speaking of Arabelle, the brightest spot in an issue with several enjoyable beats is the opening scene with her and Lucifer, with Kadrey highlighting a relationship that is more layered than it might appear on the surface. (And, really, doesn’t that fit with the modus operandi of Lucifer in general, both the character and the comic?) The dialogue makes clear that the psychic and investigator is indebted to the fallen angel, as Lucifer certainly steers the conversation and pushes her into doing what he wants. However, Arabelle’s exasperation also belies a respect, one born out of both fear and awe. Arabelle knows magic and the supernatural, and Kadrey makes clear that while Arabelle is wary of Old Scratch, she also appreciates his power. Her verbal tics, the way she slightly kowtows to him, even when trying to appear nonplussed—Kadrey’s crafting of that scene alone makes the entire issue worth a re-read.
[Note: Not to spoil the issue, but if the ending is any indication, we’re about to witness why Lucifer was the first among angels and make the first great rebellion look like a sedate dinner party.]
Garbett’s linework again more than does justice to Lucifer’s world, a trend he’s kept up since the beginning of the series back in 2015’s relaunch. However, he’s hit his stride with this issue, rendering characters in a style that could be called nouveau noir. There’s a darkness to his locales, from a grungy bus ride to an apartment’s neglected tile floor. Even the free clinic run that makes a key appearance has a filth that touches everything from the waiting room chairs to a doctor’s private office. Garbett knows atmosphere, making readers want to alternately run from the pages and stick around with one eye open. Of course, in Fabela, Garbett has a partner who knows how to employ color to create that atmosphere. Beautifully composed scenery does no one any good if the composition doesn’t hit the mark. Luckily for Lucifer, that’s not the case here.
Lucifer #15 continues to show that not only is the series a worthy successor to Mike Carey’s seminal 75-issue run in the book’s previous iteration, but that its current stewards understand Lucifer in a way that allows them to open new doors into the character’s world.
Lucifer #15, written by Richard Kadrey with Lee Garbett and Antonio Fabela on art, is on sale now from DC Comics/Vertigo.
From the official issue description:
Writer Richard Kadrey continues to chart Lucifer’s course! No one does evil like the Devil, of course, but corrupt real estate moguls come close—and this one has some debts to settle with a demon. When their paths cross, it’ll mean big business and blood in the streets.