Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bringing Light

Lucifer Volume 9: Crux: written by Mike Carey; illustrated by Peter Gross, Marc Hempel, Ryan Kelly, and others (2005/Collected 2007): So we enter what amounts to the stretch run of Mike Carey and Peter Gross's Lucifer comic series. This version of Lucifer first appeared in Neil Gaiman's Sandman back in 1990. Carey would pretty much make him his own once the Lucifer series began in the late 1990's, to run 75 issues and assorted other miniseries and one-shots.

War now percolates across a number of dimensions, realms, and at least two universes. Who will be fighting whom, and why, is not quite determined in this volume. Things do look dire for Lucifer's home universe, where the prolonged absence of Yahweh has started to cause the universe to fall apart. 

In the universe Lucifer created earlier in the series, various natural and supernatural beings have begun to choose sides. In Hell, decisions must be made about who rules Hell, and how Hell should be ruled. Heaven is falling apart. Earth isn't in much better shape. And Lucifer's endgame remains unclear, though the events of the previous eight volumes seem to have given the Lightbringer a slightly less caustic sense of humour.

It's all surprisingly and fantastically written by Carey, with Peter Gross and Marc Hempel making the most fantastic things seem plausible and, at appropriate moments, surrealistically sinister. Highly recommended.

Lucifer Volume 10: Morningstar: written by Mike Carey; illustrated by Peter Gross, Michael Kaluta, Colleen Doran, Ryan Kelly, and others (2005-2006/ Collected 2007): War erupts. Creation continues to dissolve in the continued absence of Yahweh. The plan of the malevolent Deck of Cards, the Basanos (yeah, you read that right), comes to fruition. Hell gets re-organized on a non-judgmental model. All of Lucifer's plans come to a head. Fenris, the Big Bad Wolf of all creation, looks to destroy everything. And the role of half-angel Elaine Belloc, the daughter of the Archangel Michael, will finally be fully revealed. Lucifer, first known as Samael Lightbringer, isn't a good guy, but he's pretty much the universe's last line of defense against ultimate destruction. Go Team Lucifer! Highly recommended.

Lucifer Volume 11: Evensong: : written by Mike Carey; illustrated by Peter Gross, Michael Kaluta, Dean Ormiston, Jon J. Muth, Ryan Kelly, and others (2005-2006/ Collected 2007): War is over. Loose ends must be tied up. There's a new God on the Throne of Heaven, re-establishing Creation and preventing the dissolution of everything into primordial nothingness. And that God isn't Lucifer. He will tie up the loose ends he feels responsible for, before flying off into the Vasty Deep that is the Ancient Chaos that lies outside his particular universe. 

As a somewhat confusing bonus, this last volume include the standalone graphic novel Lucifer: Nirvana, which is not the grunge crossover you may be expecting. It came out in 2002, four years before the rest of the volume, but is somewhat confusingly placed last in the volume. It features some nice painted artwork from Jon J. Muth (Moonshadow), though I prefer the more traditional cartooning of regular Lucifer artist Peter Gross when it comes down to it. 

In all, a wonderful series from writer Mike Carey, Gross, and all the others who worked on it. We come full circle towards the end, with Lucifer's conversation with Dream from Neil Gaiman's Sandman retold from a slightly different POV, and with the knowledge of everything that happened after Lucifer emptied Hell and gave the keys to Dream. Also, the always entertaining Gaudium does some cleaning up in what amounts to the sub-basement of all religions. Highly recommended, though you'll now be fortunate enough to buy it new in five volumes, not 11.

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