There’s a battle being waged for control of hell and a familiar face in town…  Wanna bet they’re related?  Your Major Spoilers review of Lucifer #14 awaits!

LUCIFER #14
Writer: Richard Kadrey
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Todd Klein
Editor: Ellie Pyle
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Lucifer: “Welcome to a grave new world. Heaven and Hell are in expert hands as New York Times best-selling author and dark fantasy veteran Richard Kadrey grabs LUCIFER by the horns in his first full-length issue of many more to come. Now’s the time to get on board as series favorites get a twisted fresh start and make the acquaintance of some new black hearts.”

THROWN INTO THE MIDST

Our story opens with Lucifer, Mahzikeen and the angel Gabriel conspiring together on their latest plan: To kill God.  It’s a dicey proposition for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that nobody, not even Lucifer, has any idea how they’re gonna do it.  Gabriel sets off on his own, leaving Lucifer and Mahzikeen to discuss how they’re playing him, before she sets off on a mission of her own.  Mahzikeen meets up with a ghost whom she may be lying to, who in turn is working with the new lords of Hell and may be lying to Mahzikeen while Lucifer finds his old friend Arabelle Crane, who reminds me of a more feminine John Constantine (and likely has been created to fill precisely that role in the Vertigo side of things, now that John himself is back in the mainstream DCU.

A FAMILIAR SUPPORTING CHARACTER

That particular point is actually my favorite part fot the issue, as a distaff version of Hellblazer is a hoot, including worries about her soul, chain-smoking and cursing (and since it’s a Vertigo book, she does so unbowdlerized.)  The bigger issue with this book for me is the fact that it was advertised as a new start, with a new writer and new players, the proverbial jumping-on point, but it seems to pick up immediately from last issue and features a lot of characters that I’m not familiar with.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing (after all, not every issue can be a stand-alone) but some sort of “What Has Gone Before” or scorecard of players would be nice, especially given all the various factions that are likely to backstab each other in these pages.  Add in the inconsistent and jagged art, and it’s an issue that confounds as much as it entertains.

THE BOTTOM LINE: NOT EXACTLY A JUMPING ON POINT

That said, there’s a lot to like here, especially the central character, and the idea of a four-way war for control of extradimensional realms with the promise of deicide has potential.  Lucifer #14 falls down a little bit in the execution, but delivers some interesting plot even with inconsistent art, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.  It’s a good example of how the expectations set by solicitations can be damaging even to a competently done issue, but there’s a story I would like to know more about here…

[taq_review]

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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