Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Dean Ormston
Published by DC Comics / Vertigo
A one-off tale not featuring the title character. A Jewish merchant dying of cancer is visited by a young woman shopping for supplies for her pregnant sister. As her requests get more bizarre, the merchant discovers he has fallen into an aeons-old drama, one which he may contain the key to resolving.
The fascinating thing about Mike Carey’s writing is that he can bring in entirely new characters and, in one issue, lay bare the deepest corner of their worlds. Between each major story arc in Lucifer, Carey has delivered a self-contained story introducing players and regions in the divine drama and revisiting secondary characters in need of greater attention. After thirty-three issues (thirty-seven including the miniseries), it is easy to forget that Lucifer began as a spin-off from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, but these self-contained stories serve as a subtle reminder. Carey, like Gaiman, has a flourish for creating a whole cast of auxiliary characters and dilemmas which seem minor when presented, yet fold back into the primary storyline just before they slip from the reader’s memory. The fallen cherubim Gaudium appears as a common link in many of Lucifer’s tangential tales, and shows up in a brief but witty cameo in this issue.
Dean Ormston’s art complements the story beautifully, dark and creepy and just vague enough to allow the reader to imagine how much worse the demons can get. The generous white space surrounding and setting off the panels lends a feeling of desolation and loneliness, particularly in contrast to the deep black shadows inside the lines. When the border turns to green and then to black when Sabah the merchant crosses into another world, the return to white in the “real world” becomes a more calm, safe place.
This issue of Lucifer can be enjoyed even by those who know nothing of what has gone before. It is an excellent bridge into Vertigo for the casual or non-comics reader, and should inspire more than a few people to pick up the Lucifer collected editions. For those who have been following the adventures of the Morningstar, the issue should provide much to look forward to down the line, when Carey begins to wrap up the universe he has created.
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