"Morningstar" (Part Five of Six)
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Peter Gross
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
The throne of God has been shattered, and the fate of existence rests in the hands of children. While Noema, child of the living tarot Basanos, plots to aid Fenris the wolf in toppling the Silver City, half-angel Elaine Belloc meets with Yahweh himself to decide the fate of creation. Lucifer fights for his life against Fenris, but the struggle may prove meaningless if Lilith persuades God to unmake creation.
As if the stakes weren't high enough with two armies attacking Heaven and Lucifer leading the defense, Mike Carey punches things up this issue by placing the whole world in the hands of Elaine and Lilith, with the archangel Michael's daughter advocating for the restoration of God's creation and the original woman arguing for its destruction. To make matters worse, Elaine refuses to play. One of the remarkable things about this series is its emphasis on strong female characters, from Elaine and Lilith to Mazikeen and Jill Presto. Now, as the series approaches its final story arc, it appears the title character will require the assistance of these women for his own preservation. Of course, that doesn't mean he won't try to work his own stratagems, just in case.
Peter Gross's art has been a consistent delight, with a sketchy grittiness indicative of the corrupted climates these characters inhabit. Lucifer is as handsome as he is wicked, and both qualities shine equally. Elaine is no longer the innocent she once was, but she has gained a fortitude of spirit that Gross portrays with precision. And, of course, Lilith looks like the rancid old whore she is, while retaining some spark of allure.
Throughout its six-year run, the subtle architecture of Lucifer has woven mythology with poetry to create this incredible contest of wits staged on the largest possible playing field. Removed from the traditional context of Good vs. Evil, Lucifer is a compelling protagonist, completely self-interested without the slightest interest in anything superfluous. He has his own perspective, and a pretty convincing rationale for establishing his own creation. Every last thing action has consequences, and the Morningstar survives by outwitting his deadly opponents-—and if God is in that number, well then, he'll outsmart Him, too. Next issue appears to be the climax for the entire series, with the following six issues marking a denouement. This series is a must-read for fans of gothic or biblical fiction, and this is the most exciting moment in Lucifer's long history.
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