So, you know Sandman? Awesome series about life, death, love, dreams, family, and the nature of reality, in comic form and written by Neil Gaiman? Let’s assume you do and move on, because the alternative would take far too much time. (I have reviews of many of the titles, but you should not read them, due to spoilers and really deserving an uninfluenced first look.) Anyhow, there’s a spin-off series of comics about the character of Lucifer, last seen in the Sandman series having abdicated his rule over Hell in favor of running a Los Angeles nightclub-slash-piano bar. And I’ve known about it for a good long time, but I never got around to actually reading any, until now.
The first volume, Devil in the Gateway, picks up with exactly that premise, and then of course proceeds to throw him headlong right back into the politics of the celestial realm. I’m trying to come up with a way to explain it with more detail than that, and I’m failing spectacularly. Every step springs naturally from the one before, and in that sense there’s apparent tight plotting. But every step is highly episodic in nature and difficult to describe without going into verbose minutiae, which I would prefer to avoid. So take my word for it that the stories are individually as well as collectively interesting. If there’s a central theme running through them, I’m missing it; but as with Sandman, it could be the case that the first reading is for enjoyment and the second is for depth.
What I can talk about is our main character, Lucifer Morningstar himself. Although I expect a more detailed and different account to emerge over the course of the series, for now it’s fair to say that it’s the same Lucifer you’re thinking of. Led a failed revolution against the omniscient Lord of Hosts, was cast out of Heaven, and created or was given the realm of Hell to use as the scourging ground for all mankind. That guy. Carey plays him up as antihero in a way that is very appealing to me. His rebellion was about freedom from predestination, he claims, but reading between the lines, it is apparent that he’s only interested in freedom for himself. His deceit is the very best kind, that tells people true things that they want to hear, leaving out only certain inevitable unpleasantries that they could easily have heard if they’d taken the time to listen. Horrifying as he would be to know in person (and of course there are real people like him out in the world to be known; give the devil his due!), as a character he is very entertaining indeed. And it’s quite clear to me that his goal has never changed: he still wants to be free. I look very much forward over the course of the series to finding out whether he can succeed, as he seems to believe.