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The Sandman Universe's Lucifer is a Whole New Kind of Devil

The Sandman Universe's Lucifer is a Whole New Kind of...

By Sydney Bucksbaum Monday, October 22nd, 2018

The devil has always represented seduction personified, but what if all that were taken away from him? That's exactly what The Sandman Universe's LUCIFER #1 explores, presenting Lucifer in a way that he's never been seen before. This is definitely not the devil you know.

Stripped of his youth, his beauty and his mind, the book—the third ongoing Lucifer series, this time from Dan Watters, Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara and Dave McCaig and set firmly in Neil Gaiman's world of The Sandman—begins with Lucifer waking up, trapped in a small town with little to no memory of how he got there. He's an old, grizzled man with long flowing ginger hair and a beard. He’s both blind and powerless, with a body giving way to age.

It's a far cry from the Lucifer that TV fans are used to seeing on the Fox-turned-Netflix series loosely based on the original comic, with Tom Ellis bringing the devil to life with roguish charm, reveling in his luxurious life running a club in Los Angeles after abandoning his post in Hell. Gone are the fancy suits, the beautiful palm-tree-studded settings and rock-and-roll vibe. In its place is a town full of sepia-toned despair, the saturation drained from all the color as if one spark could turn the entire place to ash. And there isn't a bar in sight!

What Watters and artists Max and Sebastian Fiumara have done with one of the most recognizable characters from pop culture is a true feat, as readers wouldn't actually know that this character is Lucifer at first glance—although he does speak about himself in the third person quite a lot, giving readers a clue to his real identity. But watching him get coddled by a woman telling him to eat his oatmeal before it gets cold, and then seeing him get tortured in a crowd full of recognizable real-world villains like Hitler and Jack the Ripper, is like a shock to the system.

The swagger of the devil is gone, giving way to a ranting, decaying shell of a man. He's just so…human now. There's a desperation and sadness to the formerly omnipotent and terrifying being. How could this have happened?!

According to Watters' previous teases about the series, this all happened as a result of Lucifer trying to find the mother of his son. The how, when and why of it all will be explained as the series moves forward, but it's clear that things did not go the way Lucifer planned. He's about to suffer all the indignities of aging and humanity that he's never had to deal with before, and it's not going to be pretty. Watching him feel pain for the first time was only a small taste of how Lucifer's worldview is about to be rocked as he tries to escape the town from which no one can ever leave.

Bringing a fresh new perspective to a character so old and iconic that he's literally biblical is impressive enough on its own. But Lucifer #1 goes above and beyond showing the devil in a new light. It's created an entirely new reality and mystery surrounding one of the most open-book characters in history. Readers will be hooked by the first few pages alone to see what else Watters has been able to achieve with the notorious character.

And while there isn't much information to go off of so far about how Lucifer ended up in that town, what's even more of a mystery is how a detective from the LAPD ties into his story. Readers meet John Decker early in Lucifer #1, and his circumstances aren't much better than the devil's. His wife Penny is dying from an inoperable brain tumor, and he just wants to bring her home to pass in comfort.

But after a gruesome accident and an ominous dream, Decker is sent on a path that will lead him to eventually cross paths with Lucifer. Again, the how, when and why of it all has yet to be revealed, but something is clearly drawing him closer and closer to Lucifer's plight. What does the Gately House have to do with the devil? And what role does Lucifer's son, Caliban, have to play in his fate?

There are so many questions lingering by the end of the first book that make clear the potential this new take on the series has. To lean on an obvious idiom, the devil is in the details, and fans are surely going to be sticking around to find out what those are in the coming months.

LUCIFER #1 by Dan Watters, Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara and Dave McCaig is now available in print and as a digital download.

Sydney Buckbaum covers movies, TV and comics for, and writes about Superman every month in her column, "Super Here For..." Follow her on Twitter at @SydneyBucksbaum.