Writer: Holly Black
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Todd Klein
Cover Artist: Dave Johnson
A review by Stephanie Pouliotte
This review may contain SPOILERS
Lucifer #12 is writer Holly Black’s final solo issue before she leaves the series, after co-writing the next holiday special issue with Richard Kadrey. Even though I will miss her engaging storytelling, this is the first issue of Lucifer that’s fallen a bit short of my expectations. The pacing feels pretty rushed as events unfold quickly, culminating in an ending that didn’t quite reach a satisfying climax.
On the first page, Black quickly recaps how the Basanos came to impregnate Jill Presto and how she ultimately rejected them. Then it picks up where the last issue left off with Lucifer offering Noema a chance to learn the truth about her past. I find it odd that she doesn’t question him at all and accepts his offer despite her mother’s vehement protests. Jill and Noema appear to be on great terms, so why she trusts the devil over her own mother is beyond me, especially without knowing what’s actually going on. Jill does take her daughter aside to talk, but she doesn’t actually explain anything to her… like at all. It’s obvious that Black wanted to get Noema her powers back as quickly as possible, to move onto the next part of the story, but it really felt like a rush job. Though Lucifer’s line about how curiosity killed the cat earned a chuckle.
Lucifer has the best poker face in all creation and it was pretty obvious they weren’t going to take down the dark presence in this issue, but his plan seemed like a real long-shot. Using the Basanos precognition in battle, Mazikeen and Gabriel lay siege to the silver city while Lucifer tries to bluff his dear old dad into backing down. I mean, in theory the plan suits him to a fault, except that he nearly plays his entire hand (and a bit badly at that.) Not to mention that his plan has a fairly obvious flaw. Even if you know where the blows were coming, it’s pretty hard to parry multiple strikes at once. So then why doesn’t the huge host of heaven, backed by a freaking Archangel, use this to their advantage? Sure Mazikeen and Gabriel are fierce opponents in battle, but I think it’s evident that they would’ve been overwhelmed eventually. I just don’t think Lucifer nailed his bluff as well as he could have, considering he didn’t have much of a leg to stand on.
It’s unclear if the dark presence is aware of the Basanos’ involvement, so they likely still have that up their sleeve, but I didn’t feel all that convinced by Lucifer’s banter. Their repartee was supposed to be the climactic point of the issue, but it really just made the dark presence seem less ominous. Don’t get me wrong, the dialogue was still pretty strong throughout this issue and it certainly picked up near the end of their exchange, but ultimately it wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped.
The denouement with each character also seemed force fed. You find out where Noema, Medjine, Mazikeen, and Gabriel will be going next in a few pages, even though they clearly only kept the beast at bay, so maybe they should be, you know, coming up with an actual plan? Finally, this was teased by a Vertigo tweet that made me apprehensive about this issue, Mazikeen and Lucifer sleep together. I’ll admit that it was tastefully done, I really liked the artwork for this page, but this wasn’t a necessary plot point for me. They’ve always had a weirdly complicated relationship, but it just didn’t feel like there was quite enough build up to this. Mazikeen has been pretty raw about how they left things and she keeps reminding Lucifer that she isn’t bound to him anymore. Maybe this was her “I’m finally giving in to my urges” moment, but it didn’t do it for me.
Check it out. I feel I’ve been particularly nit-picky this time around, but by no means is Lucifer #12 a hash! I still thoroughly enjoyed the read and Black delivers some great lines. As I’ve said before, her interpretation of Lucifer is spot on and her writing is as wonderfully devilish as always, even if the issue felt rushed. Lucifer #12 may not have been as gripping as previous ones, but I think a lot of it had to do with the pacing. I’m also still loving everything about the Garbett/Fabela duo, the artwork is simply phenomenal. I also liked the nod to the cover of Mike Carey’s Lucifer #3 in the first panel!